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Getting Started: A Guide to Doing Research at Rush

Meeting the requirements for conducting research at Rush University involves a broad range of steps, policies, guidelines and offices. But you don’t have to navigate the process alone. We’re here with staff support and training to help you every step of the way.

Step 1: Develop your idea

Begin by envisioning and framing the parameters of your project. Ask yourself the following: 

  • How long will your project take? Do you have a deadline in mind? 
  • What materials, resources and facilities will you need to do your work? 
  • Will you need a team? If so, how many people and in what roles? 
  • What do you see as the ultimate goal of your project? 

Step 2: Complete compliance and training prerequisites

You and everyone on your research team must meet all compliance prerequisites and complete all mandatory trainings that apply to your research area before launching your project. Compliance prerequisites make sure that your study meets best research practices and the highest ethical standards. Training ensures that you and your team understand the necessary procedures for your project. Review the training requirements for each compliance area to find out what your team needs to learn. Rush University also requires core training through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program in order to get access to the Rush Research Portal. 

The following are the compliance areas:

Step 3: Subscribe to research newsletters and announcements

Stay connected and register for our research distribution list to ensure that you receive important research updates and communications. Attend monthly research town halls to hear about the latest research news and to stay current on changes in policies or procedures. (If you miss a town hall, you can find recordings here. Research events can be found in the Rush research calendar.) 

Step 4: Find funding and team members

To pursue your research idea, you will need money and possibly collaborators. In addition to subscribing to research announcements, which will include the latest funding opportunities, here are a few more ways you can identify funding sources and start building your team: 

Step 5: Prepare your proposal

Once you have identified a funding opportunity for your project, you are ready to prepare your proposal and pull together the necessary documents. Depending on the funding source and application requirements, you may need to provide institutional information, such as lists of authorizing officials and organizational codes or financial data.

The Pre-Award Grant Submission Playbook is a guide for navigating the pre-award process for federal grant applications through Sponsored Programs Administration at Rush. This document was created in direct collaboration with process owners and key stakeholders amongst several departments as part of a Pre-Award Standard Work Event. It will be updated and augmented as necessary.

Step 6: Route and submit your proposal

The proposal routing and submission process depends on whether you are applying for internal or external funding. In either case, you will begin by entering your proposal into the Rush Research Portal. You also will need to complete applicable conflict of interest forms and enter your proposal into the sponsor’s system. Rush University’s Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) can help with questions on this step. Finally, you will need to request a SPA budget consultation and then submit your final proposal for approval through the Rush research portal.  

Step 7: Prepare for your award

When awards sponsors begin making funding decisions, they may send a request to the applicant organization for additional needed materials, often referred to as “JIT,” which stands for “Just In Time.” Below is a list of commonly requested items for the JIT step: 

  • Other support for all senior/key personnel on the application, including the PD/PI(s) 
  • Evidence of current Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval when applicable 
  • Evidence of human subject research training for all senior/key personnel if applicable 
  • Current Facility & Administrative (F&A) rate agreement for the applicant organization and any sub-award sites 

At this time, you also should verify that all senior/key personnel on the project have completed their Project-Specific Conflict of Interest disclosure under the master project in the Rush research portal. 

Step 8: Set up your award

Once we receive your funding and have the notice of award, Rush Fund Accounting will set up your activity in the LINK system. You should work with your department and/or your research administrator to establish labor distributions for you and your team, as well as for sub-awards and subcontracts, if necessary. 

Step 9: Conduct your research and manage expenses

Your research relies on careful management of your budget and expenditures. Your research administrator can provide guidance on expenses or projections as necessary. You may be required to submit annual progress reports and/or financial statements.  

After your project is complete, you will provide a final progress report and a final financial statement, detailing how you spent the funds in your account and reporting any residual balances. Fund Accounting will then help you prepare a final financial report and submit it to the funding agency. You also will need to provide information about any patents or inventions created in the course of your research, along with any other necessary information about your study.  

Step 10: Share your results

There are many ways to share the results of your research, and it’s important to not only know your options, but how to present them. Here are some considerations:  

  • Know what's required: Depending on the type of research, sharing results may require a Data Use Agreement or other contractual agreement. If you conducted a clinical trial subject to the requirements of Section 801 of the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA 801), information about the results must be reported to
  • Alert the media: If you have a significant publication coming out or an invention or discovery to announce, notify the Rush Media Relations team. They can help you share your achievement with the right audiences.  
  • Understand intellectual property rights: Before publishing, licensing or commercializing your idea, read the University’s intellectual property policies to understand how your work will be credited, patented and copyrighted. 
  • Commercialize your research: Commercialization brings your research to the attention of companies and investors with the resources to bring it to market. If you are interested in licensing or commercializing your research, start by contacting a technology manager
  • Start a company: You may choose to work with our commercialization experts to start a company based on your new idea or invention. Rush has helped to launch a number of successful startups, and our technology managers will work with you to make the best choices for your discovery.