Research Support Services

Research Support ServicesThe University offers a wide array of services, under the auspices of a wide array of offices and centers, to graduate student, postdoctoral, and faculty researchers.  These services ensure that researchers have the technology necessary to conduct their work but also that they have the knowledge of institutional and federal policies required to maintain ethical integrity and compliance.   We encourage you to visit the specific pages referenced in each section below to guarantee that you receive the most comprehensive picture possible of the research support infrastructure available for you at Northwestern University.

Northwestern University is a recognized leader in the development and deployment of innovative information technologies. Computing and network technologies are deployed for a wide variety of activities in support of academic mission of The Graduate School. Northwestern University Information Technology (NUIT) makes a broad spectrum of computer resources and services available to Northwestern students, faculty, and staff in support of research and instruction. Access is available to a variety of computing resources in one of the country's most advanced networked environments, with high speed Ethernet connections available in every academic and administrative building and residence hall . Resources include access to over 110 Windows or Macintosh workstations in six campus labs developed for student use by NUIT. In addition, at least 500 workstations are found in department-based labs, available for use by students in specific academic programs. Over 40 wireless access points are available at the University for laptop connection to the Internet, including all the stack areas of the University Library. New facilities in support of Internet-based videoconferencing, advanced data visualization, research computing, scholarly technologies, multimedia authoring, and media streaming are often used by faculty and graduate students in connection with both sponsored research and general professional communications.

A number of services are offered to graduate students through various NUIT units. NUIT’s Academic Technologies division is responsible for the development and support of a number of academic research computing projects in the humanities, natural and behavioral sciences, and other academic areas. Among its activities are advanced visualization services provided by the AT Vislab and development of a Social Sciences Computing Complex for statistical data analysis support and flexible storage. Consultants in the NUIT Information Center in Kresge Centennial Hall answer phone and walk-in questions from students, faculty, and staff on selected hardware, software packages, operating systems, informationtechnology facilities, and computing policies. NUIT also has a Chicago campus office at Abbott Hall, Room 600, 710 N. Lake Shore Drive. A new Information Commons, providing a variety of research support services and student collaboration spaces, is being developed in the University Library with support from NUIT.

The University has purchased a number of software licenses of importance to the graduate student community, including a campus-wide license for EndNote (a bibliography management tool) and for Mathematica (a mathematics computation and visualization system). Terms of access to these and many other useful software products is available here.

Buildings on both Northwestern campuses are connected through high-speed networks to the Internet, allowing access to a wealth of information at other universities and organizations worldwide. All Northwestern students, staff, and faculty are supported with free network accounts that give them access to electronic mail and conferencing/course management systems, the University ’s on-line library catalog, and a large number of electronic resources — journals, indexes, full-text research resources, and computing applications — purchased on behalf of the research community by the Library and NUIT. NUIT has developed software in support of graduate education and offers workshops for graduate students interested in data visualization, the development of multimedia, advances in humanities computing, and uses of technology for teaching. Web site

Information Technology
As of May 1st 2006, The Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to offer its incoming faculty and graduate students a comprehensive listing of the technical and electronic resources available at Northwestern for the support of faculty and graduate research.  Available now at, these listings include links to physical humanities and social science computing tools, as well as a variety of software, GIS, library, and other electronic resources for supporting research in the humanities and social sciences. 

Center for Comparative Medicine
The Center for Comparative Medicine (CCM) is responsible for managing and administering the University's centralized program of laboratory animal care. Functions of CCM include daily animal care, veterinary care, provision of diagnostic and research services, surgical assistance and monitoring, purchase of live vertebrates, purchase and disbursement of controlled substances, and training of research and technical personnel who use live animals for research or teaching. CCM's director is responsible for implementing University policy, adherence to US Public Health Service policy, and the Animal Welfare Act in caring for and using laboratory animals. Northwestern's animal care and use program is fully accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care. Web site:

The Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
The Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute, formerly the Northwestern Center for Clinical Research (NCCR), was established in 1997. NUCATS provides support services for education and career development, collaboration resources, and community-engaged research. Located on the Chicago campus and part of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, NUCATS serves clinical research professionals at Northwestern University and affiliate institutions.

The Regulatory Affairs and Financial Services departments work as liaisons among the administrative offices of the University, principal investigators, and sponsors, assuring timely approval of project submissions and budgets. The Clinical Operations team includes certified nurse coordinators who conduct studies in outpatient clinics or hospitals on a short- or long-term basis. The education and training programs, available to interested individuals throughout the nation, are aimed at ensuring compliance and quality in clinical research.

For more information, see Web site:

Office of Accounting Services for Research and Sponsored Programs
The Office of Accounting Services for Research and Sponsored Programs (ASRSP) provides financial administration to sponsored research grants and contracts, in compliance with both University and sponsor regulations. The staff of ASRSP performs functions pertinent to financial reporting, invoicing, collecting revenue, coordinating audits and processing transactions. Web site:

Office for the Protection of Research Subjects
Continued advancement in scientific and medical knowledge requires the use of both humans and animals as research subjects. The Office for the Protection of Research Subjects (OPRS) assists investigators in fulfilling their obligation to plan and conduct experiments using human or animal subjects in accord with the highest scientific, humane, and ethical principles and in conformity with all laws, regulations, and rules governing research subjects.

OPRS facilitates the work of the institutional oversight committees - five Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and the Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) - and serves as a liaison between investigators and the federal government, interpreting the guidelines and regulations that govern research involving human or animal subjects.

The role of IRBs is to ensure that human subjects used in any research projects are protected against undue risk and give informed consent to the research, as well as to ensure that research subjects' safety, rights, privileges, and privacy are protected. The role of ACUC is to ensure that animal subjects are used and cared for in ways judged to be scientifically, technically, and humanely appropriate. Web site:

Office for Research Safety
The mission of the Office for Research Safety (ORS) is twofold. First and foremost, ORS fosters safety awareness and assists faculty, staff, and students in achieving a safe workplace in which to pursue research, teaching, and public service. Second, ORS educates the University community regarding compliance with regulations related to health, safety, and protection of the environment. In carrying out this mission, ORS facilitates protection of University and individual interests against loss from accident, civil or criminal penalties, and litigation. Web site:

Office for Sponsored Research
The mission of the Office for Sponsored Research (OSR) is to facilitate research at Northwestern by efficiently and effectively identifying funding sources, assisting in proposal development, reviewing and endorsing proposals, negotiating agreements, accepting and appropriating awards, interpreting guidelines and promoting compliance with agency and University policies. Members of the OSR staff serve as liaisons between the University and external funding agencies, and they are available to provide service to investigators and administrators on both the Evanston and Chicago campuses. Web site:

Technology Transfer Program
The mission of the Technology Transfer Program (TTP) is to facilitate transfer of the University's innovative technologies for public use and benefit through licensing and other commercial agreements. The program supports and assists with the formation of spin-off companies, while adhering to basic academic principles; aids faculty, staff, and students in matters relating to the protection and marketing of their intellectual property; and provides an additional source of unrestricted income to support research and education at Northwestern University. TTP is responsible for implementing the Northwestern University Patent and Invention Policy and for the overall management of intellectual properties. Web site: