Letters of Cooperation
Requirements for Letters of Cooperation
When approval from a cooperating institution is necessary to recruit participants, access information, or conduct data collection, that approval must be documented in writing by the appropriate signatory official. Appropriate documentation would include the content requirements listed below. If the cooperating institution has an IRB, then a letter from that IRB will, in most cases, be sufficient.
1. A letter of cooperation must bear a recent date and be printed on institutional/organizational letterhead.
2. The signatory official should reference the researcher by name and the title of the project being approved.
3. The content should demonstrate that the signatory official has a clear understanding and approves of the research procedures outlined in the research protocol, (e.g., recruitment, consent, and data collection).
4. If archival data/documents about human subjects are being used in the research, the signatory official must approve their use and verify whether data will be released to the researcher with or without identifying information.
5. Letters of approval must bear the original signature of the appropriate signatory official at each institution. The original document should be submitted to the IRB and the researcher should make a copy for his/her records.
Investigators may download the Requirements for Letters of Cooperation as a Word document as well. Many Investigators find it helpful to provide Cooperating Institutions with a copy of the requirements for letters or to draft the language for the letter of cooperation and then ask the Cooperating Institution to print the letter on their letterhead and sign it.