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Getting Started

At the start of your researcher onboarding at Northwestern, you should:

  1. Have a NetID
  2. Review Research Policies
  3. Read about PI Eligibility for IRB Protocols, IACUC Protocols, and Sponsored Research Proposals/Awards
  4. Understand Research Roles and Responsibilities

Office for Research onboarding-related services

Are your existing awards transferring to Northwestern?

With incoming faculty, the Sponsored Research office at both the outgoing institution and here at Northwestern will typically work together to determine which sponsored projects will be transferred, including personnel, lab equipment, data, biological samples, research animals, etc. The transfer (shipping, handling, insurance, etc.) is typically paid by the new institution.

  • Notify agency sponsors to begin transfer process. Request instructions for transferring your projects to Northwestern.
  • Contact your Northwestern Research Administrator throughout process.
  • Complete appropriate transfer materials/relinquishment forms depending on agency requirements and your home institution policies.
  • For NIH Awards: Complete the PHS-3734. Change your eRA Commons affiliation to Northwestern.
  • For NSF Awards: Initiate a PI Transfer Request via if transferring any grant(s) to Northwestern.
CONTACT: Sponsored Research, 312-503-7955

Will materials be transferred?

Materials include tangible biological materials (cell lines, tissues, sera, DNA, transgenic animals, plasmids, vectors, etc.) and other research materials (compounds, sensors and software, etc.). When an MTA is received by the PI from an outside party, the agreement should be provided to the OSR Corporate Contracts Team.

  • If you are transferring material, you may need to establish a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) between the provider and Northwestern. Verify with the provider whether an MTA with Northwestern is necessary.
  • To begin the negotiation of a new MTA, complete a MTA request for inbound materials through CERES. Reach out to with any questions about this process.

CONTACT: Sponsored Research

Will data be transferred?

DUAs are classified into two categories:

  1. Non-human subject data or completely de-identified human research participant data (as determined by Northwestern’s IRB office)
  2. Human research participant data, which includes Protected Health Information. This includes data which constitutes a Limited Data Set as defined by HIPAA. Transfers which fall into category 2 are subject to HIPAA regulations and may require IRB approval. Questions about IRB approval, guidelines and policies should be directed to
  • If you are transferring data, you may need to establish a Data Use Agreement (DUA) between the provider institution and Northwestern. Verify whether the provider institution requires a DUA with Northwestern.
  • Complete a DUA request for inbound data through CERES. Reach out to with any questions about this process.
CONTACT: Sponsored Research

Does your work involve animals?

  • All principal investigators and research staff handling and caring for animals are required to take the basic and species-specific IACUC online training and enroll in the Occupational Health Safety Program (OHSP). You must first have a NetID from your school/department.
  • Contact the IACUC office for guidance and assistance on protocol submission and review process.
  • Submit an Animal Study Protocol (ASP). Submission and approval of a protocol must be completed prior to working with animals. You must have a NetID to start your ASP submission.
  • Anyone seeking facility access (CCM) or having contact with animals must be listed on an approved protocol prior to beginning work.

CONTACT: Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Office, 312-503-9339

Do you have questions related to animal procurement, receiving, census, and transfer?

  • Complete the New Investigator Questionnaire. It is critical that we know the number of cages/animals that the PI plans to work with and any other specialized care or equipment that they may require. Please contact Animal Procurement, Receiving and Census for an electronic version of the Questionnaire.
  • To transfer animals to Northwestern: Submit the transfer request(s) via CCM’s Animal Operations System (AOPs). You must have a NetID and password to login AND an approved protocol. Also, you must be on VPN.
    Your protocol must be approved and the appropriate funding linked PRIOR to transfer animals. Please refer to the CCM website for Animal Operations System (AOPs) documentation.
  • To order animals once you arrive at Northwestern:
    • To order animals from approved commercial vendors, submit an order request(s) via CCM’s AOPs.
    • To order animals from non-commercial vendors, submit an import request(s) via CCM’s AOPs.

    For both request types, you must have a NetID and password to login AND an approved protocol.
    Your protocol must be approved and the appropriate funding linked PRIOR to ordering animals. Please refer to the CCM website for Animal Operations System (AOPs) documentation.

CONTACT: Center for Comparative Medicine (CCM)
Supervisor, Animal Procurement, Receiving and Census


Does your research involve Controlled Substances?

Please refer to our policy and procedures on the Controlled Substances website.

Do you need training to work with animals?

Please refer to the CCM website for Onboarding and Training information.

  • Complete Facility Training before animals arrive at Northwestern.
  • Contact CCM Quality and Training department,, to schedule a CCM New Researcher Orientation for access to your animals.
  • Review campus and species-specific checklists as a guide through training, the process of being added to an ASP, and being granted access to CCM. If you are a new researcher working with amphibians or fish, contact the CCM Training Office.
    New Researcher Checklists:
    Rodent Checklist
    Large Animal Checklist
    Non-Human Primate Checklist

CONTACT: CCM Training Office

Are you involved in laboratory-based research?

Laboratory-based research involves the use of dedicated facilities for experimentation or measurement supplied with one or more utilities such as ventilation, storage, and plumbing.

