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Doing Research: Important Administrative Updates

2020

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September 2020

New leadership at longstanding Northwestern research centers

Effective Sept. 1, two distinguished faculty members have been appointed to direct a pair of the University’s long-running research centers, designed to spur cross-disciplinary investigation. Award-winning author Chris Abani will lead the Program of African Studies, while chemical engineer Justin Notestein will lead the Center for Catalysis and Surface Science. In total, more than 40 University Research Institutes and Centers (URICs) exist, attracting talent from throughout Northwestern.

Research funding breaks through to $886M

A global pandemic has not blunted Northwestern’s remarkable research enterprise, which has grown to $886 million for fiscal year 2020. The impressive jump was driven by multiple strengths, notably biomedical. The figure represents an 11% increase over last year’s record-setting total, making Northwestern the largest academic research site in Illinois.

 
New Online Training: Intro to Research Administration at Northwestern

Whether you’re new or experienced in research administration, check out the new online training program Introduction to Research Administration at Northwestern. The curriculum includes a comprehensive introduction to the Office for Research and related offices, research-related resources, and a “Basics of Sponsored Research Administration” series of Web-based courses and webinars. Details, registration information and frequently asked questions are available at Research Integrity’s website.


VPR Signature Form Streamlines Workflow

 A new submission form is available for proposal-related VPR signature requests, including letters of institutional commitment and basic letters of support. The form is intended to reduce turnaround times by addressing common questions that arise during the review process. See additional details and get access to the form.

Single IRB Guidance and Updated Webpage

The IRB Office released new guidance and a dedicated webpage to inform the research community about the requirement to use one IRB for federally-funded human research occurring at more than one site. Northwestern researchers must complete Single IRB Pre-Consultation before either they or their collaborators submit federal funding proposals.

 

Performance Indicators: August 2020

Sponsored Research concluded the fiscal year by continuing to reduce turnaround time for key transactions, while completing higher-than-average number of transactions in August. Read more about the progress.  

 

August 2020

Phased Return Guidance

As Northwestern continues to increase on-campus research activity and prepare for the fall, VPR Mrksich highlights some recent progress and outlines the safety protocols for health monitoring and reporting — including how the University manages and tracks confirmed COVID-19 cases. Also learn about “Wildcat Wellness,” the plan to help encourage campus well-being as more students return.

 

Keep your disclosure current

A reminder that your disclosures must be kept up to date throughout the year. New startup? New consulting or speaking engagement? Staff and faculty can log into eDisclosure to update their disclosures. Instructions | FAQs.

 

July Performance Update

Additional staff and improvements in business processes continue to produce good results for the Sponsored Research office. These advances have led to reduced times and higher throughput for outgoing subcontracts. Learn more.

 

Staff Service Milestones

Many Office for Research staff members recently celebrated major milestones in their Northwestern tenure. The University recognizes and sincerely thanks these colleagues for their skill, dedication and years of service to help facilitate our successful research enterprise during a time of extraordinary growth and challenge.

 

New Inventor Portal Adds Benefits

INVO recently launched a new platform to allow researchers to complete and submit disclosure forms entirely online for inventions, software, copyright and research tools. This innovation replaces the previous INVO disclosure process to improve collaboration and efficiency. Huge thanks to the labs and researchers who volunteered to test the software! Feedback or questions? Contact INVO.

 

Conducting Human Participant Research

The IRB Office reminds the community that its COVID-19 Resources webpage provides updated resources and guidance to support human participant research and the return to campus during the pandemic. These materials include a COVID-19 Pre-Screener that can be used when conducting in-person research study visits.

 

Facilities Shutdown Scheduled (Updated)

Northwestern’s annual Central Utility Plant shutdown on the Evanston campus will occur from Monday, August 31, at 5 p.m. through Thursday, September 3, at 10 p.m. This activity will affect heating, hot water and air conditioning in buildings across campus. This shutdown is required to perform essential maintenance and is scheduled to minimize the impact on building occupants. Questions or concerns? Contact Operations and Maintenance Director  James McKinney,

 

Safety Remains in Focus

Research Safety continues to support the phased return to campus, having distributed more than 800 “welcome back” kits that include pandemic essentials such as hand sanitizer, disinfectant, and masks. Safety also has been instrumental in creating a return-to-campus training module, which nearly 7,000 researchers have completed. The team also is celebrating Biosafety Officer Andrea Hall’s recent election as incoming president-elect of the MABioN Executive Council, an organization that promotes the development of biological safety professionals.

