Frequently Asked Questions

Please select the service or resource you are interested in exploring or scroll down to see all the FAQs.

Research Navigation

1. When should I connect with NUCATS?

  • Now! Join NUCATS!
  • In the planning stages of a new grant we can help you by:
    • Organizing a “Studio” where we bring together leadership from NUCATS and our affiliates to identify relevant resources that can help support and enhance your grant submission.  Outcomes of the meeting would include a NUCATS Letter of Support and identification of in-kind cost share infrastructure.  If you'd like NUCATS to help you organize a Studio, please contact one of the Institute's Research Navigators by requesting a consultation.
    • Connecting you to NUCATS Analytics Services that can provide biostatistical and analytic support, bioinformatics support, research design, programming and data management. 

2. I have a research question but I’m not sure who at NUCATS I should contact, can you please direct me?

NUCATS provides a team of Navigators to assist you in seeking advice, collaborations and information.  They can assist you at any stage in the biomedical pipeline.  Contact one of them today by requesting a NUCATS consultation.

3. I’m an investigator at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, who can I contact to receive support and advice on the research process?

The Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute has a research scientist navigator to assist Lurie Children’s investigators as they engage in clinical and translational research.  This newly created position corresponds to the Research Navigators within NUCATS and will be working in tandem with them to provide support, advice, and management.  All the complexities of the research process, from initial planning thru conclusion, are supported by this new service.  For more information, please visit: http://www.nucats.northwestern.edu/advice-consultation/navigators/index.html.

myNUCATS

1. What are the benefits of becoming a NUCATS member and how do I sign-up?

NUCATS will be adding a number of new and enhanced services and resources that will only be available to members.  myNUCATS members will enjoy exclusive access to enhanced services and resources such as: a director line to our Research Navigators, access to subsidized services including software tools and competitive funding opportunities.  Signup is free and can be completed in less than 60 seconds here.

Research Networking Systems

1. I’m looking for research collaborators, where can I find them?

NUCATS can help you find collaborators for your research project.  To find collaborators at Northwestern, please visit our website: http://www.nucats.northwestern.edu/resources-services/finding-collaborators/index.html and access one of the following platforms:

NUCATS Navigators can also help researchers and staff find a collaborator at any stage in the biomedical pipeline: http://www.nucats.northwestern.edu/advice-consultation/navigators/index.html.

Center for Data Science and Informatics (CDSI)

1. Can NUCATS help me acquire clinical data for study feasibility, or detailed analysis?

Yes, please familiarize yourself with the Northwestern Medicine® Enterprise Data Warehouse (NMEDW): http://www.nucats.northwestern.edu/resources-services/data-and-informatics-services/enterprise-data-warehouse/. The NMEDW is a repository of clinical data from Electronic Medical Records (EHR), clinical labs, diagnostic procedures, pathology, etc.  It has 2.4 million unique patients and 240 million pieces of clinical data.  You can run free simple search queries in NMEDW using the i2b2 (Informatics Integrating Biology and the Bedside) Query Tool: https://edwapps.nmff.org/NMEDWI2B2/?ReturnUrl=%2fNMEDWI2B2%2fQueryPlease note: in order to use i2b2 you must be on NU or NM internal networks or VPN.

2. How can I access clinical data, which is based on a different data system, for study feasibility or detailed analysis at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago?

Clinical and Translational Research staff can assist you in accessing EPIC and other clinical data—whether for simple feasibility assessments or more complex retrospective projects.  Complete the Data Resources portion of the Clinical Research Services Request form for assistance. MEReed@luriechildrens.org.

3. How do I start a new REDcap project and what is the cost?

Please email redcap@northwestern.edu to request a new project.  Attendance at the New User Intro Session is required and details will be provided after sending an initial email request.  The cost is subsidized by Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM).

4. How much does it cost for a Northwestern Medicine® Enterprise Data Warehouse (NMEDW) Analyst to pull some data for me?  How do I apply for NMEDW Pilot Grant funding?

If the data is available in the Northwestern Medicine® Enterprise Data Warehouse (NMEDW), an analyst may pull data points approved under your IRB protocol.  The cost is $75 an hour.  The average report takes 8-12 hours but some may take much longer.  You can apply for funding here: https://grants.nubic.northwestern.edu/welcome.  Please make sure you have selected “Northwestern Medicine® EDW Pilot Data Program.”

