Define Parameters & Protocols

What is your idea? What data will you need to gather? How will you know when you’ve gathered the right data? Do you need to create protocols for specific governing agencies? Are protocols needed for consistency in gathering or analyzing the data? Do you need help figuring out where to start with your research? UW-Madison Research Guides is a starting point that provides resources for various research topics.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Education (VCRGE) provides the PI Portal, a dashboard and on-ramp for all research administration and compliance.

Governing and Oversight Agencies

Depending on your idea and the data you need to gather, you may need to work with the following resources to ensure compliance with laws or regulations. Different resources address the necessary protocol when conducting research involving human or animal subjects to protect the interests and safety of all parties involved.

The Federal Agency Public Access Compliance Guide provides access to a curated list of Federal Agency Plans and Policies to ensure necessary compliance.

Human and Animal Subjects

Export Controls and Safety

Research Design

The Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) Biostatistics and Research Design Resource (BARD) assists with design of clinical research including sample size and power calculations as well as general methodology.

To obtain real-life feedback on recruitment strategies, consent forms, data collection instruments, increase the diversity of project participants, and more, contact the Wisconsin Network for Research Support (WINRS).

The UW-Madison Libraries Research Guides provide information and references that are intended to help researchers that are new to a subject get started on their research.

Resource Links

Application Review for Research Oversight at Wisconsin (ARROW)
Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative Portal (CITI)
Education and Social/Behavioral Science Institutional Review Board (ED/SBS IRB)
Environment, Health, & Safety: UW (EH&S)
Export Control Program
Federal Agency Public Access Compliance Guide
Federal Select Agent Program
Health Sciences IRBs (HS-IRBs)
ICTR Biostatistics and Research Design Resource (ICTR BARD)
PI Portal
UW-Madison Libraries Research Guides
Wisconsin Network for Research Support (WINRS)

Establish Data Management Plan

A Research Project Data Management Plan (DMP) describes how to collect, format, describe, organize, store, access, attribute, and preserve your data throughout your project. It is a requirement for several federal funding agencies and can also be used to describe data compliance to any relevant rules or guidelines like HIPPA.

A DMP can be of continued value throughout the project to help quickly bring new lab members on board with any project.

RDS and DMPTool

Research Data Services (RDS) offers consultations on writing a data management plan (DMP) necessary for grant applications. DMPs require Principal Investigator (PIs) to describe what data will be generated, how it will be organized and shared during the course of the project, and how it will be made publicly accessible after research is complete. They also offer guidance on how to use DMPTool, which provides templates for the individual DMPs required by most federal grants.

Resources for Accumulating Data

See the resources within the RPRG page Accumulate Data for more information on campus resources for data storage and management.

Resource Links

Research Data Services (RDS)

Plan Computing Environment

What hardware and software are currently available? What Operating System and specialized software is needed? Who needs access and from where?


The Software Overview on this site and Wikipedia’s Software Comparison Charts provide starting points for finding software and training to meet your needs.

If custom software must be created, DoIT Training,, and Software Carpentry are available for various programming languages and environments. Once the first version of your new software is written, Morgridge’s Software Assurance Marketplace (SWAMP) provides a no-cost, high-performance, centralized cloud computing platform to help you regularly test its security.

Compute Systems and Services

Depending on the size and amount of compute tasks you’ll need to carry out, there are many options to choose from, and your project may need more than one.

Personal Workstations (Desktops, Laptops, etc.)

If the typical computation tasks you’ll perform when working with your data will only take minutes to hours to complete, a personal workstation will probably be work for your needs. The DoIT Tech Store can provide desktop/laptop quotes, purchases, support, but your local IT staff may offer specific assistance or preferences.

Large-Scale Computing

Large-scale computing is available for any amount of computing that is too “big” or would take to long on your personal workstation. Depending on the scale of the work you plan to accomplish, there are multiple option on- and off-campus.

If you are unsure sure which type of “large” computing you’ll need, the Advanced Computing Initiative (ACI) and the Center for High Throughput Computing (CHTC) provide Research Computing Facilitators to assist you. They also help connect researchers to CloudLab, an infrastructure for research on the future of cloud computing.

Your local organization may have additional training or support.

DoIT Virtual Servers

The Campus Computing Infrastructure (CCI) is a campus sponsored and governed initiative that will deliver shared, scalable, secure IT infrastructure services to campus partners at UW-Madison.

Center or Departmental Support

When you need to plan, purchase, install, or configure your compute environment including analysis tools, your local department or center IT department can assist you.

Resource Links

Advanced Computing Initiative (ACI)
Campus Active Directory (CAD)
Campus Computing Infrastructure Initiative (CCI)
Campus Technical Issues Group (CTIG)
Discovery Shared Research Equipment (SHARE)
Division of Information Technology (DoIT)
DoIT Software Training for Students (STS)
DoIT Tech Store
Research Computing Facilitators (RCFs)
Software Assurance Marketplace (SWAMP)
Campus Software Library
Wikipedia Software Comparison Charts


Do you need to find new people or groups to collaborate with?  How will everyone in the project collaborate and share information within the group, with the sponsor, or with the public?

Find Collaborators

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) maintains the Wisconsin Discovery Portal (WDP), a database of over 3,000 carefully maintained researcher profiles. This project is an outgrowth of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery project’s goal of facilitating collaborative research.

Share Information

Content Management Systems (CMS)

Many groups use web-based CMSs to easily display data, publications, and general information about the research project/group via web pages. A comparison chart can be found on Wikipedia, a source of many readily available software comparison charts.