  • Send a request to to be registered in Lumen, the research registration system. Once you register, you will receive an email notification of your access to the system.
    The subject line of your email to register should read “Register a New Laboratory” and include your name, NetID, department, anticipated date of arrival, and contact phone number in the email message.
  • In Lumen, register your lab workers and assign safety training. Register lab locations and work involving hazardous energies, lasers, x-ray, and hazardous materials within 30 days.
    Hazardous materials include any biological, chemical, or radiological material that is potentially harmful to individuals, public health, or the environment if not managed properly.

CONTACT: Research Safety, 847-491-5581

How do you complete a Conflict of Interest (COI) disclosure?

Disclosure is required at least annually for all faculty. If you will be participating in research, disclosure is required before proposal submission or initiating a project and within 30 days of acquiring a new financial interest.

Resources available on our website include:
    • Instructions and FAQs for completing a disclosure
    • One-page guide for research-related COI processes

CONTACT: Conflict of Interest Office, 847-467-4515

What are your responsibilities regarding Export Controls and International Compliance?

Visit Northwestern’s Export Controls  and International Compliance website for more on  responsibilities and additional regulation resources and links.

  • Review and familiarize yourself with Northwestern’s Policy on Export Controls Compliance.
  • Confirm that you are not engaged in any research projects that are specifically subject to the export control regulations, e.g. the ITAR, EAR, or any projects that have restrictions upon publication or foreign national participation.

CONTACT:Export Controls and International Compliance Office

Do you plan to work with Core Facilities?

There is no form, but there is an internal vetting process for external instrumentation grant proposals. The Office for Research provides administrative assistance regarding placement of instruments, technical support, service contracts, and UPS requirements.

  • If you seek to purchase equipment or a data acquisition system costing $300K or more, contact Fruma Yehiely.

CONTACT: Core Facilities Administration
Fruma Yehiely, Associate Vice President,, 847- 491-1074

How do your sponsored funds get transferred to Northwestern?

A Final Financial Report (FFR) should be sent from your previous institution to your new Research Administrator at Northwestern. Contact your ASRSP Grant and Contract Financial Administrator (GCFA) for assistance. The appropriate GCFA may be easily identified on a current budget statement for the award (Cognos GM045 report). This will allow ASRSP to track the transfer of carry-over from your previous institution. Visit the ASRSP website to assist with the monitoring of sponsored funds.

CONTACT:Accounting Services for Research and Sponsored Programs (ASRSP)
Elizabette Rischall, ASRSP,, 847-467-7130

How do you manage Effort Reporting and charges to your sponsored projects?

See the Basics of Effort Reporting and Certification Screen by Screen Certifier Job Aids on the Cost Studies website.

  • For policies and procedures regarding effort certification as well as guidance on charging sponsored projects, visit the Cost Studies website.

CONTACT: Effort Reporting/ Cost Studies
Tina Mete,, 847.491.6755

Where do you get support to find funding opportunities and information about limited submissions?

Visit the Research Development website to set up a meeting to learn about limited submissions, federal funding opportunities, proposal development support, and discuss how to grow and diversify your federal funding portfolio.

  • Subscribe to Northwestern’s weekly funding opportunity announcements.
  • Meet to discuss the federal funding research landscape and learn about Research Development services available to PIs.

CONTACT: Research Development
Fruma Yehiely, Associate Vice President for Research,, 847-491-1074

How do you transfer private foundation awards to Northwestern and how do you collaborate with companies?

  • Sign up for the Funding Opportunities E-Newsletter (Companies and Foundations).
  • Corporate Engagement: Reach out to to learn about support available for corporate connections and advice on how to collaborate with companies.
  • Foundation Relations: Contact to learn about foundations that might fund your project and connect with a foundation proposal consultant. If you are transferring a private foundation award to Northwestern, please notify Sarah Fodor at

CONTACT: Corporate Engagement and Foundation Relations
Jim Bray, Corporate Engagement;, 847-491-3371
Sarah J. Fodor, Foundation Relations and Corporate Engagement;, 847-491-4590

How do you work with tech transfer regarding pre-existing IP or new disclosures?

  • If you have previously filed patents, have been involved in a start-up company, or intend to utilize pre-existing intellectual property in your work, contact INVO. INVO can facilitate a conversation between your previous institution and Northwestern.
  • INVO works closely with faculty to shape invention disclosures and to secure intellectual property rights. If your work might lead to a potentially patentable invention, or if you have copyrightable materials or software that you have developed, please log and submit a Disclosure Form to INVO BEFORE publication or another public disclosure (e.g., conference presentation or abstract) occurs.
  • INVO is at the center of a network of resources to introduce faculty and students to the world of start-up companies and to facilitate their participation. If you are interested in start-ups to advance innovative concepts, contact INVO.
  • A number of approaches are evolving at Northwestern to help define product opportunities and fund proof-of-concept studies in the physical and life sciences. If your work requires a proof-of-concept to validate a product concept, contact INVO.

CONTACT: Innovations and New Ventures Office (INVO)
INVO Office, 847-467-2097

Where do you learn about clinical research resources available to you and your team?

The PI can meet with a NUCATS Navigator to learn about resources and services that are available. The NUCATS mission is to provide scientists with consultative resources and expertise in order to accelerate how quickly transformative scientific discoveries make their way to patients and the community. It is the Institute’s goal to continually increase the quality, safety, efficiency and speed of innovative clinical and translational research.

  • Meet to discuss clinical research resources and services available to PIs and their research teams.

Northwestern Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS), 312-503-1709

Download the PI Onboarding Checklist with all of this information.