Analytics Services

1. I need help mining Big Data, where can I receive biostatics and informatics support?

NUCATS can connect you to local biostatistics and informatics colleagues.  We can also link investigators to the following tools and services:

2. How do I go about receiving a statistical consultation from the Biostatistics Collaboration Center?

To request an appointment with a statistician, please fill out the following appointment request form that will provide with the necessary information regarding your project: http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/sites/bcc/contact-us/request-form.html.

If you are a Lurie Children’s Hospital faculty or staff member, please use the form found at the link below.  The Clinical and Translational Research (CTR) Program is subsidizing bio statistical services. https://www.luriechildrens.org/en-us/research/facilities/Pages/biostatistics.aspx 

3. What is the typical turnaround time for data analysis from the Biostatistics Collaboration Center?

The turnaround time for data analysis depends on the type of analysis needed and the complexity. The Biostatistics Collaboration Center (BCC) offers free initial consultations where you can meet with a statistician to assess needs and estimate turnaround time.

4. What are the service fees for a statistical consultation from the Biostatistics Collaboration Center?

After the initial free consultation, hourly rate for statistical consultations for NU-affiliated researchers is $150/hr while programming/data management consultations are $125/hr.  Another service engagement option is that a University investigator can list the Biostatistics Collaboration Center’s faculty biostatisticians and/or statistical analysts as personnel on their grant submission for an ongoing collaboration. In this case, a percentage of the individual biostatistician’s salary (based on the effort required), including fringe benefits, will be charged directly to the grant account during the project period.  In addition, the subscription method is recommended for investigators requiring many hours of consultation for lengthy projects.  Investigators can retain a percentage of an individual faculty and/or analyst time for a specified number of months. 

Center for Translational Innovation

1. I am thinking of commercializing my research, where do I start?

The commercialization process requires significant strategic considerations, and can carry a long timeline. Serious commitment is required from investigators.  NUCATS can help you advance your idea through the proof-of-concept stage.  NUCATS works closely with the Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO).  We can provide resources that include “how to’s” on: creating a new venture; initiating the commercialization process; protecting intellectual property; finding research study support; contacting networks for partnerships in the private sector and academia; obtaining sources of pilot funding opportunities.  For more information, please visit: http://www.nucats.northwestern.edu/resources-services/drug-device-diagnostic-development/index.html or contact Nick Maull, J.D. Assistant Director of New Ventures at nicholas.maull@northwestern.edu.

2. How do I obtain further funding for my research?

Government dollars are tough to come by in this economic climate, causing investigators to have to seek alternative forms of funding for their research.  Having a sound strategic plan in place for alternative forms of funding, and understanding what is required to receive alternative forms of funding, can be a daunting task. NUCATS tracks pilot funding competitions at Northwestern University and campus partners.  Please visit our funding webpage to stay up-to-date on pilot funding resources: http://www.nucats.northwestern.edu/funding/pilot-funding/index.html or contact Nick Maull, J.D. Assistant Director of New Ventures at nicholas.maull@northwestern.edu.  Many pilot programs run their competitions through our NITRO Compeitions software (formerly NUCATS Assist), please look here for more details. For information on how to strengthen your training grant, please refer to question #26.

Also, the Northwestern University Office of Research Development and Office for Sponsored Research (OSR) comprehensively provide access to numerous online funding resources for Northwestern researchers here.  

3. How do I protect my ideas, and prevent companies from stealing my ideas?

Intellectual property is crucial to the commercialization process, and vital for attracting alternative forms of funding for research.  Investigators should be cautious about sharing any and all types of information which may be considered proprietary.  Northwestern has many resources that can assist investigators in protecting their ideas. For more information, please contact Nick Maull, J.D. Assistant Director of New Ventures at nicholas.maull@northwestern.edu.

Core Facilities

1. Can Northwestern researchers access University of Chicago’s and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s core research facilities at no additional charge?

