Quick Guide to Research


The Office of the Executive Vice President for Research has overall responsibility for the University’s research enterprise. It oversees most of the operations described in this brochure and is responsible for establishing and maintaining University-wide policies relating to research. The Office also assists investigators seeking research funding, encourages interdisciplinary research, provides seed money for early-stage investigations, and generally helps provide the intellectual and physical environment to maintain a high quality of research and maximize productivity.
Phone: (212) 854-1656


The Office of Research Administration is comprised of Sponsored Projects Administration and the Clinical Trials Office. 

Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA)
Sponsored Projects Administration is the University’s primary support office for sponsored research grants and contracts. SPA provides assistance in proposal review and submission, award acceptance, account setup, subcontract issuance, sponsor communications and non-financial award closeout. SPA is responsible for assuring compliance with regulatory and other requirements that govern the grant application process and for assisting with the non-financial requirements that govern awards. Each department or center is served by a dedicated project officer for the pre-award process and a financial analyst for account setups and other post-award matters.
CUMC: (212) 305-4191 / MS: (212) 854-6851

Clinical Trials Office (CTO)
The mission of the Clinical Trials Office is to facilitate and enhance the timely execution of quality clinical research at CUMC by providing support services to investigators in connection with federal and foundation grants, industry-supported clinical trials, and internally developed investigator-initiated trials. The CTO supports the effective, efficient and reliable evaluation of new pharmaceuticals and medical devices in collaboration with sponsor organizations. Services include: expediting study placement through trial feasibility analysis; facilitating IRB and other regulatory services; comprehensive study budget preparation and contract negotiation; assistance with recruitment efforts; and providing training initiatives to ensure expert study coordination. CTO training and education programs provide investigators and research staff with the relevant knowledge and skills needed to conduct compliant and efficient clinical trials.
Phone: (212) 305-3360


The Office of Research Compliance and Training helps ensure that Columbia faculty and staff are in compliance with the complex web of regulatory requirements that govern research. RCT collaborates with other offices to foster an integrated research compliance program. RCT administers the University’s Conflict of Interest review process for research, serves as a resource for international research compliance issues, and administers Columbia’s Standing Committee on the Conduct of Research, which addresses issues of research misconduct. RCT works to integrate compliance education across the University, and to develop new educational programming that promotes understanding of compliance issues throughout the research enterprise.
Email: research-compliance@columbia.edu
Phone: (212) 851-2897


Columbia University’s Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) are the primary components of the University’s Human Research Protection Program (HRPP). The purpose of the HRPP and IRBs is to ensure that research involving human subjects, including behavioral research (e.g., surveys) and biomedical investigations (e.g., clinical trials), is conducted ethically and in a manner that promotes compliance with all applicable ethical and regulatory requirements. The IRBs are comprised of affiliated and unaffiliated, scientific and nonscientific, members, and are administered centrally, with offices on the Morningside and CUMC campuses. All human subjects research conducted by Columbia faculty, staff and students must be submitted in the Rascal electronic system for review.  Approval is required before research procedures may commence.

The IRB Office offers a number of educational and training opportunities, including: IRB 101, a comprehensive introductory course that provides background on the regulations that govern human subjects research and offers tips on drafting consent forms and other IRB requirements; Monthly IRB Investigator Meetings; Rascal training; an annual educational conferences; and web-based training.
CUMC: (212) 305-5883
MS: (212) 851-7040


Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee is a federally mandated entity responsible for the assessment and oversight of the institution’s animal care and use program and facilities.  Committee members are appointed by the Institutional Official (IO) and are charged with ensuring the program’s full compliance with all applicable federal and state regulations governing the use of laboratory animals in research.  Projects proposing the use of laboratory animals, whether domestic or abroad, and regardless of funding source, must be approved by the IACUC before any work may begin.
Phone: (212) 305-2404

Institute of Comparative Medicine (ICM)
The mission of the Institute of Comparative Medicine is to ensure the humane care of animals used in approved research and to support medical research teams working to develop treatments for life-threatening conditions. All animals used in research must be ordered through, and managed and cared for by the ICM. The ICM has certified veterinary specialists who direct the care and manage the health and welfare of research animals at Columbia. The ICM conducts training courses in animal care and handling for research personnel.
Phone: (212) 305-3837


Environmental Health & Safety provides a broad range of services to promote the health and safety of all University personnel, the community, and the environment. Through cooperative relationships, EH&S actively engages the University community to ensure a safe work environment and compliance with University policies and applicable regulations. EH&S provides mandatory safety training to personnel conducting laboratory research using potentially infectious materials, hazardous chemicals, recombinant DNA, and/or radioactive materials. Columbia’s Institutional Biosafety Committee must approve the use of recombinant DNA, and Columbia’s Radiation Safety Committee must approve the use of radioactive materials.
CUMC: (212) 305-6780 / MS: (212) 854-8749


Columbia University’s technology transfer organization, Columbia Technology Ventures, serves as a bridge between Columbia’s researchers and the business community. CTV’s core objective is to facilitate the transfer of inventions from academic research to outside organizations for the benefit of society on a local, national and global basis. As such, CTV’s primary mission is to identify, evaluate, protect, and license or spin out Columbia’s intellectual property. If Columbia researchers believe that they may have made an invention with commercial potential, they are encouraged to reach out to CTV as soon as possible.
Email: techventures@columbia.edu.
CUMC: (212) 305-5198 / MS: (212) 854-8444


The Office of Research Initiatives works across disciplines, schools and campuses to foster interdisciplinary research collaboration, and supports efforts to secure funding for such collaborations. RI identifies opportunities and strategies for enhancing Columbia’s research presence and its status as a prominent research institution. It also administers Columbia’s internal review and nomination processes for those funding opportunities that limit the number of proposals that any one institution is permitted to submit, and works to improve Columbia’s success rate in securing such awards. It also administers the Research Initiatives for Science & Engineering or RISE seed fund.
Phone: (212) 854-7836


The mission of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is to enhance the educational and training experiences of the University’s postdoctoral appointees. OPA acts as an advocate for postdocs through the provision of administrative support and the development of communication among postdocs, faculty and administrators. OPA also serves as an information clearinghouse and works to promote consistency in all postdoc-related University policies.
CUMC: (212) 305-4073 / MS: (212) 854-0462


Sponsored Projects Finance is responsible for the financial administration and reporting of all sponsored research awards, and for ensuring compliance with the regulatory and other requirements that govern the financial management of those awards, including effort reporting and financial audits. Each department or center is served by a dedicated project manager.
Phone: (212) 854-4684