CARES: Chicago Association for Research and Education in Science

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Administrative

Accounting and Purchasing Questions

Clinical Trial Questions

Grants and Contracts Questions

Human Resources Questions


Administrative
 Q: Who do I contact to initiate a proposal application submission?
 A: Cindy M. Reutzel, Executive Director, (708-343-6379 or Extension 23380) will provide support to investigators and their staff for both investigator-initiated studies and for studies for which a pharmaceutical company may contact the investigator. In both cases, we will work with you and your sponsor on contract development issues. It is important to initiate contract negotiations as soon as possible to avoid potential delays in starting your study.

Susan Andrese, Grants Administrator, Research Service (708-202-7447) must also receive a copy of the protocol in order to initiate the process for approval by the Research and Development Committee and any other subcommittees (Human, Animal, and Biosafety) relevant to the protocol.

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 Q: Where are you located?
 A: CARES offices are located on the grounds of the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, Building One, Room C303, 5000 S. 5th Avenue, Hines, IL 60141. CARES administrative offices are located on the third floor, section C of Building One, above the entrance to the outpatient clinic area.
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 Q: If I have space at both an affiliated academic institution & the VA where do I submit my grant proposal?
 A: This is an issue you should discuss with the ACOS for research, but as a general matter, if the proposed research is to be conducted in VA space at 50% time or more, the application must be submitted through CARES.
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Accounting and Purchasing Questions
 Q: How can I obtain equipment and supplies?
 A: Requests to purchase supplies and equipment should be submitted on a “Purchase-Check Requisition” to the CARES Office, Building One, Rm. C303, or via fax to 708-343-9676. Orders will be placed within 24 hours of receipt. You can download a requisition form by clicking here.
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 Q: How do I order a computer?
 A: To insure compatibility with the VA computer system all computer orders should be processed through Research Service’s Computer Specialist (Joe Tomaszek, 708-202-8387, X25710) then forwarded to the CARES Office for ordering.
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 Q: Where do I send CARES forms?
 A: 

Regular mail - Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital Building One, Room C303, 5000 S. 5th Avenue, Hines, IL 60141 Interoffice - VA mail code 151

 

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 Q: How are emergency orders handled?
 A: The preferred method of supply acquisition is to have the CARES Office initiate orders.  Under some emergency or other situations, the Principal Investigator or other authorized personnel will be given approval to be reimbursed for supplies urgently required and personally purchased.
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 Q: How do I get reimbursed if I used personal funds to purchase research supplies?
 A: CARES tries to limit the number of reimbursement check requests and strongly encourages the use of purchase orders. However, it is understood that there are times when it is more efficient for an individual to purchase supplies directly. In these circumstancesm, you will need to complete a Purchase-Check Requisition Form, provide original receipts, and submit it to the CARES Office for review and approval.
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 Q: When and where can I pick up my reimbursement check?
 A: If specifically requested, CARES will notify you via phone when a check is ready for pick up. Otherwise, all checks will be mailed via US Postal Service to the address you specify.
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 Q: How do I return an item purchased by CARES to a vendor?
 A: The CARES Office should be contacted for instructions prior to initiating a return.
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 Q: Will CARES pay for my professional licenses, memberships, and journal subscriptions?
 A: The VA does not allow CARES to pay for personal memberships. Institutional memberships are allowable when related to VA's research or education mission.

CARES will pay for subscriptions which are appropriate and supportive of its mission to support VA research and education. If requested by the investigator, subscriptions may specify that the publication be mailed to the investigator’s home address.

In those instances in which an investigator must belong to an organization in order to gain access to the organization’s publications and, such organization is related to the research or education mission of the organization, an effort will be made to determine the portion of membership dues which are attributable to the publication; this portion can be paid by CARES.

CARES will not pay for personal licensure.

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 Q: Am I limited to the federal reimbursement rates when using CARES funds for VA approved travel?
 A: CARES generally follows federal reimbursement rates for travel although there is some flexibility in this area. In all cases, however, travel expenses will be reimbursed only for reasonable and customary business-related costs. For more information, please see our travel policy.
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 Q: What is the balance in my account?
 A: Status of Funds reports are available on the CARES website http://cares-research.org Investigators and other authorized personnel may log into the secure website to access their accounts at any time. If you’ve forgotten your log in ID or password please visit Investigator / Employee Access.
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 Q: Can I put all of my projects into one account?
 A: Individual contractual rules or agency regulations govern each project and grant. Therefore, all project funds must remain in separate accounts until completion.
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 Q: What happens to residual funds when a project is completed?
 A: Once an industry sponsored project is complete and the PI informs CARES and the sponsor that all reporting requirements and contractual obligations have been met the account is then closed. Residual funds are then transferred into a general purpose research and education account, assigned to the PI, for use in support of other research or education endeavors.
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Clinical Trial Questions
 Q: Who do I contact to initiate a clinical trial?
 A: Cindy M. Reutzel, Executive Director (ext. 23380) will provide support to investigators and their staff for both investigator-initiated studies and for studies for which a pharmaceutical company may contact the investigator. In both cases, we will work with you and your sponsor on contract development issues. It is important to initiate contract negotiations as soon as possible to avoid potential delays in starting your study.
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 Q: What are the most common delays in obtaining approval for a Clinical Trial?
 A: The obstacles to completing the clinical trial negotiation and approval process are varied, but a few of the delays can be attributed to:

