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Research Collaboration


The Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research has a 60-year history of successful collaboration with other research organizations built on a foundation of rigorous epidemiologic investigation in a large, well-characterized population.

We provide support and direction to clinician researchers with all aspects of collaborating, planning, and conducting clinical research within Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

If you are interested in research collaboration or need help with your research project, we have a resource for you.

Research Determinations

The Research Determination Office (RDO) is ancillary to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and is used to make determinations on projects that may not meet the definition of research involving human subjects for Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC).  We rely on research determination officials to determine whether or not an activity constitutes research involving human subjects.

The RDO review process results in one of three outcomes:

  1. Not Research (e.g. common for quality improvement and evidence-based practice projects)
  2. Not Human Subjects Research (e.g. research that does not involve human subjects-identifiable data or biospecimens) 
  3. Research (e.g. research that does need IRB review and must formally go through the IRB for a determination. While some human research activities are exempt from further oversight from the IRB under the Common Rule, the IRB must still formally review these activities and make an exempt determination prior to engaging in any Human Research – the RDO may not make these determinations.)

To initiate the process of obtaining a research determination outcome, complete this form and email it to

In general, oversight by the IRB is not required for projects:

  1. That do not meet the definition of research, or
  2. Are research but do not meet the definition of research involving human subjects, or
  3. In which it is determined that the investigator and the institution are not engaged in research, or
  4. That are clinical repositories, or
  5. That are determined to be quality improvement assessment activities.

This guidance and accompanying definitions are intended to provide additional information for determining if an activity is human subjects research. If so, the research requires IRB review and approval.

Note: Certain activities that do not require IRB review and approval may still be subject to HIPAA requirements. Contact for assistance with HIPAA-related concerns.

For Kaiser Permanente Clinicians and Researchers

Submit a request through the Research Collaboration Portal to get support or assistance from the Clinical Trials Program  or the Biostatistical Consulting Unit. The Research Collaboration Portal serves as the principal intake system for:

  • Biostatistical and analytic support requests
  • Collaboration requests
  • Community Health applicants
  • Medical facility-based research projects
  • Patient contact studies
  • Resident research projects

The Virtual Research Office is a new tool for physicians, nurses, researchers, and staff conducting clinical research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California. This one-stop shop connects individuals with training and education courses, forms and templates, and quick links to additional research resources at Kaiser Permanente.

For Research Sponsors/Funders and Researchers Outside of Kaiser Permanente looking to Collaborate with Kaiser Permanente

Submit a request through the Research Collaboration Portal if you are looking to collaborate on a project with Kaiser Permanente.

For Kaiser Permanente Members

KP Study Search informs patients, caregivers, and investigators about ongoing clinical trials and research studies conducted at Kaiser Permanente, and provides answers to frequently asked questions about participating in a research study.

Our Investigators and Our Research

Our Scientific Sections page shows how the organization of the Division of Research reflects our areas of research, while our Research Scientists page links to individual investigators and their primary research interests, current studies, and publications.  

Genetic Research

The Kaiser Permanente Research Bank facilitates studies related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, and is designed to help scientists understand how people's health is affected by genes, behaviors, and the environment. This resource is available to scientists who apply for genetic, epidemiological, and other scientific research.