The IFH Survey / Data Core is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) core facility and is the university’s central hub for specialized survey and data resources for analyses. The Core is home to a variety of datasets – including population-based surveys and national and NJ-wide administrative claims and electronic health records, and the highly trained and specialized analytical personnel with the expertise to provide efficient and professional research support with the data. The Core includes a HIPAA-compliant environment that meets the stringent standards required to store highly sensitive datasets.
Core facilities are centralized shared research resources that provide access to instruments, technologies, services, as well as expert consultation and other services to scientific and clinical investigators. Typically, core facilities are a discrete unit within an institution and may have dedicated personnel, equipment, and space for operations. The foundation of an NIH core facility’s operating procedures are based upon NIH policies for core facilities, federal cost principles, and institutional policies.
The IFH Survey / Data Core provides a wide variety of research services and expertise in survey research design and execution, and epidemiological research and data analysis. Our staff are highly specialized and has experience in all areas of research design, preparation, programming, and analysis for our numerous in-house resources, and can provide research support from project commencement through to completion.
The IFH Survey / Data Core is combines survey and epidemiological data resources under one umbrella. The Core is home to both highly specialized data resources from population-based surveys, NJ-specific datasets, and other state, national, and international electronic health records and administrative claims datasets, and personnel with decades of experience to productively complete any project. Our data is secured in a high-performance HIPAA-complaint computing environment and is the only location at Rutgers University that can currently hold these sensitive resources. The Core has a dedicated administrative and IT staff on hand to provide personalized service to meet your needs.
Any Rutgers or external faculty, staff, and students can access Core resources for projects or training purposes. External nonprofit and commercial organizations may also utilize Core resources for the same purpose. Access to specific data resources may have their own restrictions or additional requirements.
The IFH Survey / Data Core’s rates were determined through a formal budgetary planning process that included review by a local steering committee, formal RBHS review, and a final certification by Rutgers University central administration. As per NIH guidelines, the rates are based upon applicable federal cost principles, and include only those direct costs that are directly attributed to the operations of the Core. The costs of providing the services are allowable, allocable, and must be consistently applied and reasonable. These factors were included in the review of the Core. The Core is not permitted to make a profit and is designed to break even.
To the Core’s budget and rates are reviewed annually and may change each fiscal year beginning on July 1. Core leadership will make every effort to keep rates the same or to provide for a decrease if appropriate.
NIH regulations do not permit a discount to any user of the Core, regardless of institutional affiliation or funding source. Billing rates must not discriminate between federal and non-federal users, including internal institutional activities. Internal unfunded studies and student projects must also be charged at the same rate.
NIH policy does not permit discounts of any kind, including if an investigator provides their own resources to the Core. As Core use increases, it is expected over time that the unit cost for that resource will be shared by all users and the individual cost will decrease. In terms of personnel provided to the Core, the Core is permitted to provide preferential assignment of personnel time to researchers in this circumstance.
The Core encourages creative partnerships with other schools, institutes, and units at Rutgers. Non-Core funding can be combined to provide a subsidy to offset the Core cost. For example: A 50% “discount” can be provided by using institutional funding to fund half of the cost, while the other 50% is made up by the other fund source (startup, grant, etc).
Each new project that is requesting access to core resources (personnel or data) must have a request submitted on our website. After submitting an application, a response will be given within 1-3 business days, and a consultation will be scheduled to discuss the scope of the project. The project will be reviewed for exempt status by the Faculty Director of the Core. If a project qualifies for exempt status, the study may be approved within 1-2 weeks. Otherwise, the project will require the approval of the Core Oversight Committee, which may require a 2-4 week total turnaround time.
The Core Oversight Committee oversees the Core, and includes IFH leadership, faculty, and staff members at the Institute for Health. The Committee meets throughout the year to review the operating status of the Core, review usage of Core resources, provides recommendations to continue supporting existing resources, review the fee structure, and to approve/disapprove projects regarding full committee review.
As part of the approval process for each project, the Core conducts a review to ensure that all projects achieve the highest ethical standards of research, meets high standards of scientific rigor, are able to be executed in a timely and efficient manner, and meet all additional requirements imposed by use of specific datasets. As such, a review process is needed for the Core to conduct it’s due-dilligence with regards to projects that it accepts. This process is not designed to be burdensome. Most projects will likely receive an exemption from Core Oversight Committee review. Exempt status is determined based upon the datasets used, human subject involvement, affiliation, funding body, and current IRB status. The Committee shall take the IRB’s requirements for approval as the minimal requirements for providing the Core’s approval of a project. The Committee may include more restrictive requirements than the IRB as part of conducting their due diligence and review; however in no circumstances will the criteria for approval be less than the IRB’s. Additionally, the IRB has the final authority for approving the formal study on a university level, and in no way is the Committee’s process designed to modify the IRB decisions.
No this is not required, however certain requests cannot begin without IRB approval.
The IFH Survey / Data Core bills for usage on a monthly basis for work that has been completed. The Core does not bill for anticipated usage in advance of the work being performed.
In situations where Rutgers is the recipient of a sub-award and a Rutgers researcher is included on the budget, the sub-award would be charged internal rates.
Any Publication arising from services conducted by the Core or the Core’s resources shall include the following statement in the publication: “This study was completed in part by research services and/or survey/data resources provided by the Institute for Health Survey / Data Core at Rutgers University, available at: http://www.ifhcore.rutgers.edu Use of certain data resources may have additional citation requirements.