 

IT Innovation Drives More Efficiency

A recent collaboration between IACUC and Research IT has produced a new system for tracking and sharing subcontracts. Data previously shared in a variety of ways is now better integrated, time-stamped and transparent, creating greater efficiencies for research administrators, collaborators, Sponsored Research subcontracts and the IACUC team. The new approach, advanced by RIT Developer Suresh Mallipeddi, realizes the NUIT strategy of using vendor systems for basic data entry and reporting, linking those systems with point-to-point data integration, and then integrating processes to lower turnaround times. The results also produce a valuable key performance metric.

 

New Website Provides Access, Resources

Thanks to a recently launched website, visitors have an easier way to learn about Corporate Engagement’s services. The site offers better access to Our PartnershipsOur ServicesOur Team, as well as to improved resources and information for campus partners. The website includes a secure user portal to allow faculty, students and staff to quickly narrow down the resources they need.

 

July 2020

 

VPR’s Updated Research Guidance

The Office for Research continues to support Northwestern’s phased return of research to campus. Investigators and their teams should visit the OR COVID-19 website — including an FAQ page and VPR Mrksich’s recent updated guidance for on-campus research during the pandemic. School- and unit-specific details are also aggregated online. Learn more about the NU work group overseeing the campus return.

 

Conducting Human Participant Research

The IRB Office’s COVID-19 Resources webpage provides updated resources and guidance to support your return to campus and the conducting of human participant research during the pandemic. These materials include a COVID-19 Pre-Screener that can be used when conducting in-person research study visits.

 

Workshop Connects Faculty and Companies

A free virtual workshop on July 28 will help NU faculty advance their research through corporate collaborations. Learn more about University-industry engagement and how to build successful relationships with companies. See event details and register now. Questions? Contact Kate Rice.

 

Anesthetic Gas Course Launched

A new safety course, “Working with Anesthetic Gases,” has been launched in myHR Learn. This 15-minute module addresses exposure and health risks of working with these gases, as well as strategies to reduce exposure and procedures for responding to exposure incidents and spills. Investigators are being assigned the course through LUMEN.

 

June Performance Update

Sponsored Research processing times are normalizing across transaction types, with the most notable impact for June seen with respect to the time to fully execute new outgoing subcontract agreements. Learn more.

 

Training Tomorrow’s Scientific Workforce

To address the impact of COVID-19 on higher education, the NSF is expanding its Advanced Technology Education (ATE) program to increase the size of the technology-based workforce. AUI and Chicago Biomedical Consortium institutions, including NU, are helping local community colleges prepare ATE applications that emphasize careers in core technologies.

 

June 2020

 

Return-to-Campus Resources Available

As more research transitions back to campus, remain aware of guidance from the VPR. You may also access a variety of job aids and posters for on-demand printing to support your phased return to research spaces.

 

New Inventor Portal Adds Benefits

INVO has launched a new platform to allow researchers to complete and submit disclosure forms entirely online for inventions, software, copyright, and research tools. The innovation improves collaboration and enhances efficiency, and soon will replace the previous INVO forms for disclosure after a brief transition period. Feedback or questions? Contact INVO.

 

Reducing Regulatory Burden

The IACUC Office is pleased to announce the rollout of several changes to the eIACUC protocol form, effective June 1. The changes include options for housing sub types applicable to your research needs, as well as simplification of the federal assurance section through the use of an attestation check box.  View the summary of key changes.

 

Despite COVID, NU Funding Remains Strong

Northwestern’s overall sponsored research funding continues to grow despite the COVID-19 pandemic and related move to remote campus operations. Year-over-year awards and award funding are up, as reflected in this activity summary.

 

Cores Support Phase Return to Campus

Core facilities staff are helping ensure that Northwestern’s scientific infrastructure is ready as researchers repopulate campus. A task force of core administrators and directors — including Dina Arvanitis, Reiner Bleher, Kat Gruner, Chad Haney, and Ben Owen — have supported the return to allow cores reopen in alignment with University guidance while maintaining high levels of service. A key aspect of this effort involves communicating each core’s status to users.

