Research

Biostatistics Laboratory

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The Biostatistics Laboratory (located within the Department of Public Health Sciences) consists of a group of statisticians, data scientists, and research professional whose primary focus is on applied and collaborative work. Our members have a broad range of experience and interests, and conduct methodological work in addition to working with researchers throughout the University. We also participate in training and mentoring young investigators (e.g., advising on K Awards, attending journal clubs, etc.). BL members serve on various committees and participate in the academic life of the University.

Members of the BL advise and collaborate with investigators on study design (including sample size and power calculations, protocol development and the preparation of grant and contract proposals), study execution (including randomization, data monitoring, and oversight of data management and other study procedures), data analysis and interpretation, and manuscript preparation. BL members are also available for shorter consultations, such as making recommendations about statistical techniques or software, providing guidance and helping investigators avoid common pitfalls when performing their own analyses, and discussing ideas for future studies or analyses.

Investigators wishing to involve the BL in a project are encouraged to schedule an appointment during the initial phase of study/proposal planning, since statistical input is often most critical at this stage to avoid mistakes that are difficult (if not impossible) to correct later on. Investigators who have not worked with a statistician before are often surprised at the amount of input and value we can provide early in the process of developing a proposal or planning a study.

To ensure a clear understanding of the needs, expectations, and available resources, the Principal Investigator or Project Director must attend an initial meeting to discuss pertinent information with the statistician. At this meeting, the full scope of the project will be discussed to determine the need for further collaboration. An estimated charge (either as an hourly rate or percentage of effort) will be prepared according to the needs throughout the various phases of the project and submitted for administrative and funding approval. The BL also receives funding from two Core grants (Cancer Center Support Grant and CTSA award) that provides a limited degree of funding for collaboration on cancer-related and translational studies. The Director of the BL will determine whether your study falls within either of those categories. 

 

Pilot Study Design and Planning

Pilot studies are an important part of clinical, translational research because they can lead to refinement of procedures and hypotheses and can generate preliminary data prior to undertaking a larger study. As with all other aspects of research, good study design and planning is essential for a pilot study. The following links detail issues to consider when designing these studies:  a pilot study checklist and slides from a presentation on pilot studies.

The Biostatistics Clinic has been established by the Department of Public Health Sciences to provide free, short-term statistical consultation. This might include discussion about study design, simple sample size calculations, advice about the appropriateness of statistical analyses already conducted, or basic data analysis. Staffed by members of the Biostatistics Laboratory, the Clinic is held once a week with one-hour time slots available.

To schedule an appointment for the Biostatistics Clinic please go to https://biotime.uchicago.edu/Clinic.aspx.

The clinical is suitable only for short-term consultations. To initiate collaboration or request biostatistical support for all other projects please go to https://biotime.uchicago.edu/RequestSupport.aspx and fill out the form. This will generate an e-mail to the Biostatistics Laboratory Director, and you will be contacted by the statistician assigned to the project.

Location:  The Biostatistics Laboratory is located in the Medical Center at the north end of the 3rd floor of the Mothers Aid Research Pavilion (MARP). The R-corridor 3rd floor can be accessed from Goldblatt 2nd floor by the staircase at the west end of the corridor near the entrance to the Dept. Ob/Gyn suite.

 

Grant and Budget Preparation

Per Divisional policy, written pre-approval must be obtained from the DHS Chairman or Biostatistics Lab Director before including a department/lab member on a proposal or grant submission.

When a biostatistician is named on a grant and a percentage of effort is listed in the personnel category, please budget as a line item a Biostatistical Support Fee, which is currently $145.00 per 1% of effort annually. This fee supports the resources the biostatistician will require for performing research work such as the cost of photocopying/faxing, paper for printing, office and computer supplies, software licenses, and telephone charges.

For example, if a biostatistician was named in a grant at 10% effort, the current year and support fee would be calculated as follows:

$145 x 10 = $1,450 annually

Department Grant Administrators:  To facilitate obtaining departmental concurrence and/or other grant proposal related items for a member of Public Health Sciences, please email our Department's grants administrator grants@health.bsd.uchicago.edu

Consulting Fee Schedule

Percentage of effort on grant or contract (may not be less than 5% annually):
Actual percentage of salary and fringe costs as a personnel expense, plus $145.00 for every 1% effort as a Biostatistical Support Fee (to cover project-related non-personnel expenses).

Collaboration effort charged on an hourly basis.

First two hours of collaboration:
No charge.

Subsequent collaborative effort:
Billed as an hourly rate covering both personnel and non-personnel costs:  $95.00/hr

External collaborative effort:
Billed at twice the hourly rate.

Grant preparation collaboration:
No charge when appropriate biostatistician's effort is included in the submitted project budget.

When calculating salaries for future years, use 3% increases per year.