DoIT provides WiscWeb, powered by OpenText, to all members of UW-Madison.

Adding the Campus Active Directory to your CMS will allow students, faculty, staff, researchers, departments, and guests to use the NetID login service to access secured content.

UW-Madison Google Apps

UW-Madison provides the opportunity to collaborate with other researchers, faculty members, staff members or students through the following G Suite (formerly Google Apps):

  • Drive (Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, and Forms)
  • Sites (Hosted Websites for Labs or Events)
  • Hangouts
  • Groups
  • Contacts
  • Google+

Marketing and Design

University Marketing has a variety of information sharing services including:

  • Branding
  • Graphic Design and Illustration
  • Web Design and Development
  • Copy writing and editing

University Communications provides a variety of services to portray how UW-Madison is fulfilling its core missions each day. They create news releases, print publications, photos, videos, posts, email, social media, and manage the UW Homepage, On Wisconsin, the Campus News Site, and others. They also maintains a large Campus Photo Library that may be useful for creating posters or other dissemination content.

Wisconsin Public Television Production Services from Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) creates digital media to visualize complex processes and abstract concepts. Services include 3-D modelling and animation, illustration and graphic design, video documentation and scriptwriting to communicate research findings.

Web Conferencing Solutions

Whether you have members of your group outside of campus or an individual group member has a temporary need to telecommute, an effective web conferencing solution can greatly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your group meetings. One of Wikipedia’s Software Comparison Charts details web conferencing software. It references many of the factors you’ll need to determine which solution may work for your group. For example, do you need software that:

  • Works on Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, and/or Mobile Devices?
  • Provides Audio and/or Video at HD/VGA (etc) quality?
  • Has white board, desktop sharing, file sharing, or recording capabilities?

UW-Madison now provides Blackboard Collaborate, customizable, browser-based meeting spaces free of charge to UW-Madison faculty and staff.

Some other popular solutions are:

Email Lists

Email lists help ensure that all members of your group gets the messages they should. UW-Madison faculty, staff, and registered student organizations can use WiscList, is a free email distribution list service available to. Some departments, including DiscoverIT, manage their own email lists for their members.

Network Access for Campus Visitors

Campus departments can now provide a temporary, Guest NetID to visiting scholars, prospective students, seminar attendees, contract employees and others who need short-term access to UW-Madison’s Wireless WiscWorld and VPN (Virtual Private Network).

Resources for Graduate Students

DiscoverPD is a self-assessment tool for graduate students that analyzes areas of professional development. A report provides an analysis of strengths and weaknesses along with suggestions to strengthen abilities in each area.

Resource Links

Blackboard Collaborate
Campus Active Directory (CAD)
Discovery to Product (D2P)
Division of Information Technology (DoIT)
Research Data Services (RDS)
Software Carpentry
University Communications (UC)
University Marketing (UMark)
G Suite (formerly Google Apps)
UW-Madison Libraries Research Guides
Wikipedia Software Comparison Charts
Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF)
Wisconsin Discovery Portal (WDP)
Wisconsin Public Television Production Services (WPT)
WiscWeb CMS

Draft & Submit Proposal

Once you have formulated your project and have a vision for its execution, you will need to apply for grant funding. Your Grant Administrator will help guide you through the process of drafting and submitting a grant proposal, including budget preparation, forms completion, and routing for campus approvals.

Finding Funding

There are many resources and databases to assist you in finding potential funding opportunities.

  • Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) provides links to many of the most commonly-used search engines, including institutional membership to some subscription-based services at Finding Funding.
  • The Grants Information Collection (GIC), located in the Memorial Library, provides direct access to various funding databases. Their mission is to provide access to information essential to successful educational, research, and nonprofit grant-seeking, and by collecting literature in the areas of philanthropy, fundraising, and nonprofit management.

For additional guidance or assistance, consult your grant administrator.

Routing Your Submission

All grant proposals at UW-Madison must be routed for approval from the division and Research & Sponsored Programs. Your grant administrator can guide you through the necessary steps to obtain those approvals and respond to any requests from either office. RSP provides administrative support for sponsored projects, as well as institutional signature for proposals and funding agreements, and maintains the following resources:

  • ECRT: Effort Reporting Tool
  • WISPER: electronic routing form for applications and agreements
  • Cayuse: web-based system for submission of applications via
  • WISDM: Wisconsin Data Mart for PeopleSoft Financials
  • Finding Funding

Overhead costs for each employee type vary due in part to the benefits they receive. These rates are available from RSP and the Office of Human Resources (OHR).

Essential information from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Education (VCRGE) includes:

The VCRGE office also provides the PI Portal, a dashboard and on-ramp for research administration and compliance to navigate many of the resources listed above.

FastLane is an interactive real-time system used to conduct NSF business over the Internet.

Writing Assistance for Students

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Writing Center offers individual help, workshops, and online resources for all students including graduate and professional students. Individual help can be specifically tailored to grant proposals and publications.

Resource Links

CALS Statistical Consulting Facility
Discovery to Product (D2P)
Effort Reporting Tool (ECRT)
Finding Funding
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (VCRGE)
PI Portal
Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP)
UW-Madison Library
Writing Center
Wisconsin Data Mart (WISDM)
WISconsin Proposal Electronic Routing System (WISPER)

Define Parameters & Protocols

Establish Data Management Plan

Plan Computing Environment


Draft & Submit Proposal