 

Safety Team Key Ally in Campus Return

To support NU scientists during the phased return to campus, Research Safety so far has prepared more than 420 welcome back kits containing 1,300 bottle of EPA-registered disinfectant, 850 containers of hand sanitizer, and numerous job aids and guidance posters. They also have provided more than 110,000 disposable masks. Safety will continue to supply sanitizer and disinfectant until its supplies are exhausted, so contact them. Additional masks are available at no cost via the scientific stockrooms.

 

Conducting Human Participant Research

The IRB Office’s COVID-19 Resources webpage provides resources and guidance to support your return to campus and the conducting of human participant research during the pandemic. These materials include a COVID-19 Pre-Screener that can be used when conducting in-person research study visits.

 

Reflections on the Killing of George Floyd

VPR Mrksich says that recent injustices highlight the need for committed action that strengthens our institutions — including the Office for Research.

 

Find COVID-19 Funding and Resources

Research Development has successfully supported more than 20 faculty across multiple schools and URICs by matching PI’s COVID-19-related projects with funding opportunities, identifying collaborators, and more. Reach out to the staff  for assistance.

 

Combating ‘Zoom Fatigue’

Throughout the pandemic, RIT’s agility, customer focus, and strong project management skills have helped keep the Office for Research connected — on and off campus. Telepresence has been center stage, but so has “Zoom Fatigue.” Find help on how to stay secure while working remotely.

 

May 2020

 

Find Support for COVID-19 Research

In recent weeks, the IRB Office has received and reviewed more than 100 projects related to COVID-19 research — and continues to prioritize such work at this time. Investigators pursuing these kinds of studies can find guidance and resources on the IRB Office website. You may also read the current policy on research study visits.

 

Changes Coming for NIH, NSF Proposal Submissions

The University’s two largest federal sponsors are implementing changes in their proposal submission procedures in the next month. NIH is updating its application forms effective for deadlines May 25 and after. NSF’s latest proposal submission policies, including new requirements for biosketches and support forms, go into effect on June 1. Learn more.

 

Essential Research Extended

ICYMI: The Office for Research reiterated current policy for investigations during the COVID-19 pandemic and began providing guidance for an anticipated phased return to more on-campus activities.

 

COVID-19 Funding and Resources

Research Development has curated a detailed list of more than 50 federal, foundation, and corporate funding opportunities as well as grant-related resources on its COVID-19 web page. In addition, ORD staff  are able to assist faculty by identifying funding mechanisms that align with their research projects, finding collaborators, facilitating connections with program officers, and advising on strategic approaches to developing a proposal.

 

Research Metrics Dashboard Updated

This enhanced digital dashboard showcases year-over-year metrics from across the Office for Research, demonstrating the scope and impact of this portfolio of expert research services. The dashboard has recently been enhanced to include FY19 data as well as some new interactive features.

 

Tools to Connect Remotely

Remember that Northwestern provides a variety of digital tools and resources to help you stay connected during the current stay-at-home order.   

 

March 2020 – Special COVID-19

 

NU Creates COVID Clearinghouse

Northwestern investigators and clinicians have stepped up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic — including by creating a research clearinghouse aimed at catalyzing team science. Across the University, many specialists have pooled their talents. These aggregated resources will help those looking for COVID-19 research funding, data, publications, and collaborators.

 

Urgent Need for Hospital Supplies

Researchers can contribute crucial PPE, including N95 masks, to help Northwestern healthcare workers in the frontlines battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Donating vital supplies is easy and will make an immediate impact for our colleagues.

 

COVID-19 Guidance for Researchers

The Office for Research has created a website that provides Northwestern investigators with resources and information about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on research activity. Included are details pertaining to sponsored research funding, IRB guidance, and IACUC protocols during the current viral outbreak. Updated guidance, as it becomes available, is posted to the site. University-wide resources and news about the outbreak continues to appear on Northwestern’s Coronavirus/COVID-19 page.

 

NU Team Discovers COVID-19 Drug Target

Feinberg School scientists led by microbiologist Karla Satchell have identified a potential new drug target in SARS-CoV-2. The work maps two key proteins that help the virus evade detection in cells and thereby multiply faster.

