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Northwestern Launches Collaborative Project to Match Research Studies, Research Participants

A social movement for health research has launched as an emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than $1.5 million and 10 years of user-centered design have gone into the tool, and Northwestern research teams can now submit their studies — COVID-19 and beyond — thanks to the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute.  

Nine top universities and hospitals collaborated on the matchmaking platform.

“One of the biggest challenges in clinical and translation research is often recruiting individuals to participate,” said Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, Northwestern Medicine’s Senior Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research and director of the NUCATS Institute. “Our ability to remain agile and find new ways to conduct critical COVID-19 research will aid in the pursuit of novel treatments. Our participation in this collaborative endeavor will also position us to understand the pandemic’s long-term impacts.”

The New Normal (TNN)™ movement is meant to increase awareness of health research and give communities access to information about health research opportunities. Today’s launch enables research teams to begin the process of inputting research studies into the TNN Match recruitment portal, a web-based platform that uses lay-friendly language and is primed for mobile devices.

“Researchers are fluent in a scientific language that the rest of the world often doesn’t understand,” said Sara Serritella, Director of The New Normal™ movement. “TNN breaks down communication barriers and has engaged local communities, patients, and national experts in creating an approachable tone to make research information accessible to everyone.”

Users of TNN Match will be able to express interest and match with research studies based on a study’s inclusion and exclusion criteria. 

The New Normal™ movement is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and made possible through the collaboration of nine top hospitals and universities: Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Rush, University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, NorthShore University Health System, Illinois Institute of Technology, Advocate Health Care, and the University of Michigan. 

“This is a historic collaboration among NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program hubs,” said Justin Starren, MD, PhD, FACMI, deputy director of NUCATS. “We’re grateful to everyone for their partnership and the fast mobilizing to bring this to our research teams and the public as soon as possible during this pandemic.”

How to Prepare for Study Recruitment in TNN

  1. IRB approval
  2. Study is visible in study tracker
  3. In study tracker select recruit publicly (download guide)
    • This will enable the data feed for the internal FSM Clinical Trials page and the external TNN portal
    • Please enter the appropriate study contact name, phone number and email address. Interested participants visit this site often and study tracker will default the contact information to 1-855-NU-STUDY if not completed. This phone line is no longer monitored by a full time staff and potential recruits will be missed.

Get Started Today

  • Visit the TNN Match website:
  • Submit your COVID-19 study for fast-tracked TNN Match entry. Upload your consent form here and receive free science writing resources
  • Submit your non-COVID-19 studies
  • NUCATS is hosting a drop-in hour from 9-10 a.m., Monday through Friday. CCR Recruitment Operations Manager Tina Ward will answer your questions about TNN Match
  • Sync on social @bethenewnorm

Northwestern's TNN Contact is Tina Ward, NUCATS Clinical Operations Manager-Recruitment. She can be reached at  

About The New Normal™ Movement

The New Normal™ movement is championed by the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM), Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute, and the University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS). The ITM is a partnership between the University of Chicago and Rush in collaboration with Advocate Health Care, the Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech)Loyola University Chicago, and NorthShore University HealthSystem.

The ITM, NUCATS, and CCTS are fueled by nearly $80 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) ProgramThe Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research shared its technology to help connect the public with research opportunities for this initiative.  The New Normal™ movement is also supported by the Chicago Department of Public Health and other regional and national partners who believe in empowering everyone to get involved in making discoveries to improve human health.

This project is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through Grant Number UL1TR001422 that supports NUCATS; Grant Number UL1TR002389 that supports the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM); Grant Number UL1TR002003 that supports the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS); and Grant Number UL1TR002240 that supports the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.


Participating Institutions: