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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.

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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.  For example:

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.

Note that while we assist researchers with statistical programs and languages, assistance with or advice on choosing, evaluating, and interpreting statistical models or tests is limited; such requests are often outside the expertise of our consultants.  The Biostatistics Collaboration Center is an excellent resource for researchers affiliated with the Feinberg School of Medicine.  Other researchers may request a consult for statistics questions; we will evaluate our ability to help on a request by request basis.

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

Data Drop-in Hours

Due to the pandemic, we are not currently holding drop-in hours.  Please schedule a consultation instead.

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 Winter 2021, all meetings will be held remotely. Preliminary meetings to review project plans with a group leader will be held in mid-January, with weekly group meetings running the week of January 25th through the week of March 15th. BYOD is open to all Northwestern graduate students, postdocs, staff, and faculty working on research projects.

To apply, complete this form. You will need to provide a short summary of the data project you plan to work on during the quarter. Deadline to apply for Winter 2021 is Monday, January 11, 2021. 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: 27 January 2021

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