 

Economists Analyze Cost and Savings of COVID Containment

Economists led by Northwestern’s Martin Eichenbaum published a working paper that could save lives. The scholars argue that keeping social-distancing measures in place before a peak in the infection rate could limit infections and prevent as many as 600,000 additional deaths in the United States.

 

March 2020

 

New Funding Search Engine Arrives

Effective March 1, Northwestern adopted a new funding opportunities search engine called Funding Institutional. This software replaces COS Pivot, the University’s longtime subscription service. Funding Institutional is a quality product from Elsevier, a well-known brand that powers Northwestern Scholars, and it offers exceptional features at a lower cost. To start using this tool, navigate to fundinginstitutional.com, click “Sign In” at the top right, select “sign in via your institution,” and follow the prompts to enter your NetID and password. Questions? Contact ORD’s Rebecca McNaughton.

 

Corporate Research Partnerships

Corporate Engagement invites faculty to attend a March 12 workshop on university-industry relationships at Northwestern and to learn how to partner with companies on research collaborations. This workshop will explain why companies are interested in working with universities and who supports these efforts on campus. Faculty also will learn how to build successful relationships with companies. Contact the Corporate Engagement team.

 

Foreign Influence Remains a Focus

The federal government continues to emphasize the importance of academic investigators to disclose their foreign research relationships. Remain aware of your responsibilities by reviewing Northwestern’s current guidance on improper foreign influence. Questions? Contact Conflict of Interest or Export Controls Compliance staff for help.

 

Performance Indicators: February Update

The Sponsored Research team’s overall median time to process agreements held steady in February, with further improvements expected in coming months due to the addition of new staff and the implementation of process enhancements. Read more.

 

Interested in Being a Faculty Expert?

Northwestern’s Global Marketing and Communications team is considering applications from faculty members looking to share their research insights with the media. Learn more about the Faculty Experts initiative and application process.

 

Take Advantage of Research Tools

The Office for Research maintains a robust portfolio of valuable information for investigators. Find links to key policies as well as funding opportunities, training, onboarding, electronic research systems, core facilities, metrics, and more on the Research Tools page.

 

February 2020

 

Annual Disclosure Process Closes February 28!

Please submit your annual disclosure by end of business on Friday, February 28, to comply with university policy and avoid delays with proposal submissions and award set up. Disclose: eDisclosure. More info: NUCOI’s website Contact nucoi@northwestern.edu with questions.

LUMEN Nearly Complete

 Thank you for helping Research Safety move from the NSIS registration system to a hosted solution called LUMEN (powered by BioRAFT). On March 31 all access to the NSIS system will end. NSIS data will be retained, but all records, documents, approvals, etc. will be processed using LUMEN.

 

Performance Indicators: January Update

The Sponsored Research team’s median time to process agreements held steady in January, with additional improvements in subcontracts. Read more and learn about staffing updates to support efficiencies.

 

DHHS Common Rule Now in Effect

The updated Common Rule, effective January 20, requires that Federally Funded Cooperative Research (more than one site) identify one IRB to serve as the IRB of record for all sites. The pre-consultation process established for the NIH Single IRB Policy will be used for all federally funded cooperative research.

 

CFaD Program Helps Innovation

Core facilities enable amazing scientific advances. But because of the way these shared resources are funded it can be challenging to develop new service lines — even when only relatively modest investments are needed to do so. The Core Facilities Development Program has helped solve this problem for CAM and MHPL — and how your Core can benefit from CFaD.

 

Foreign Influence a National Priority

Recent high-profile events — including the arrest of a prominent faculty member at a peer institution — underscore the need for investigators to disclose foreign relationships. Be aware of your responsibilities by reviewing Northwestern’s current guidance on improper foreign influence. Questions? Contact Conflict of Interest or Export Controls staff for help.

 

January 2020

 

Animal Care Excellence

CCM’s Preclinical Rodent Services (PCS) team offers its expertise to support Northwestern’s animal biomedical researchers. With specialized training to meet the growing demands of the University’s scientists, the PCS team through its technical support of animal research studies plays a valuable role in advancing the research and medical mission of Northwestern. Learn more here.

