Iowa bests Northwestern in research volunteer contest

Iowa bests Northwestern in research volunteer contest

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Iowa may not have prevailed on the football field last weekend against Northwestern, but the Hawkeyes can claim victory in a head-to-head matchup with great importance to research and knowledge.

Iowa bested Northwestern in the first-ever Volunteer Enrollment Challenge. The schools vied last week to enroll the most participants in ResearchMatch, a federally funded initiative to create an online registry pairing volunteers with research studies.

Iowa gained commitments from 281 research study volunteers, compared to 96 who enrolled for studies at Northwestern. In all, the competition rung up nearly 650 new volunteers, when counting registered participants beyond a certain distance from the universities.

“Thank you, Iowa! I couldn’t be more proud,” says Gary Rosenthal, director of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, which led the UI effort. “I hope our combined efforts that enrolled a total of 647 volunteers in just one week will inspire other CTSA institutions to try to find fun new ways to inform the public about the importance of participating in research studies.”

The UI-Northwestern contest grew out of the schools’ desire to promote ResearchMatch and to educate the public about how easy it is to become participants in medical research. The weeklong competition started on Monday, Oct. 22 and ended Monday, Oct. 29.

Finding enough volunteers and the right participants for a study can be difficult. Some studies end early—before results can be determined—due to a lack of volunteers. ResearchMatch was created, in part, to highlight the importance of research and to better place those willing to participate in the studies that can benefit the most from their involvement. Nearly 30,000 people nationwide are enrolled in the registry.


Jennifer Willis, Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, 319-384-8306


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