Yes, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago formed a core research facilities partnership.  Researchers at these three schools now have access to each partner’s facilities providing additional instrumentation and expertise at no additional charge for an outside user (facilities and administration costs).  For more information, please visit: https://facilities.research.northwestern.edu/news/universities-announce-open-access-initiative. To visit the Office for Research Shared and Core Facilities website, please click here. To download their brochure, please click here.

Center for Clinical Research (CCR)

1. Does the Center for Clinical Research have Clinical Research Coordinators available on a part-time basis?

The Center for Clinical Research (CCR) offers nurse and non-nurse coordinators on a part-time or full-time basis. Effort can be adjusted on a monthly basis dependent on the study or department requirements.  To contact the CCR, please visit: http://www.nucats.northwestern.edu/resources-services/research-study-support/index.html

2. Can someone help me to develop an investigator initiated study budget?

The Center for Clinical Research (CCR) can develop study budgets for investigator initiated studies, pharmaceutical sponsored studies and pull clinical trial costs for grant applications.  We also work closely with the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) to route all study related contracts and can handle invoicing/collections for study payments to the study sponsor.  To contact the CCR, please visit: http://www.nucats.northwestern.edu/resources-services/research-study-support/index.html.  The Center for Community Health (CCH) can advise on budgeting for community partners in studies.  To contact CCH, visit: http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/sites/cch/.

3. When should I contact the Center for Clinical Research to get involved with a potential clinical trial?

The Center for Clinical Research (CCR) should be contacted as soon as the investigator or department has been notified from a sponsor about a potential clinical trial, even if the investigator hasn’t been selected officially.  CCR can participate in all pre-selection study activities and complete all necessary paperwork with the study sponsor.  To contact the CCR, please visit: http://www.nucats.northwestern.edu/resources-services/research-study-support/index.html.

4. Who should I contact for assistance in conducting a clinical trial at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago?

Please contact Kelly Carroll, the Research Navigator at Lurie Children’s Hospital, for assistance kacarroll@luriechildrens.org.  She can work with you independently or in concert with the Center for Clinical Research to get your study up and running.

5. I need help registering my study on ClinicalTrials.gov. How do I get a user name?

Please contact the NU ClinicalTrials.gov Administrator Priya Tripathi, priya.tripathi@northwestern.edu.

If you are conducting your study at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, contact Marianne Reed MEReed@luriechildrens.org.

6. Can you help with research participant recruitment?  I need to find patients for my study.

Yes, the Center for Clinical Research (CCR) offers participant recruitment expertise to help research teams effectively engage potential participants and meet recruitment goals on time and within budget. Please complete the CCR Request form or send your questions to CCR’s Research Recruitment Manager, Ashley Sipocz at nucatsrecruitment@northwestern.edu.

7. Can you help me recruit research participants in community locations?

We partner with many community practices and organizations interested in research that improves health care or health of the community.  Many prefer to be involved in the study during the development phase.  Sometimes community practices/organizations will agree to participate in recruitment if they see benefit to their care provision/services or their patients/clients, and the protocol can be implemented feasibly in a practice-based or community-based setting. We can assess whether practices and/or communities might be interested and help you with introductions and a project description, but we are better able to assist you while you are planning your study.  For more information, please visit: http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/sites/cch/ or email: CCH@northwestern.edu.

8. I’m interested in participating in research and I wonder if I am eligible for a trial?

If you are interested in participating in health and wellness research at Northwestern, please contact one of the Center for Clinical Research's Research Study Recruitment Coordinators at 1-855-NUSTUDY (312-503-6227) or nustudy@northwestern.edu to tell them about your interests and learn about available opportunities. You can also view a comprehensive list of studies that are currently recruiting at Northwestern here.

9. Who can use the Clinical Research Unit?

The Clinical Research Unit (CRU) supports investigators funded by the following entities:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies (e.g., CDC, DOD, USDA, etc.)
  • State and local entities
  • Industry (pharmaceutical, device, biotech)
  • Private Foundations (e.g., AHA, JDRF, ADA, etc.)
  • Departmental funds

For more information on the CRU submission process, please visit: http://www.nucats.northwestern.edu/resources-services/research-study-support/clinical-research-unit/cru-submission-process/index.html.

10. What services does the Clinical Research Unit offer?

The services that the Clinical Research Unit (CRU) provides are listed below.