 

Performance Indicators: December Update

In December, the Sponsored Research team’s median time to process agreements ticked up slightly for most transaction types, reflecting a larger number of older transactions completed with many sponsors motivated to wrap up work before the year’s end.


2019

 

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November 2019

Open Enrollment Has Begun

Open Enrollment is your opportunity each year to review and choose coverage options for you and your family. You will have access to Open through Friday, November 15.

Safety Alert Issued

In response to two recent incidents, Northwestern has issued a safety alert regarding pyrophoric and air-sensitive compounds.

New F&A Rates, Application Guidance

New Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Rates were recently announced by the Office of Financial Operations and Office for Research. Visit the Sponsored Research website to read the announcement and rate application guidance.

Sponsored Research Performance Indicators: October Update

Median times to execute negotiated agreements continued an overall downward trend from highs reached in the spring, with slight decreases in a few agreement types in October compared with September. 

October 2019

NIH Loan Payment Period Open

The application period for 2019 NIH Extramural Loan Repayment Programs is open. Visit the Sponsored Research website to learn more about the Northwestern submission process.

Did You Know?

The hours between 4 and 8 p.m. pose a special risk for those conducting experimental work. Taking your time — especially with hazardous material — is essential for lab safety, particularly during the part of the day when most lab incidents occur.

Research Admin Training Set for Fall

Registration is open for the next Research Administration Training Seminar. This series of four sessions between October 31 and November 8 introduces participants to Northwestern’s research administration process, policies, procedures, and offices.

Sponsored Research Performance Indicators: September Update

Sponsored Research maintained reductions in the median time to execute non-funded negotiations and outgoing subcontracts relative to the first half of FY19. 

September 2019Big N

Joint Emergency Drills a Success

As part of an ongoing partnership to improve public safety and emergency preparedness, Northwestern and the City of Evanston recently conducted their fifth annual joint emergency response drills.

Updated Guidance on Foreign Influence

The Office for Research has released a new FAQ as it continues to follow heightened activity concerning foreign influence in academic research.

Update on Performance Indicators

With additional resources added in the second half of FY19, Sponsored Research achieved significant reductions – more than 66 percent in some cases – in the median time to execute non-funded negotiations and outgoing subcontracts.

Transition from NSIS to LUMEN Continues

Research Safety has extended the timeline for the full implementation of the LUMEN system into the first quarter of 2020. Working with vendor BioRAFT, the office is continuing to troubleshoot integration issues. If you experience any problems in your transition to LUMEN, please let Research Safety know.

Linked Profiles Aid Researchers

Open Researcher and Contributor Identification benefits researchers by providing a lifelong identifier that automatically links them to their past papers, avoids the confusion caused by similar last names, enhances the discoverability of their papers, and simplifies creating biosketches for grant applications.

Register Now for Responsible Conduct of Research

Registration is open for the next Responsible Conduct of Research course. Classes will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays from September 18 through December 4. Postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty who have received NIH F, T, and K training awards are required to complete the course.

August 2019

Research Admin Training Dates Set

Registration is now open for summer’s Research Administration Training Seminar. The four-session training introduces participants to Northwestern’s research administration process, policies,
and offices.

Learn About Grantsmanship

Registration is open for Northwestern’s next Grantsmanship for the Research Professional Course. The workshop is developed by the School of Professional Studies and will occur
December 5-6.

Update on Performance Indicators

In July, Sponsored Research met its target median processing time for Data Use Agreements (DUAs) while continuing to improve its processing time for outgoing subcontracts and other non-funded negotiations. See More.

Annual Safety Drills August 20-22

Northwestern University and local first responders will collaborate in the fifth-annual Emergency Response Drills on the Evanston campus.

New Process for Identifying Protocol Funding Sources

A new eIACUC process will reduce manual data entry of funding sources and help to ensure accuracy of Northwester’s research records. Effective August 5, the submission preparer will be required to select the InfoEd number that corresponds to the grant or contract supporting the IACUC protocol. There are no changes to internally funded or non-sponsored protocols.

July 2019

Economic Impact of Research Nears $800 Million

A new report shows small businesses and minority- or female-owned vendors are among those benefitting from Northwestern’s federally funded research activity over the past decade, and the full impact is even greater. Read more

Research.gov Updates

The National Science Foundation recently announced new updates to Research.gov, including support for collaborative proposals with subawards. For more information, visit the Sponsored Research website.

