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Data Use Agreements (DUA)

About DUAs

A Data Use Agreement (DUA) is a written contract used to govern the transfer of research data between organizations. These agreements can be set up between academic institutions, government agencies and/or corporate entities. DUAs can be classified into two different categories depending on the nature of the data being transferred:
  • Non-human subject data or completely de-identified human research participant data (as determined by Northwestern’s IRB Office.)
  • Human research participant data which includes Protected Health Information. This includes data which constitutes a Limited Data Set as defined by HIPAA.  Transfers which fall into this category are subject to HIPAA regulations and may require IRB approval. Questions regarding IRB approval, guidelines and policies should be directed to
A DUA is established between a provider institution and recipient institution to document the data being transferred and terms and conditions with respect to issues such as ownership, permitted uses of the data, publication of results, development of inventions, disposal of the data and liability. Establishing conditions prior to the transfer of data avoids issues and misunderstandings after research has begun.

Processing Procedure

Requests for DUAs should be submitted via CERES. Sponsored Research will review each request and work with the other institution to finalize the DUA and facilitate the signature process.

Important Information

Northwestern University investigators cannot sign DUAs on behalf of the University. The agreement needs to be set up as a contract between institutions and signed by an Authorized Official who is capable of binding the University to the terms.  Northwestern PIs are often required to sign DUAs as Read and Understood. Northwestern strongly encourages its PIs to thoroughly read through DUAs before signing. Not all DUAs are the same and it is very important that Northwestern PIs and lab members understand and abide by the terms and conditions outlined in the agreement.

Institutional Information

Legal Address

Northwestern University
633 Clark Street
Evanston, IL 60208

Administrative Address

Northwestern University
Sponsored Research
750 N. Lake Shore Drive, 7th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 503-7955