Doing Research: Important Administrative Updates for 2019

March 6, 2019

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. Read more.

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. Read more and view photos.

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). Click here for detailed information and job aids.

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. Click here for more information.

Building a More Efficient IT Infrastructure

The 2016 Northwestern Research Leadership Retreat charged a taskforce 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. Read more

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. Read more

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.