Update on Performance Indicators

Processing time for outgoing subcontracts and non-funded negotiations continued to improve in June. See More.

Lab Coat Reuse

Summer provides a chance to clean-up and organize for the coming academic year. Research Safety asks that all laboratories with extra (or abandoned) lab coats return them for laundering and reuse.

June 2019

Ending One Year, Preparing For Next

As end-of-year celebrations are set to begin, please take time to clean up and organize your lab space. This is especially true for newly minted PhDs and departing postdocs. Research Safety can provide special waste pick-up and cleaning services to make this important task a little easier. Good housekeeping and proper waste management creates a safer and better organized work environment.

Processing Times Being Reduced

With additional permanent and temporary resources in place, the Sponsored Research team is beginning to see benefits from increased staffing. Processing times and transaction queues for non-funded negotiations and outgoing subcontracts are both trending downward through the end of May. See More.

The Power of a Positive Team

Read how Executive Director Nathalia Henry brings passion, perspective, and leadership to the Institutional Review Board Office’s support of ethical research.

May 2019

Improving Turnaround Times

In a recent email to the Northwestern community, Provost Jonathan Holloway and Senior Vice President Craig Johnson outlined steps taken by the University to assist Sponsored Research in addressing backlogs in some parts of the office. In recent months, Sponsored Research has made great strides streamlining internal processes, while simultaneously filling a considerable number of staff vacancies. See More.

Guidance Regarding Foreign Influence

The federal government and federal sponsors have expressed renewed concerns about improper foreign influence in US academic research. Northwestern faculty conducting international academic activity should remain aware of these evolving requirements and guidance.

LUMEN Update

By now, we hope that you aware that Research Safety is retiring the NSIS research registration system and moving to a hosted solution called LUMEN. The move from NSIS to LUMEN is occurring by invitation and in stages. If you received your personalized invitation to log in to LUMEN more than 30 days ago, we need your help to complete your lab registration. Research Safety has also created a number of guidance documents to help you complete the registration process.

April 2019

Safe Shipping of Biological Materials Made Simple

Collaboration is the cornerstone of science and often requires the transfer of materials and ideas. When shipping research materials to your collaborators, make sure you’re shipping packages in accordance with international regulations. If you ship biological materials of any kind — or dry ice — you must be properly trained.

2019 Performance Excellence Nears Final Phase

Northwestern’s Performance Excellence is a year-round experience with three phases, conducted through myHR Learn. With the year-end review part of this process approaching, please take advantage of the resources available. Online webinars include “Writing Your Self-Review” and “Year-End Essentials for Managers and Supervisors.”

NIH Addresses Sexual Harassment in Science

NIH recently released an update outlining actions the agency is taking to address sexual harassment in science. This includes the expectation that awardee organizations proactively inform NIH about any status changes of senior/key personnel on an NIH award because of sexual harassment concerns. 

Helping Tell Your Story

Has a member of your research group recently published in a high-impact journal? Do you have an interdisciplinary story that you’d like to share? Please contact us. The Communications team is also available to provide editorial and design guidance to Northwestern Research units.

‘One-Stop’ Research Tools Page Now Live

Find valuable resources for Northwestern researchers in one easy place. The Research Tools webpage has links to Onboarding Procedures, Research Policies, F&A Rates and Useful Institutional Information, as well as so much more. The page was developed by a working group within the Office for Research to provide support services on a single page. If you have additional information you think will benefit the research community, please contact Julie Cowan.

March 2019

Foreign Influence, Involvement in University Research

The federal government and federal sponsors have expressed renewed concerns about improper foreign influence in US academic research. As a result, academic research institutions have a heightened awareness and interest in understanding the relationships federally-funded faculty may have with foreign governments or entities. Northwestern faculty conducting international academic activity should remain aware of these requirements and guidance.

Guidance on Offsite Collaborations

Northwestern maintains an approved Animal Welfare Assurance with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, an arrangement that is required in order for the University to receive PHS and other federal funding. As the grantee of federal funds, Northwestern is ultimately responsible for compliance with the PHS Policy as well as Northwestern funded activities at other performance sites.