At the Northwestern Memorial Hospital CRU:

  • Inpatient and Outpatient clinic space
  • Research nursing services
  • Core Laboratory
  • Clinical and research assays
  • Specimen processing and shipment
  • Short-term storage
  • Bionutrition services
  • Scientifically controlled nutrition and dietary needs
  • Consultation on writing the nutrition section in study protocol

At the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago CRU:

  • Inpatient and Outpatient clinic space
  • Research nursing services

For additional information, please visit: http://nucats.northwestern.edu/resources-services/research-study-support....

11. What do I do if I want to use the Clinical Research Unit at Northwestern Memorial Hospital?

We highly encourage first time Clinical Research Unit (CRU) users to set up a brief meeting with the CRU administration team. They can provide a brief overview of the CRU services and facilities, as well as the submission process.  CRU staff has recently implemented a process improvement project to streamline the CRU review process, with the goal of reducing turnaround time.  Below are the documents that need to be submitted to the CRU if you wish to use CRU services:

  • CRU submission form
  • CRU budget worksheet
  • Draft Research Orders
  • Lab manual, if applicable
  • Scientific review, if applicable

For more information, please visit: http://nucats.northwestern.edu/resources-services/research-study-support....  Please contact Kaitlin Peterson with any questions about the CRU or the submission process.

12. What do I do if I want to use the Clinical Research Unit at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago?

When developing a budget for your project, we encourage you to include the costs for CRU resources.  Contact Rena Carrizoza rcarrizoza@luriechildrens.org to develop a budget worksheet and assist you with the CRU submission.  General enquiries and your CRU submission can be sent electronically to rcarrizoza@luriechildrens.org.

Center for Education and Career Development (CECD)

1.  I’m planning on submitting an application for a training grant, what resources and services can NUCATS offer to assist me with this?

NUCATS Center for Education and Career Development can customize support and resources to make your grant stronger. These services and resources include: 

  • NUCATS Education Grant Resource Statement*: Boilerplate language to include in your grant that describes all of the NUCATS Education programs. To learn about NUCATS education programs, please visit: http://nucats.northwestern.edu/education-career-development.
  • Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) Program: The MSCI program includes both degree and non-degree seeking students as well as a resident certificate program which can be tailored to meet the needs of any training grant including didactic training.  Course descriptions and syllabi can be found here: http://nucats.northwestern.edu/education-career-development/graduate-pro.... To discuss details of the MSCI program and how it can better meet your training grant needs, please contact Adam White at adam-white@northwestern.edu.
  • Required Responsible Conduct of Research Statement*: Boilerplate language to be put in all National Institutes of Health (NIH) career development awards
  • Letter of Support from NUCATS Institute Principal Investigator Dr. Lloyd-Jones*
  • Grant Writing Group: Support for junior faculty writing their first NIH grant proposal. To discuss details of this group, please contact Rick McGee r-mcgee@northwestern.edu.

*Please contact nucats-ed@northwestern.edu to receive these services and resources.

The Center for Community Health (CCH) can help you with engagement strategies, more frequently required in proposals, including identifying relevant stakeholder and patient groups, template language for the resources page, consultation on engaged design and letters of support. Learn more here: http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/sites/cch/.

2. I am a new postdoctoral fellow/junior faculty member on campus.  What clinical research education resources and activities are available to me?

NUCATS CECD offers a host of programs for K scholars.  These programs include:

3. What clinical research training do you have available for staff?

NUCATS CECD offers Research Support Staff Training programs that include a full complement of instructor-led and online educational opportunities for professionals at various stages in their professional development.

For staff interested in learning about the Clinical Research Coordinator role and the process of running a clinical trial or for those preparing to sit for the CRC certification exam, we offer a CRC Basic Training course.  This course is geared toward providing practical information to get students “up and running” in the clinic, with many tools and templates to assist with study implementation.  You can learn more about this course here: http://www.nucats.northwestern.edu/education-career-development/gcp-research-staff-training/clinical-research-coordinator-basic-training/index.html

For research site staff who need to understand basic concepts of research and compliance in the context of their job responsibilities, we have a series of basic clinical research compliance courses.  The courses are one hour in length and can be completed through the NUCATS Online Education Portal at your own pace and convenience. The courses in the series are: Introduction to Clinical Research, Human Subjects Protections, Good Clinical Practice, Clinical Research Billing and Research Misconduct.  You can learn more about these courses here: http://www.nucats.northwestern.edu/education-career-development/gcp-research-staff-training/index.html.

