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About Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) support
The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) offers up to 4 hours of free consultation per project (maximum of 2 projects per year per investigator) in biostatistical and epidemiological methodologies, study design, data management and analysis.
Who is eligible for free consultation?
  • We limit consultation and support to Penn State investigators or staff/students who are supporting an investigator.
  • BERD provides consultation for the development of clinical and translational science research proposals and consultations for institute-funded pilot projects.
  • K and T scholars receive free consultations.
  • Medical students are eligible as long as their mentor/advisor is present for the consultation meeting.
What can I expect?
Consultations may include:
  • Design and analysis strategies for research proposals
  • Sample size and power calculations for research proposals
  • Advice on the selection and implementation of appropriate statistical methods for research data
  • Advice on table and figure construction
  • Advice on data management
  • Statistical review of grant proposals, protocols and manuscripts
  • Maximum of 4 free consultation hours per project. This 4 hour free limit per project is subject to annual review and may be adjusted in the future.
  • Maximum of 2 projects per year per investigator
  • Projects requiring more than four hours (or >2 project consultation requests per year) would require funding. Billing rates for additional collaboration will be discussed at that time.
  • For grant proposals where BERD personnel will be written into the grant for funded effort, additional free hours may be negotiated to prepare the grant submission.
Medical Student Research (MSR) Projects
  • Eligibility for the 4 free consultation hours requires the presence of the mentor/advisor along with the student for the consultation meeting.
  • Students are typically expected to analyze their own data for their MSR project based on the consultant’s recommendations. Therefore, studies requiring complex statistical methods are usually not considered appropriate for a MSR project.
Data Considerations
  • Hands-on assistance with data analysis is generally not provided without funding because these projects are usually beyond the scope of the four free hours.
  • Any data provided for hands-on analysis that involves human subjects must be from an IRB approved protocol and must be de-identified by not containing any of the private health information (PHI) identifiers. A list of the PHI identifiers may be found at the following IRB link:
  • Decisions regarding authorship for faculty or staff should be considered independently of funding.
  • Co-authorship should be offered to anyone who has clearly made a material contribution to the project.
  • For details, please see Penn State Policy IP02 on co-authorship:
Grant Citation Requirements
  • Any hands-on data analysis performed by BERD consultants using the free hours are considered as use of CTSI resources. Therefore presentations, abstracts, and publications must appropriately cite the CTSI grant.
  • For proper citation, please see
  • To receive proper attention, requests should be submitted well ahead of any deadline.
  • Within two business days of receiving your submitted Request Form, the faculty or staff consultant handling your project will contact you to schedule an initial consultation meeting.
  • In cases of emergency, and subject to the availability of personnel, limited assistance may be provided on short notice.
  • There is no guarantee that every requested deadline will be honored.
  • Projects may be triaged based on the priorities of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
I have read and approve of the terms of collaboration and consultation.