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Research Data Services

Research Computing Services provides a range of data science, programming, and visualization services to help you work with research data more effectively and efficiently.  We combine specialized technical skills with research experience to enable your innovative research.

Consult Request Quick Link


Consultants are available to help Northwestern researchers of all levels (undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, staff) from all schools and fields with a wide range of data challenges:

Consultations provide no-cost, short-term support to answer questions, help you get started, direct you to the right resources, or tackle small tasks.  For larger projects, see Research Project Support services below.

Consultation Request Examples

Do you find yourself asking questions such as:

We can help with these questions and more. Not sure what help you need?  Does your need fall outside the topics listed above?  We can help you define the problem and find the right resources.  

Get help through a scheduled appointment/email or via our drop-in hours.

Data Drop-in Hours

Virtual drop-in hours are available Tuesday afternoons, 3-4pm, from October 6th through November 17th.

Drop in to talk to a data science consultant or GIS specialist. No need to request a consultation ahead of time. Just join our drop-in Zoom room (sign in to Zoom with your Northwestern account). We'll ask you to fill in our consult form and connect you with someone to answer your questions.

This service is provided in cooperation with Northwestern Libraries. Drop-in hours are not held during university breaks or exam weeks.

Join Drop-in Hour

Schedule a Consultation

Consultation services are provided to students, postdocs, faculty, and staff to support research only. There is no cost for this service.  Assistance with coursework or commercial endeavors is not available.

Ready to get started?  After you tell us a little about what you need help with, we'll follow-up by email to get more details or schedule a video/phone call.

Request a Consultation


Bring Your Own Data (BYOD) Working Groups

Do you have data waiting to be collected, cleaned, analyzed, or visualized? BYOD Working Groups provide structure, guidance, and accountability to help you make progress on data components of your research project over a two month period.  Groups are formed quarterly.

The program includes:

Sample projects could include text analysis, webscraping, data mining, data cleaning, machine learning, bioinformatics, constructing a computational pipeline, data visualization, database design, app design, and more. When selecting participants, we will give preference to projects that are well-defined and participants who either already have most of the skills needed to complete the project or who are motivated to learn and use new skills quickly.

For Fall 2020, all meetings will be held remotely. Preliminary meetings to review project plans with a group leader will begin in late September, with weekly group meetings in October and November. For Fall 2020, BYOD is open to all Northwestern graduate students, postdocs, staff, and faculty.

To apply, complete this form. You will need to provide a summary of the data project you plan to work on during the summer. Deadline to apply for fall is Wednesday, September 16. Spots are limited, and we may not be able to accommodate everyone who is interested.


Research Project Support

Research Computing Services staff may also be available to support longer-term projects for faculty where specialized data analysis, visualization, or software development skills could enhance a project or are required for its success.  Longer engagements often require funding to support, but there's never a cost for initial consultations and planning conversations.  It helps us to hear about projects where such skills are required, even if funding is not available.  We can support unfunded projects depending on our availability, and we can help you apply for funding to support your project.  Learning more about your research allows us to plan future services that will best serve the needs of the research community.

Examples of Our Past Work

Support is not limited to these examples.  We are always excited to be challenged with new projects!

Learn More

Interested in talking about support for a longer project?  Request a consultation and let us know you'd like to talk about support for a research project.


Workshops and Training

Helping you learn new skills is a big part of what we do!  We offer workshops throughout the year, as well as online resources.  We also partner with university organizations, groups, and departments to offer customized workshops or training for researchers.  Looking to organize an event?  Contact us to find out more.


Last Updated: 18 September 2020

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