Colloquium Focuses on Rigor and Reproducibility

At a February event, Northwestern celebrated its core facilities excellence, awarding distinction to those teams that demonstrated superior performance. Attendees also shared best practices about how cores help enable exemplary science. 

Aligning Processes and Workflows

Northwestern’s Conflict of Interest Office and the IRB Office have closely collaborated to align processes and workflows. Learn more about how COI review fits into IRB review and how to leverage the COI tab in eIRB+.

Docusign Pilot Underway

Sponsored Research is participating in a pilot program using Docusign to collect signatures on nonfunded agreements (CDA, DUA, MTA). Go to Sponsored Research for detailed information.

LUMEN System Goes Live

The move from NSIS to LUMEN is underway. Principal investigators and safety designates should expect a personalized invitation to onboard in the coming weeks.

February 2019

Research Strategic Priorities Now Online

Northwestern Research is the steward of the University’s research enterprise, helping support breakthrough discovery that benefits society. Learn more about the five strategic priorities that guide these efforts here.

Reopening of Federal Government

NSF released a statement regarding resumption of operations, noting that although the agency has reopened, it will not be “conducting business as usual” in the coming weeks. Also, the due date for new NASA FINESST fellowship applications is now TBD. Read more here.

New Requirements for Identifying Funding Source

Effective January 19, the funding page in the eIRB+ application has been updated to require the submission preparer to select the InfoEd number (e.g., SP0054321) that corresponds to the grant or contract funding sponsored IRB studies. There will be no change to non-sponsored, or internally-funded studies

Updated Volunteer and Visitor Lab Agreement

The Office of Risk Management, in coordination with the Office for Research and the General Counsel’s Office, has released an updated version of the Volunteer and Visitor Lab Agreement. It is available near the bottom of the following Core Facilities Administration page without a login. Please email a copy of the completed forms to Elizabeth Marshall in the Office of Risk Management.

Computing Services Programming

Research Computing Services offers workshops on programming, data analysis, and other technical skills for Northwestern researchers. All workshops are free and held in Mudd Library classrooms. Weekly Researcher’s Toolkit workshops are designed to help Northwestern researchers improve scholarly productivity and efficiency in the areas of programming, data analysis, scientific computing, data management, publication skills, and GIS.

Common Rule Implementation

As of January 21, the revised Common Rule has taken effect. The changes to the regulations do not require immediate researcher action — researchers should continue to follow their IRB approved protocols and the determinations made by the IRB as communicated in the determinations letters (i.e. related to submitting CRs, Mods, and RNIs), etc. Please refer to the IRB Office notice for further clarification.

Individual CDAs and Consulting Agreements

Learn more about updates on Individual Agreements, which relate to work unassociated with faculty research and activities at Northwestern

Safety Awareness Week Feb. 18-22

The Research Safety Student Initiative’s 2nd-annual Safety Awareness Week will open with a plenary event on February 18 at Pancoe.

January 2019

Proposals and Awards During Shutdown

Due to the lapse in federal appropriations, the operations of some departments and agencies that provide research funding to Northwestern have been affected. Learn More.

Building a More Efficient IT Infrastructure

The 2016 Northwestern Research Leadership Retreat charged a task force with increasing efficiency and managing risk by documenting process handoffs between Research units and external entities (a “swim lanes” analysis). The method dovetailed with the NUIT promotion of Service Oriented Architecture integration and the long-term project is based on continuing deliverables.

In-Depth Study of Lab Injuries, Prevention Tactics

In collaboration with Research Safety, graduate student Abha Gosavi conducted a retrospective analysis of laboratory-associated injuries at Northwestern and found that cuts, lacerations, and punctures accounted for nearly two-thirds of incidents. The team’s full research results and recommendations were published in the Journal of Chemical Health and Safety.

InfoEd Change Request Module

A major enhancement in award request processing went into effect in mid-December with the launch of change requests in InfoEd. Visit the Sponsored Research website to read more about the update and access job aids.

Upgrades Create Increased Visibility

Northwestern’s research expertise and networking system now includes two new enhancements: “alternative metrics” (altmetrics) on publications and new grant award information.

Addgene MTA Process Improvement

In response to departmental feedback about challenges related to Addgene MTAs, Sponsored Research announced a streamlined process for these transactions.