Biostatistics Collaboration Center (BCC)

Overview
The Biostatistics Collaboration Center at Vanderbilt (BCC) is a university sponsored core resource whose goal is to provide for, enhance, and/or facilitate statistical collaborations involving the design, conduct, analysis or publication of biomedical research at the university. The Department of Biostatistics is comprised of biostatisticians who are available to work with faculty on a variety of projects. They offer a wide range of highly trained experts with unique expertise for almost any collaboration. The department has considerable expertise in the design, conduct, and analysis of large scale clinical trials and research design for basic biomedical research. Varying levels of expertise are also available for consultation, from masters level trained biostatisticians to full professors.The BCC is a revenue-neutral university resource. Rates are based on the technological and innovative resources necessary to perform collaborative services described above. Rates have been calculated based on department personnel dedicated to research activities, explicitly excluding common professional activities not related to this specific project (e.g., teaching, seminars, administration, service, etc.). Vanderbilt University annually reviews the BCC to ensure that it is in compliance with all applicable federal and state regulations, including Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. Rates are adjusted annually to ensure that the BCC is operating on a strict non-profit cost recovery basis.

History
In 2010 the Department of Biostatistics began allocating staff biostatistician time to projects using hourly billing based on a core-standard 1,500 billable hour work year.  A change was made in July 2014 to further enhance the culture of collaboration and support academically productive partnerships wherein all biostatistics staff and faculty effort would be billed directly to each project as a percentage of salary and fringe benefit expenses.  In addition, a scientific resource fee of $8,300 per 100% annual FTE (faculty and staff combined) would be billed to each project for allowable costs related to providing cutting-edge biostatistics support. Changes were made to the model and some costs were reduced related to providing this service thereby reducing the overall costs with the new rate.

Fees
The Department of Biostatistics faces real challenges in supporting personnel costs to meet the demands from other departments and centers, and the School of Medicine created a model described here that allows the costs to be recovered from the sources requesting the assistance. The Scientific Resource Fee is calculated annually and implemented on August 1 each year.  It is then billed using the Core Ordering and Reporting Enterprise System (CORES) which generates monthly invoices for the client. The current Scientific Resource Fee is $8,300 per 100% FTE per year for internal Vanderbilt investigators and is in addition to the faculty and staff percent-effort salary and fringe benefit charges. 

Example BCC Fee Calculation: Project A has a faculty biostatistician at 5% annual effort and a staff biostatistician at 10% annual effort. The annual fee is $8,300 * (5%+10%) = $1,245. A fee of $103.75 would be billed monthly to Project A via CORES.

Grant Proposal Budget Justification
The following text may be used for grants where a statistician's time is part of the budget as a percent effort:

Department of Biostatistics staff and faculty project effort is billed directly to each project as a percentage of salary and fringe benefit expenses. In addition, a scientific resource fee of $8,300 per 100% annual FTE (faculty and staff combined) is billed to each project for allowable expenses necessary to perform the work of biostatisticians and computer systems analysts. These expenses are directly related to ensuring that each biostatistician has access to appropriate tools and other scientific resources that support each project, including the array of technologies needed to manage and analyze many types of data across the spectrum of biomedical research.   

The biostatistics scientific resource fee is administratively managed through the Biostatistics Collaboration Center, a VUMC sponsored core resource. The VUMC Office of Research (OOR) annually reviews the BCC to ensure best compliance with all applicable federal and state regulations, including uniform administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements for federal awards. Rates are adjusted annually to ensure that the BCC operates on a strict non-profit cost recovery basis. The scientific resource fee is billed on a monthly basis via the OOR centralized core billing system Core Ordering and Reporting Enterprise System (CORES).