Collaborate with Biostatisticians.

Faculty in the Department of Biostatistics actively collaborate on numerous projects in a wide range of research areas. The following provides guidelines and information useful to investigators who wish to collaborate with Biostatistics faculty or obtain statistical support on projects.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I find a biostatistics faculty member to collaborate on my grant?

Requests for statistical collaboration can be sent to the department chair, Debbie Cheng. Every effort will be made to identify a collaborator in the department.

How long in advance of my grant deadline should I send a request for statistical collaboration?

Finding a collaborator and the collaborative process are more successful if the department is contacted during the initial planning phases of a project or grant and far in advance of any deadlines. We request at least 6 weeks’ advance notice prior to any deadline, if possible. The earlier you make the request, the more likely that a biostatistician will be able to collaborate on the grant submission.

Can I drop by the department to talk to a biostatistician?

While faculty try to be generous with their time, there is no time or salary support allocated for “drop-in” consulting or assisting with grant preparation. It’s best to make an appointment with a biostatistician far in advance of any deadlines.

Do I need to pay a faculty member for grant development?

Faculty collaborate on most grants in the development phase free of charge, with the understanding that they will be written into the grant for salary support. If the grant will not include salary support for the biostatistician, then the time and effort for grant development will be charged at an hourly rate (see below). Collaboration in the development of large grants (Program project grants, SPORE grants, etc.) is very time consuming and it is expected that either some salary support or analytic support will be covered during the planning phase and proposal writing.

What percent effort is appropriate for a biostatistician faculty member and what will it cost?

Percent effort on grants will vary depending on the role and responsibilities of the biostatistician. Generally biostatisticians in our department will require between 10 to 25% effort depending on the scope of the statistical collaboration. For grants with complex data collection or a large volume of data, it might be appropriate to include time for data management and a statistical analyst in addition to a percent effort for a Faculty member. A mutually agreed upon funding level should be discussed prior to collaboration.

As a reference point, assuming 10% effort for one year for an “average” associate professor would result in the following cost: $18,500 in direct salary support for a grant submitted through the BUMC grants office (OSP). Grants submitted through the BMC grants office will require a BU sub-contract that will include indirect cost as well as salary.

Do I need to include the biostatistician on resulting publications?

Regardless of funding, biostatisticians are generally included as co-authors on publications if they have made substantive contributions to the research (e.g. study design, statistical analyses, interpretation of results, etc.).

How can I decide if I need to include a faculty-level biostatistician on my grant?

Research projects generally benefit from biostatistics input and collaboration through the entire life of the project. Some grants, however, may not include enough financial support to be able to include a faculty member. In this situation, there are other resources available for grant development. Please see below.

What resources are available for biostatistics analysis and support?

For grant development where including a faculty biostatistician is not feasible, for other biostatistics support, or projects that need data management support, the following resources are available:

Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI)

The CTSI’s Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Research Design (BERD) program provides researchers with comprehensive support in designing and carrying out research at the design, implementation and analysis stages. As biostatistics assistance ranks among the top requests for CTSA services, BERD has generated a portfolio of solutions for the most common needs to ensure participation in the earliest stages of study development.

BERD faculty and staff collaborate and consult with research teams. BERD offers free biostatistics and data management drop-in sessions on both the Medical and Charles River Campuses. For those investigators who cannot attend a drop-in, we can schedule a separate meeting through our request for consultations. If services requested go beyond what can be provided through CTSI consulting, we offer fee-for-services, as well as collaboration on grants and funded projects.

The Biostatistics and Epidemiology Data Analytics Center (BEDAC)

The Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) Biostatistics and Epidemiology Data Analytics Center (BEDAC) provides research services to BU investigators, as well as government, foundation, and industry partners. The BEDAC core competencies and key responsibilities are as follows: Project Management, Regulatory and Compliance, Data Management, Data Sciences and Geospatial Technologies.

The BEDAC’s focus on research integrity, through implementation of a quality management framework, ensures compliance and conformance with requirements in order to meet research objectives. The BEDAC provides expertise during all phases of the project life cycle and either leads or serves in a supportive role as necessitated by the scope of work.

The BEDAC is a service center for BU and proposed costs incurred are based on approved hourly rates as set forth by the University. For more information, please contact