Consulting and Collaborative Research
FAQs about Pre-Award Study Design & Development
FAQs about Statistical Consulting
The Research Design Center/Biostatistics Research Center (RDC/BRC) is a joint program between Tufts CTSI and the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies (ICRHPS). Statisticians and Epidemiologists in the RDC/BRC collaborate with clinical, health services, and basic science researchers throughout Tufts University and Tufts Medical Center and its affiliates. We seek to promote innovation and excellence across the spectrum of translational and patient-oriented research by working with our collaborators to select the optimal study design and plan and perform the most suitable analysis for the aims of each study. Pre-award proposal development services are available at no charge for Tufts CTSI partners and can be requested here.
The RDC/BRC has a broad range of expertise in both standard and cutting-edge methods, as well as a history of developing and evaluating new methodology. We also provide training, education and study design support. View a table of our services.
The RDC’s staff collaborates with investigators on the development of a rigorous design to address the proposed research questions. We also provide needed guidance in all aspects of study development:
- Framing of the research questions
- Selection of an appropriate study design
- Development of study logistical plans
- Selection of the proper statistical analyses appropriate to the research aims
- Creation of statistical analysis plans
- Calculation of sample size and/or power
- Evaluation of threats to study validity
- Assistance with human protection issues
- Creation of data capture and storage procedures
The RDC/BRC serves as an academic center for biostatistics and epidemiology throughout the medical campus. Through weekly meetings and seminars, the center provides a forum for the discussion of study design and analysis topics, including new methods. Additionally, RDC/BRC members build their skills via participation and continuing education at local and national meetings.
Consulting and Collaborative Research
The RDC/BRC staff provides study design and statistical support for many different areas of clinical research including but not limited to, cardiology, emergency medicine, infectious disease, nephrology, nutrition, pediatrics, radiation/oncology, and rheumatology. Our projects span the spectrum of translational science, ranging from pre-clinical animal studies to clinical research, health services research, quality improvement programs, and community-based research.
Many of the consulting and collaborative projects RDC/BRC staff members work on result in the development of grants and/or publications in peer review journals. Our statisticians and epidemiologists work with investigators typically through one of two mechanisms: (1) funded effort through grants or other institutions or (2) fee-for-service consulting.
To find a statistician for collaboration on a grant or funded project, or to learn about fee-for-service consulting, please fill out and submit our Service Request Form.
RDC/BRC members hold faculty and scientific staff appointments at Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine. They mentor clinical fellows and teach courses in the Sackler Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University.
Our team members also serve nationally as consultants to institutions, foundations, federal agencies, and corporations as well as on grant proposal review panels of the National Institutes of Health and other funding agencies, as members of Data Safety and Monitoring Boards, and as reviewers and editors for a variety of scientific journals.
RDC/BRC members provide design and analysis of diagnostic studies and clinical trials, including non-inferiority trials, and expertise in statistical modeling, including linear and logistic regression, survival analysis, analysis of longitudinal data, and spatial analysis of geographic data. We also provide predictive modeling, competing risks analysis, multi-state models, time series analysis, joint models for longitudinal and survival outcomes, meta-analysis, and analysis of complex survey designs.
Staff Research Interests
Current research interests of the RDC/BRC staff include clinical predictive models, survey design, geographic and spatial analyses, diagnostic tests, treatment variability and the heterogeneity of treatment effect. Other interests include health-related quality of life, research in minority populations and analysis of community data, cognition, nutrition and teaching methods for biostatistics in medical settings. The RDC/BRC staff also provides statistical and computational instruction and mentoring to students in the Clinical and Translational Science (CTS) program within the Tufts University Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.
View our bios and contact information.
FAQs About Pre-Award Study Design & Development
How can the RDC/BRC help me?
- The RDC/BRC helps investigators to develop research grants and protocols. Our team of biostatisticians and epidemiologists can work with you to ensure your grant proposal is as strong and complete as possible.
How much do RDC/BRC services cost?
- If you are a member of the Tufts CTSI community and you are in the process of applying for a grant or submitting a protocol, many RDC/BRC services are paid for by Tufts CTSI and are offered at no cost to you.
What types of services are offered?
Pre-award services are designed to strengthen your grant proposal. These may include:
- Help to develop your specific aims and hypotheses
- Study design
- Power and sample size calculations
- Analysis and randomization plans
- Pilot data analyses for inclusion in grants.
The RDC/BRC can also provide guidance on how to improve grant proposals that were not selected for funding.
What are Drop-in Sessions?
- The RDC/BRC offers free Drop-In Sessions every Wednesday at 8:00am (35 Kneeland 8th floor) where epidemiologists and biostatisticians are available to answer questions. These sessions are similar to office hours you may have experienced as a student.
Who can I contact for more information about support for my project?
- Please fill out an on-line service request form or call Tufts CTSI at 617-636-CTSI (2874)
FAQs About Statistical Consulting
What information will the statistician need before working on my study?
- A brief description of the project is extremely helpful to the statistician. Be prepared to tell the statistician what your study aims and hypotheses are, what analyses you’re looking for, and be sure to describe the study design.
- Sometimes it can be helpful to send your data to the statistician for review when you describe your study, but please make sure they know you will be sending it before you do so.
- Before we can work on your project, we need confirmation that the study has approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB).Verbal confirmation is sufficient.
- Please de-identify all data before you send it to us. We cannot accept data that includes patient identifiers, such as medical record numbers or names, etc.
What format should my data be in?
- Discuss this with your statistician. We often get datasets in MS-EXCEL, or SAS formats, but we can read data that come in many other formats as well.
How long will it take the statistician to do the work and how much will it cost?
- After the statistician understands what type of work you need, he or she will give you an estimate of the number of hours it might take to complete, and when the work might be done. If the actual work-time begins to exceed the estimate, the statistician will contact you for permission to continue on the project. The fee for the project depends both on the number of hours the statistician spends on the project and the type of work needed. Please contact us for our current rates.
If I pay for services, do I need to acknowledge the statistician in my publications?
- Yes. If the statistician has substantially contributed to the project and final manuscript, he or she should be included as a coauthor. Many journals have guidelines about who should and should not be included as an author. Discuss consideration of authorship directly with the statistician you’re working with.