    1. Budget negotiations
    2. Contract negotiation between CARES  and Sponsor
    3. IRB approval of protocol
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 Q: Who manages invoicing the sponsor of my clinical trial?
 A: In most instances, payments are made by the study sponsor in accordance with the clinical trial agreement as the study proceeds. However, if invoicing is required it should be done by CARES.
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 Q: How should I notify CARES of clinical study completion?
 A: This action would be concurrent with notification of the IRB and submission of the final report to the R&D Committee.
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Grants and Contracts Questions
 Q: What types of projects does CARES administer?
 A: CARES administers research and education projects where funds are provided from non-VA sources.
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 Q: Does CARES administer Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)?
 A: If the MTA relates to a project being administered by CARES, then CARES is responsible for processing the MTA.
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 Q: How do I determine if my project should be administered by CARES?
 A: VA regulations require that non-VA funding for VA research be administered by CARES unless a waiver is granted by the Medical Center Director.
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 Q: What are the benefit rates CARES uses for personnel costs on proposal budgets?
 A: For budgeting purposes, CARES uses a 30% fringe benefits rate for full-time staff and part-time staff. Please be advised that the actual benefit rate depends on the specific benefits package applicable to the individual employee.
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 Q: What are the current indirect cost rates for federally sponsored grants administered by CARES?
 A: 
  • 22.5% - effective period 10/01/11-09/30/12 
  • 22.5% - effective 10/01/12
  • Rate agreement date is August 8, 2011
  • 26% - privately sponsored projects
  • No indirect costs are charged on donations of less than $1,000 
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 Q: Where do I find the administrative information related to CARES that is necessary to complete my grant application?
 A: This information can be found by logging into the Investigator/Employee Access section of the website and clicking on View Documents.
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 Q: How long do I have to keep grant files?
 A: NIH Requirement: Grantees generally must retain financial and programmatic records, supporting documents, statistical records, and all other records that are required by the terms of a grant for 3 years from the date the annual FSR is submitted.

Others: The records of other studies depends upon law, regulations and sometimes the terms of a contract

CARES Procedure: Investigator project files must be archived in accordance with VA policy. Contact the VA Research Office for details.

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 Q: Can VA and/or CARES employees participate as subjects in CARES administered research projects?
 A: Yes, if such participation has been approved by the IRB and the employees participate on their own time and outside their VA or CARES tour-of-duty.
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 Q: How should I list my institutional affiliations on applications being submitted through CARES?
 A: All CARES Investigators and most of their key personnel are affiliated with VA and hold an academic appointment as well.  The appropriate format is VA affiliation/University affiliation.
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 Q: Where do I obtain human subject approval?
 A: The Hines/Lovell Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews all projects involving human research including those administered by CARES. Information on the IRB approval process may be found at the Hines R&D Service web site.
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Human Resources Questions
 Q: How do I hire staff on an awarded CARES fund?
 A: All new hires must begin with the completion of a New Employee Start-up Date Form by the Principal Investigator.
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 Q: How do I reimburse the University for employee time spent working on a CARES funded project?
 A: The Memorandum of Understanding is a mechanism by which a University employee who works on a CARES project, ensures their vested University benefits by having CARES reimburse the University for a certain percentage of their salary. For more information contact the CARES office at 708-343-6300.
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 Q: If I accept a position with CARES who is my employer?
 A: You will be an employee of both CARES and ADP Total Source, a Professional Employer Organization with clients and worksite employees in fifty states. ADP handles the administrative responsibilities for most employment-related issues such as payroll and benefits and handles many personnel issues, while CARES handles the day-to-day activities related to its core business, health related research and education. Questions relating to payroll, benefits or other human resource issues should be directed to CARES Office staff (708-343-6300).
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 Q: What do I need to do once I’ve been hired by CARES?
 A: An employment packet, which includes but is not necessarily limited to the following, must be completed prior to or on the first day of employment: 

  • Optional Application for Federal Employment (OF 612)
  • IRS Form W-4
  • State Form W-4
  • Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9)
  • Certificate of Compliance with Ethical Conduct 
  • Administaff Screening Request §
  • Administaff Employment Agreement 
  • Administaff New Employee Information Sheet 
  • Administaff Acknowledgment of Receipt of Anti-Harassment Policy
  • CARES Time Sheet

The new employee must also contact Research Service’s Human Resources office (Bldg. 1, Rm. C319) to obtain the necessary Without Compensation (WOC) application and related documents.

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 Q: When and where can I pick up my payroll check?
 A: Payroll checks are issued every other Friday and can either be direct deposited, mailed to your home or can be picked up in the CARES Office.
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 Q: What is my employee relationship to the VA?
 A: CARES employs individuals to work on VA-approved research and education projects and subsequently, CARES employees must meet all VA requirements to become an employee of the VA in a Without Compensation (WOC) status. WOC status awards the CARES employee some of the benefits and responsibilities of employment at the VA. Such appointment also requires that the employee follow the VA’s policies regarding personal conduct, safety and the conduct of research and education activities.
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