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Doing Research 2019 Archive

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 2019

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 Updates

The National Science Foundation recently announced new updates to, 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.