Northwestern Launches New Platform for Research Registration

‘Lumen’ promises to simplify, strengthen safety and training

By Roger AndersonMarch 19, 2018

Northwestern has announced a new research registration system called “Lumen” powered by BioRAFT, a suite of laboratory safety software used by top universities and research and development companies.

Over the next year, Lumen will fully replace NSIS, the Northwestern Safety Information System, as the University’s online registration tool for research safety. Lumen will integrate and manage federally required information on the use of biological, chemical, and radioactive materials in research. As has been the case with NSIS, Lumen will manage hazardous waste removal and equipment recycling requests.

“Lumen is an intuitive, interactive, and integrated system to help us manage the wide and expanding range of research safety issues at Northwestern,” says Michael Blayney, executive director of Research Safety. “This enhanced system for research registration will make it easier for everyone to connect the people, projects, and places that compose our research ecosystem.”

Lumen is designed to make safety and compliance tasks easy for Northwestern labs, cores, and research institutes and centers. It will do that, in part, by providing a dashboard and visual user interface on each individualized landing page. Potential compliance concerns will be color-coded green (signifying no issues), yellow (potential issues), or red (noncompliance). Outstanding issues can be seen at a glance and will require fewer system emails than is the case with NSIS.

The new system will also allow department chairs, administrators, and other designated personnel to review groups of users to help identify trends and facilitate resolutions.

“This type of aggregation allows Research Safety to better monitor the research registration process and much more effectively promote the completion of tasks,” says Blayney. “Lumen will provide us with an enhanced view of research safety at an institutional level, too.”

Lumen also will integrate with Northwestern’s myHRLearn system, which will remain the system of record for institutional training. Other benefits of Lumen, include:

  • A new signage module that allows existing lab signs to be replaced with a framed placard that is generated by the registration process itself
  • Menu-driven and nested data collection that details what type of research a lab is conducting
  • The ability for members of the Research Safety team to populate information for a lab, add notes, and follow up on requests

Lumen implementation will begin this spring with laboratories that actively use radioactive substances. The new radioisotopes module will better serve users by calculating decay and making inventory reconciliations.

The Office for Research Information Technology is working with Research Safety to reduce the overlap of the NSIS and BioRAFT systems, with full implementation of Lumen expected in spring of 2019.

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