Biostatistical Services | Presentation

The main goal of the Department of Biostatistics is to increase the quality and quantity of research in the School of Medicine. As a basic science of research methodology, biostatistics can benefit research programs and investigators in many ways including
  • Developing study and experimental designs that maximize the efficiency, increase interpretability and generalizability, and enhance the ethical conduct of research
  • Using modern experimental designs that allow for early termination of experiments when sufficient evidence for effects is demonstrated, or extends experiments when results are equivocal
  • Refining measurements to increase precision and sensitivity
  • Developing grant proposals and increasing their likelihood of being funded
  • Assisting with manuscript writing, increasing the likelihood of acceptance and improving the quality of the result
  • Analyzing data in a powerful, robust, and reproducible fashion
  • Interpreting results using modern statistical graphics for optimum communication to non-statisticians
  • Providing methodologic review and teaching in journal clubs, research conferences, and short courses
  • Participating in K award mentoring
  • Implementing and running secure web-based research data management systems and archiving research databases
The Department currently has 28 faculty and 20 staff M.S. biostatisticians. Details may be found at

Ways of Obtaining Biostatistics Support

  1. Biostatisticians taking part on funded grants and contracts, with funding for appropriate % efforts for PhD and MS biostatisticians
  2. Collaboration plan, with % efforts of biostatisticians funded by collaborating departments with 1:4 matching funds from the Dept. of Biostatistics for faculty biostatisticians
  3. Cancer Center Biostatistics Center core support from the Division of Cancer Biostatistics in the Dept. of Biostatistics
  4. Design, Biostatistics, and Clinical Research Ethics core in the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR-CTSA)
    • Clinical, community, and translational research proposals, upon approval by the VICTR Scientific Review Committee, result in vouchers for biostatistics help and for the following types of studios: design, analysis, manuscript, and studios for fine-tuning funded grants in their startup phase
    • Surgical research that is clinical or translational in nature (i.e., relates to human tissue) uses the VICTR-CTSA mechanism for requesting biostatistics support
  5. Statistics and Methodology Core for the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
  6. Daily walk-in Biostatistics Clinics
  7. Hourly fees for service
Consulting requests, whether for VICTR-CTSA biostatistics vouchers or otherwise, should be accompanied by this form

Funding Biostatistical Support

Percent efforts for biostatisticians on applications are readily accepted by grant reviewers and granting agencies, so it is common to have 0.15 - 0.5 FTEs allocated to biostatisticians (typically in a 2.5:1 ratio of MS:PhD effort) once a grant is awarded. Developing statistical designs and analysis plans for somewhat complex grants typically requires about 80 hours of biostatistician time. So that we can provide assistance with development of new grants (other than renewals or derivatives of grants that already fund a biostatistician) and data analysis and other services, there are several ways such services can be funded.
  • By enrolling in the percent effort-based collaboration plan
    • This plan allocates MS and PhD biostatistician efforts (typically in the 2.5:1 ratio) to work long-term with research groups, divisions, or departments. This approach makes it easy for the same statisticians to stay involved with a research group and facilitates the building of research teams and planning ahead for grant proposals, manuscripts, and abstract deadlines. It also helps our department plan its recruiting. Groups enrolling in this plan have 20% of the efforts of faculty biostatisticians devoted to the research group paid by the Department of Biostatistics as long as the biostatisticians are doing work that is directly related to research development, teaching, or mentoring.
    • We track time spent working with other departments on this plan so the other groups can make adjustments in percent efforts they fund over time and so that research group leaders know how the resource is being used.
    • An excellent way to fund these efforts is for new faculty to include biostatistical support in their package.
  • By fees for service (draft version)
    • Unlike divisions or research groups enrolling in our collaboration plan in which we provide at least a 20% discount in faculty salaries and fringe benefits covered, the fee for service plan involves the other division or research group paying hourly rates for all salary, fringe benefits, and other allocable direct costs. Fee for service work is managed through the BCC at the current hourly rates.

Who to Contact

If you are applying for assistance through VICTR (CTSA), apply for CTSA resources by going to

Otherwise, if you would like more information or to arrange a meeting to discuss biostatistical support, contact [[][]], Department of Biostatistics, at or 615-322-2001.

If your research group is already covered by a Biostatistics Collaboration Plan, contact the lead statistician who is responsible for your group. Assignments are listed at CollaborationAssignments.
Related Links
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
BiostatPresentation.odpodp BiostatPresentation.odp manage 24.7 K 28 Apr 2016 - 07:57 FrankHarrell OpenOffice/LibreOffice master Impress file for BiostatPresentation.pdf
BiostatPresentation.pdfpdf BiostatPresentation.pdf manage 323.2 K 28 Apr 2016 - 07:57 FrankHarrell Overview of Biostat Services/Collab by Theresa Scott ed. Frank Harrell
Topic revision: r27 - 02 Jan 2020, DalePlummer

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