Getting Started in Research - Minneapolis VA Health Care System
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Getting Started in Research

 


New to Research

Research Employees

Planning a Study

Conducting a Study

New to Research

Welcome to Minneapolis VA Research Services. This page will help new research employees and WOC appointees to find the basic requirements you will need to get started in VA research.

The Contacts page has a list of important contacts to help assist you with all stages of VA research.

iRIS Protocol Management System

The Minneapolis VA uses an electronic protocol management for new research protocols. If you will be added to a project, you need to create an account in iRIS by following the account request instructions.

Training Requirements

All VA researchers including WOCs, have mandatory training requirements; however, depending on your role in VA Research, you will likely have additional training requirements. Read more about Training Requirements.

Scope of Practice Document

Each member of the research team, including clinicians with a functional statement/privileges, must have a research scope of practice statement listing what tasks each person on the research team is allowed to do. The scope of practice is approved by the individual's PI or immediate supervisor and the ACOS/R. Each individual is only required to have one scope of practice. It is the responsibility of the individual and his/her immediate supervisor or PI(s) to update his/her scope of practice any time duties are added or removed.

The scope of practice form can be found here and can be submitted to the Research Office after the employee and supervisor sign the form.

Computer Access

Research employees, research WOCs, and research volunteers are granted the level of access requested by their supervisor. Supervisors must make written requests to the Research ADPACS before any accounts will be created, or modified. To maintain access, employees are required to complete VA Privacy and Information Security Awareness and Rules of Behavior in TMS annually.

WOCs who will be at the VA for more than 180 days will be required to complete a background check before they will be granted access to the VA information systems.

PIV (ID) Card

New employees and WOCs will complete the Research PIV Badge Request Form in the Research Office and will be advised on when to report to the PIV Office to have their biometrics captured.

You are required to have and display a VA issued identification card when on VA property. PIV cards are the property of the VA and must be returned to the PIV Office when leaving the VA.

In addition to acting as a form of identification, your PIV card will also allow you to send and receive encrypted email messages and digitally sign documents.

Instructions to make your digital certificates available are here.

Keys and Secure Research Wing Access

Your supervisor must request the Research Office to issue keys to new employees. Keys must be returned to the Research Office before you leave the VA.

Access to the Research Wings is given on an as needed basis and is regulated by your PIV card. Your supervisor must send a written request to the Research Office and complete the Training Requirements before access will be granted.

Research Employees

Training Requirements

All VA researchers have annual, mandatory training requirements, which are assigned in TMS. However, depending on your role in VA Research, you will likely have additional training requirements through the CITI Program. Read more about Training Requirements.

Scope of Practice Document

Each member of the research team, including clinicians with a clinical scope of practice, must have a research scope of practice statement listing what tasks each person on the research team is allowed to do. The scope of practice is approved by the individual's PI or immediate supervisor and the ACOS/R.  Each individual is only required to have one scope of practice. It is the responsibility of the individual and his/her immediate supervisor or PI(s) to update his/her scope of practice any time duties are added or removed.

The scope of practice form can be found here and can be submitted to the Research Office after the employee and supervisor sign the form.

Leave Policies and Procedures

VA Employees are required get their supervisor's approval before taking leave or planned sick time and to enter their leave and planned sick leave into VATAS. WOCs and Contractors should contact their outside employer to determine what is required by their leave policy.

Official Travel

Travel Algorithm

Travel System Registration: Contact Employee Travel (Room 4G-101)

Planning a Study

Funding Opportunities

Information for VA RFAs and Program Announcements are located on the VA ORD Intranet site at: http://vaww.research.va.gov/funding/rfa.cfm (copy and paste this link into your browser).

Information for DOD RFPs can be found on Grants.gov

Information for NIH RFPs can be found on the NIH website.

Submitting a Grant Application

VA Grants

VA research funds may only be awarded if the Principal Investigator (PI) and any Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) have employment status and activities that demonstrate a primary professional commitment to VA. Contact the Research Office for additional guidance

You can also review the VA Grant Flowchart for a graphical representation of the VA grant process.
NIH Grants

NIH Grants are submitted and administered via your affiliated department at the University of Minnesota. For specific guidance, you should contact your department.

Foundation, Industry, or DoD Grants

Funding from sources other than VA and NIH should be administered through the Center for Veterans Research & Education.

Hiring Staff

Depending on your grant funding source, you can hire staff via several methods.

Budgets

Contact the Research Budget Analyst in the Research Office for important assistance in managing your budget before and after awarded a VA grant.

Federal Purchasing Regulations

Conducting a Study

Study Approval Process

All research studies (including nonfunded projects and systematic reviews) must be submitted in iRIS and approved by the Research & Development Committee subcommittees before any research is conducted. The 3 subcommittees are:

Projects that do not involve safety concerns, animals, or are exempt from IRB review might require a review by the Research & Development Committee only. All projects are required to be reviewed annually by the initial committee(s) unless a protocol amendment removes the portion of the protocol that prompted that committee's review.

All projects must be approved by the Research & Development Committee before the Authorization to Conduct Research (ACR) can be issued to the investigator.

Click on the image below for the research approval process flowchart.

Study Approval Process

Conflict of Interest

Each Investigator of a project requiring IRB approval is required to complete a Research Financial Conflict of Interest Statement annually. If an Investigator answer YES to the Conflict of Interest form, the Investigator also needs to complete a Supplement to the Financial Conflict of interest form.

Recruitment of VA patients for non-VA projects

Recruiting documents, flyers, and advertisements for non-VA research must be reviewed and approved prior to being posted or distributed in any form within or on the premises of a VA facility. Posting or distributing may include announcing, distributing, publishing, or advertising the study either electronically, by hard copy, or other means to anyone, including Veterans, clinicians, or other staff.

To have your project reviewed, please fill out and submit the Non-VA Research Recruitment Material Request Form.

Publications and Presentations

VA Researchers who publish or present on their projects are required by VA Handbook 1200.19 to acknowledge VA support for their work. The Office of Research & Development created a checklist to assist researchers in citing VA support appropriately.

The Research Office will upload your publication announcement to ORD's PubTracker on your behalf if you send the required information to the Research Office or submit the Publication Documentation form in iRIS. Note: there are additional reporting requirements for CCDOR researchers, so you must submit the required information to the local CCDOR administrators.

  • REQUIRED: Copy of the accepted manuscript or presentation abstract (word or PDF)
  • Name of journal publishing the article or name of conference/meeting for presentation or media outlet
  • Anticipated date of publication or date of conference/meeting
  • Funding Source including project name and project number
  • Tell us if you anticipate any press or publicity about the article or presentation. If there is a press release, attach it.

Securing and Archiving Data

Research Project Staff are responsible for securing and maintaining records for active projects. Once a project is closed, Research Staff can turnover paper and electronic records for archiving. Please note that once a project closes, the Research Team is not allowed to retained copies of the records containing PHI/II. When preparing for a new study, or closing an existing one, the Research Coordinator or PI should review the Instructions for Securing and Archiving Research Data to ensure compliance with VA rules.