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UMN CTSI Research Toolkit.jpgUniversity of Minnesota investigators and their teams have a simpler way to find the resources they need to conduct research, with the launch of the Research Toolkit on the Clinical and Translational Science Institute's (CTSI) enhanced website.

The new online resource houses research tools, templates, information, and guidance developed by a wide range of sources, from University organizations to federal agencies. The Clinical and Translational Science Institute spearheaded and manages the Research Toolkit, and worked with subject matter experts from across the Academic Health Center to curate content.

"We created the Research Toolkit to give health researchers a simpler way to navigate the University research process, and ultimately advance their discoveries," says Connie Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, who directs CTSI's Biomedical Informatics function and oversees the Research Toolkit. "This supports CTSI's overarching efforts to create an integrated home for clinical and translational research, and help researchers be more successful."

Users can find what they're looking for by navigating the Research Toolkit's chronological study steps, each of which contains information about the various components of that step in the research process:

  • Get started: Background research, clinical data access, finding collaborators, protocol development, and study feasibility
  • Apply for funding: Funding opportunities, grant writing and submissions, and cost estimates
  • Set up study: Budgeting, building your research team, IRB approvals, regulations, and recruiting research subjects
  • Conduct study: Budget management, billing, ethics, and compliance
  • Close out study: Closeout tasks, manuscript development, publishing, promotions, and dissemination

In addition, users can locate resources via the Research Toolkit's search function or by contacting CTSI's Research Navigator at ctsi@umn.edu or 612.625.CTSI (2874).

"As CTSI's Research Navigator, I am committed to connecting investigators and their teams with expertise, services, and resources that can support their research," says Melissa Hansen, one of the key leads of the Research Toolkit initiative. "With the Research Toolkit, they have another option for finding what they need, when they need it."

New enhancements for the CTR Portal have been released that allow study staff to have more direct interaction with individual project records.

New features for updating project records include:

- Adding/inactivating personnel
- Attaching documents
- Adding notes

Additional new features are available for managing project chart strings. This access is limited to individuals with Principle Investigator, Invoice Contact, or Account roles on a project.

- Adding chart strings to the project
- Assigning chart strings to invoice charges
- Using multiple chart strings to pay for a specific service

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact us at ctsi@umn.edu or 612-625-2874.

The University of Minnesota is beginning the process of implementing OnCoreĀ® from Forte Research Systems as a single enterprise Clinical Trials Management System (CTMS). The solution will be University-hosted and will support a broad range of clinical research, from the Clinical and Translational Science Institute research units, to cardiology, oncology, public health, pediatric medicine, and other University health-research programs.


The CTMS addresses a campus-wide need for better support of cancer trials, pharmaceutical clinical trials, device studies, case report studies, multi-center studies, and large-scale epidemiological studies. It is designed to enhance the efficiency and quality of health research at the University of Minnesota by:

  • Reducing the cost of redundant software infrastructures
  • Consistently capturing and tracking protocol, study, administrative, and financial data needed for management of trials
  • Increasing the capability to provide meaningful reports and data regarding the financial status of a study to Principal Investigators
  • Reducing costs to manage clinical research within individual units
  • Reducing multiple isolated, informal environments for managing and tracking study data
  • Improving regulatory compliance


"The CTMS is critical to our continued success as a leader in health research," explains Brian Herman, vice president for research. "Using a single, centrally supported system to manage our clinical research enterprise allows us to achieve new efficiencies, eliminate redundant processes and, ultimately, translate our discoveries into better health, faster. It's a great example of President Kaler's operational excellence initiative in action."

The enterprise CTMS is supported by the CTSI, which is part of the national NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Award program. Biomedical Health Informatics Director Connie Delaney notes, "The CTMS has been a consistent and core need for our research enterprise and in partnership with CTSI, the Office of Biomedical Health Informatics has formed an expert, experienced inter-professional team to create the UMN enterprise CTMS to meet operational excellence objectives, ensure successful implementation and ongoing sustainability." The system will be rolled out in phases, with the Medical School Division of Cardiology, the Masonic Cancer Center, and Pediatric Oncology among the first users. CTSI director Bruce Blazar explained, "Through the Biomedical Health Informatics team, we've been listening closely to faculty and staff about what systems and tools are needed on campus. We've heard overwhelmingly that we need to reduce duplication of effort, provide user-friendly financial and administrative reports, offer better support for meeting regulatory requirements, and reduce overall costs associated with managing clinical research. The CTMS is key to meeting those needs, not just within the Academic Health Center, but for all those conducting and supporting health research across the University."

The implementation team is collecting and posting answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the Biomedical Health Informatics website, and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute's monthly e-newsletter will feature regular updates and announcements about the project.

Questions about CTMS should be directed to Josh Fehrmann, project manager, at jaf@umn.edu.

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and the Biomedical Health Informatics (BMHI) team have jointly appointed Sarah Cooley, MD, MS, to a newly created position, Director of Academic Clinical Research Information. Dr. Cooley, Assistant Professor in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, also serves as Director of Medical Informatics and Services for the Masonic Cancer Center.

In this new role Dr. Cooley will work with CTSI, BMHI, the AHC Information Exchange (AHC-IE), AHC Information Systems, and the research community to develop a high quality and efficient informatics platform. Dr. Cooley will ensure that user requirements are central to all solutions developed by this collaborative team, which aims to create a clear user-centric pathway to access informatics and research analytics support alongside traditional research support services such as nursing, regulatory, and biostatistics. She will also participate with Fairview, University of Minnesota Physicians and AHC-IS on an Epic Optimization effort, and will develop metrics to evaluate the quality and value of informatics systems and tools.

Please contact Dr. Cooley directly at cool0023@umn.edu or 612.625.8474 with questions.

Are you looking for a more efficient way to capture and manage your data? CTSI may be able to help with REDCap (or Research Electronic Data Capture), a secure web application designed exclusively to support data capture for research.

REDCap is available to UMN research teams at no costs, and this tool is fully supported by the Biostatistics Design and Analysis Center (BDAC) at CTSI. The BDAC team offers regular introduction sessions to help you determine if this is the right tool for your study. Contact CTSI for more information or visit the UMN REDCap website learn more.