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Minneapolis VA Health Care System Research Service

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New Investigator Orientation: Overview

Investigator Orientation: Overview | Required Information | Research Approval | Investigator Responsibilities | Research Funding | Hiring Personnel

If you are a new VA investigator - whether new to the VA or new to planning and conducting your own studies as a PI - understanding the applicable rules and regulations can be overwhelming and confusing. Far too often, new investigators are caught off guard by requirements they did not know existed, and often do not know where to go for help. The end result is a frustrating and difficult first introduction that can make new investigators feel that VA is only interested in red tape rather than science.

This new investigator orientation is intended to prevent you from encountering these issues. The information and links presented here provide an overview of your responsibilities, the information required from you for our program, and where to find help or guidance. You should refer to this information as needed and encourage other new investigators to review the information here when they first join the VA.

Research Office Organizational Structure

Our program is led by the Associate Chief of Staff for Research (ACOS). The ACOS reports to the Chief of Staff, and is responsible for oversight of research activities at the Minneapolis VA. The Deputy ACOS assists the ACOS in managing our program, and serves as grants manager for most VA grant submissions. Together the ACOS and Deputy ACOS supervise the professional staff and oversight committee coordinators in our program, including the Human Research Protection Program Administrator, the Research Nurse Manager, the Veterinary Medical Officer, and the Budget Analyst. The Administrative Officer (AO) manages the business side of our program. The AO is the primary contact for hiring research personnel, and supervises program support staff in our office. Support staff duties include purchasing, timekeeping, records management, and inventory management. Specific details and contact information for our program are maintained on the Leadership and Administrative Contacts pages.

Policies and Procedures

Our program is guided by standard operating procedures (SOPs) approved by the Research & Development Committee (RDC). These SOPs are based in part on the rules, responsibilities, and requirements stipulated in the VA Directives and Handbooks that govern our program. Our local research administration also maintains administrative SOPs explaining policy for procedures that are not under the purview of the RDC. Current approved copies of these documents are maintained on the Policies and Procedures page.

SOPs that are relevant to each section of this investigator orientation are listed at the bottom of each page. While we do not expect our investigators to memorize these SOPs, it is important that all investigators know where to find these reference documents when guidance on a specific policy or procedure is needed. When in doubt, please reach out to our office for assistance!

Next: Required Information