For staff striving for a leadership position in clinical research, quality systems or healthcare compliance in the life sciences, we offer a Master of Science in Regulatory Compliance (MSRC) program in collaboration with the School of Continuing Studies.  The MSRC program addresses core areas of regulatory compliance, including risk management, quality systems, leadership and communication skills.  The MSRC curriculum focuses on these interdisciplinary core competencies while also stressing practical applications within the program’s three tracks: clinical research, quality systems and healthcare compliance.  For more information about this course, please visit: http://www.nucats.northwestern.edu/education-career-development/graduate-programs/master-of-science-in-regulatory-compliance/index.html.

Galter Health Sciences Library

1. How can I collate, manage, and organize articles, including PDFs for the systematic review, meta-analysis, grant, or journal article I’m writing?

There are many tools, but the librarians at the Galter Library recommend EndNote, which is reference management software and more.  Northwestern University has a site license to this useful software, and NU users can download it at no charge to multiple computers.  The EndNote experts at the Galter Library teach regular classes, provide one-on-one consultations, and can answer most of your questions or direct you to someone who can.

2. I’m about to write an article and need help with a literature search.  I know how to use PubMed, but I’m willing to admit that there are probably other resources I should check.  How can I learn about those?  Can someone help me with the searches?

There are myriad databases beyond PubMed available for different research needs: Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Cochrane, to name a few.  Galter librarians can work with you to choose appropriate sources for your project, help you craft strategies, and even run the searches for you – so you can get back to your work.

3. I need help submitting my manuscripts for public access compliance with the NIH.  Can one of you librarians help me out?

Our resident librarian resource for NIH Public Access compliance is Pamela Shaw, Biosciences & Bioinformatics Librarian.  She can guide you through the process and ensure you are fully complaint with the NIH.  Check out our guide or contact Pamela for an appointment.

4. I’ve heard the librarians at the Galter Library can help me with literature searches, systematic reviews, NIH public access compliance, EndNote support, program review, and a bunch of other stuff I didn’t know existed.  Is that right?

Yes!  If it’s information-related, we can help!  The librarians at the Galter Library offer support in the areas of bioinformatics, systematic reviews, publication, resource access, and information management. Many of our services are listed here; if you don’t see what you’re looking for, contact us to see if we can help.

Center for Community Health (CCH)

1. I’m hearing a lot about patient and stakeholder engagement.  Can you help me understand what this means and give advice on how I could get started?

Patient and stakeholder engagement means that patients and others (e.g., community and faith-based organizations, public agencies, healthcare providers, etc.) who have an interest in the study are involved in the planning and conduct of the research.  Engagement may lead to improved recruitment, increased dissemination, and more easily implementable and sustainable solutions. The Center for Community Health can help you develop an engaged project by:

  • Consulting on engaged research studies including design, implementation, recruitment and dissemination
  • Partner brokering, including identifying stakeholders
  • IRB certification for community partners, advice on federal-wide assurances
  • Education on community engaged research
  • Answering financial and administrative questions related to engagement
  • Fiscal resources for piloting or partnership building (seed grants) available annually
  • Reviewing proposals (letter of support, template language for resources section, editing, etc.)

These resources may help you get started:

For more information, please visit: http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/sites/cch/ or email: CCH@northwestern.edu.

2. I want to develop a small project but I need help finding partners, developing an advisory board, or planning and implementing a community-engaged project with partners.

The Center for Community Health can help you develop an engaged project by:

  • Consulting on engaged research studies including design, implementation, recruitment and dissemination
  • Partner brokering, including identifying stakeholders
  • IRB certification for community partners, advice on federal-wide assurances
  • Education on community engaged research
  • Answering finance and administration questions related to engagement
  • Fiscal resources for piloting or partnership building (seed grants) available annually
  • Reviewing proposals (letter of support, template language for resources section, editing, etc.)

These resources may help you get started:

For more information, please visit: http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/sites/cch/ or email: CCH@northwestern.edu.