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ResearchMatch offers effective way to recruit national participants

Concept of clinical researchers and subjects.

Finding the right participants for research studies is not an easy task for investigators. But with a pool of more than 170,000 volunteers nationwide, the free ResearchMatch registry is becoming increasingly popular at UB and institutions around the country.


Published May 9, 2024

“The platform provided me with a more representative sample for my work. I found the data from ResearchMatch to be richer and of higher quality than what I had previously. Plus, ResearchMatch allowed me to recruit in a little over a month. ”
Tahleen Lattimer, PhD candidate
Department of Communication

UB investigators looking to recruit study participants nationally can turn to ResearchMatch, a web-based tool that helps to connect people interested in research studies — an amount currently numbering more than 170,000 individuals — with researchers from institutions like UB.

The nonprofit program hosted by Vanderbilt University was established as a collaborative effort with participating sites in the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards Consortium.

“For studies that do not require an in-person element, ResearchMatch is a great way for researchers to cast a wide net for participants outside of Western New York,” explains Ashley Regling, clinical recruitment coordinator for UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). “Whether they are looking for healthy participants or those with specific medical conditions, there is a large national database of people interested in learning more about research opportunities.”

Regling notes that over time, Vanderbilt has continued to enhance the platform based on practical feedback from research teams and their recruitment experiences. ResearchMatch is celebrating its 15th year in 2024, and recently rolled out a variety of enhancements. These include translation of the platform to simplified Chinese and researcher “office hours,” in which researcher training will be extended by 30 minutes to allow researchers to drop in and ask specific questions about their studies. (Sign-up for monthly researcher training can be found on the researcher dashboard.)

The platform has been widely used by UB investigators, among them Hannah Kolpack, a project coordinator working in the School of Public Health and Health Professions.

“ResearchMatch has a large database, and they vet out profiles — minimizing encounters with bots,” Kolpack says. “I had approximately 350 individuals indicate their interest and complete the screening survey I sent them in a little over one month, which is incredibly fast. Approximately 85% of those volunteers were determined eligible, indicating that the participant pool was specified based on the demographic and inclusion/exclusion criteria.”

Overall, Kolpack found ResearchMatch to be “incredibly user friendly and time efficient for both researchers and volunteers. It is a quick, effective and organized method of recruitment.”

‘Great, free option’

ResearchMatch being free to use was a reason Natasha Allard, a PhD candidate in the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, School of Public Health and Health Professions, turned to the platform for several studies, including two large online surveys.

“I was first drawn to ResearchMatch because there was no cost to researchers, and as a PhD student that was really important because I did not have much funding available,” she says. “I was able to use my funding fully for participant compensation and not for platform fees.”

These thoughts are echoed by Tahleen Lattimer, a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication, College of Arts and Sciences.

“It is a great free option,” Lattimer says. “In addition, I would recommend ResearchMatch for the data quality. The participant responses I have received have been rich and of high quality. The participants really value the opportunity to participate in research.”

Lattimer’s work focuses on minority health, and after trying other methods ResearchMatch helped her connect with the specific population she wanted to survey.

“The platform provided me with a more representative sample for my work,” she says. “I found the data from ResearchMatch to be richer and of higher quality than what I had previously. Plus, ResearchMatch allowed me to recruit in a little over a month.”

Getting started

Allard recommends interested researchers watch or attend ResearchMatch trainings and then work closely with Regling, UB’s ResearchMatch liaison.

“One of my roles as a liaison is to help researchers develop their volunteer contact message in community-friendly language that is compliant with ResearchMatch requirements,” Regling says. “Our hope at the CTSI is that ResearchMatch continues to serve as a method of increasing accessibility to research within our Western New York community and beyond.”

Investigators and research staff with questions about ResearchMatch, or who need additional information on how to get started, can email See a ResearchMatch-created download for more information on the platform.

To learn more about various participants databases and other useful materials, check out the CTSI Recruitment Resources Toolkit. The toolkit includes links to Buffalo Research Registry, a CTSI-run database of people from Western New York who have shown interest in becoming research study volunteers, and the Participate in Research Portal, a searchable listing of current studies.