Yes, the IFH Survey / Data Core is the only facility at Rutgers University that can store this type of data for research purposes.
Yes, the IFH Survey / Data Core facility has a state of the art computing environment. As it is software defined data center (SDDC), VM’s can be scaled up and scaled down at runtime. IFH also has independent DNS servers for Standard, High Security and Isolated environment to manage granular level authentication and authorization. The following are some important computing parameters: CPU: 304 GHz, RAM: 2.5 TB, STORAGE: 276 TB. The computing environment is also equipped with a wide range of analytical, statistical, programming and database packages and software (ex. SaS, SPSS, STATA, R, Python, Microsoft SQL server, MySQL, PostgreSQL etc.)
Yes, data is backed up every day locally, and we also do monthly offsite data backup at HIPPA compliant facility.
Available software includes: Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, SPSS, STATA, SaS, R, Python (All modules/packages and frameworks), MS Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook), Adobe Acrobat PDF reader, Chrome, Edge, Firefox.
Yes, you will be able to upload your own data to the Core’s servers for use on your own personal project. Datasets will need to be vetted by the Core’s IT staff, and contractual documents will need to be kept on file with the Core. Specific Data Use Agreement and contractual requirements for your own and the Core’s datasets will determine whether or not datasets can be linked for a specific project.
All output must be vetted by the Core’s IT staff prior to being released to the user. This is a requirement to ensure that core resources or Protected Health Information exits the system
Yes, all work can be and is encouraged to be performed via our HIPAA-compliant system remotely.
No, working directly from the IFH building will not improve the quality of the connection as the system is connected to a virtual server.

There are 3 main options to utilize the IFH Core’s data: 1) The Core dedicates an analyst to a project and provides comprehensive project level support including data analysis using an investigator’s own data, the Core’s data, or a combination of the two; 2) The investigator brings their own data and the investigator conducts their own analyses; 3) The investigator uses the core’s data and conducts their own analysis. A combination of any of the three options may be used. In some instances, an investigator may use a Core analyst to provide a simple data cut, and then use their own analyst for analysis on the Core computing platform.
Data resources refer to any non-survey data held in the Core. A list of data resources can be found on the Data Core Page of this website.
No, the Core does not automatically absorb an investigator’s data. Data that is uploaded for a specific project will remain under the ownership of the investigator. However, an investigator could transfer data to the Core and have it considered for regularly funded updates as part of the Core.
Any number of data resources can be used for a project at the same rate. The only stipulation is that 1) use of the data is scientifically justified and approved by the Core; 2) any licensor/regulatory approval is obtained.
The Core does not charge any additional fees outside of usage rates to access data. However, certain datasets have additional fees that are imposed by the licensor by contract. The Core will charge this to the user, but is a direct pass-through cost to access the data. The rate can vary based on a flat fee, funding source, or type of entity (academic vs commercial). These fees are a universal standard imposed by the licensor. Typically, these are a onetime expense.

There are 3 main options to utilize the IFH Core’s survey resources: 1) The Core collects data and conducts analyses; 2) The investigator brings survey data and the Core conducts analyses; 3) The Core collects data and the investigator completes analyses. If the survey collection platform is being utilized, regardless of whose staff is collecting the survey data, this counts as Core data collection.
Survey data is any data that is collected via survey and has been input into some data file which can be imported into an analytic software (SAS, SPSS, R, etc.). A list of survey data can be found on the Survey Core Page of this website.
Survey data using our collection platform can currently be collected in English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Hindi, and Spanish. Additional language capabilities are in process.
The Core has research assistants who can collect the data using individualized user accounts. Research assistants outside the Core may also use the Core platform. At this time, participants cannot self-administer the survey.