Director's Message

<strong>Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, MD,ScM</strong><br/>Director and PIIt is with the utmost pride that I announce that the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) has renewed the NUCATS Institute’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), committing to approximately $27.2 million over four years. Our vision is that this CTSA will help us get more treatments to more patients more quickly so that our breakthrough discoveries get translated to patient care as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Background

In 2008, NUCATS received its first CTSA grant and was positioned as the home for clinical and translational science (CTS) at Northwestern University and its clinical affiliates. Since 2008, NUCATS served over 3,000 investigators across our partners, directly supporting the publication and dissemination of 1,015 manuscripts in the scientific literature, including collaboration with each of the other 62 CTSA institutions across the country. These manuscripts have been cited 28,114 times by authors from 137 countries and in 26 different languages. NUCATS-assisted authors have collaborated on publications with peers from over 1,000 other institutions in the United States and 50 countries around the world. During this time, we have also seen explosive growth in our ability to assist investigators at all phases of the translational pipeline and catalyzed major expansions in our capacity to enroll participants in clinical trials. Some of our successes can be seen here.  

Goals and Objectives

Under the new award, NUCATS will build upon our past accomplishments and current strengths to undertake the following objectives that address new challenges and opportunities in CTS:

  • We will further integrate research into clinical care systems and processes, with the goal that every clinical encounter becomes an opportunity for research and learning to improve human health;
  • We will innovate, test, and disseminate new education and training initiatives to equip the translational workforce and improve the quality and efficiency of CTS research;
  • We will build upon our expertise in the science of team science and create practical tools that catalyze and empower high-functioning, stakeholder-engaged, multidisciplinary teams; and  
  • We will take an experimental approach to improve the methods and processes of CTS and create a culture of continuous improvement that can be disseminated across the CTSA consortium.

Making Research More Relevant and Accessible

NUCATS will use some of our CTSA funds to advance the engagement of special populations in clinical research and enhance the diversity of the translational workforce by deploying an innovative academic-government partnership with two other Chicago CTSAs and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). NUCATS and its Chicago CTSA counterparts, University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Chicago, will equally support the hiring of a program manager that will be imbedded at CDPH to help understand the needs and desires of specific communities and stakeholders across Chicago. This position will help focus CTS research efforts onto specific community and city health priorities regardless of disease area, and will help us raise awareness in communities of the importance of participation in clinical research to enrich health.

Resources and Services

Whether you are an investigator, trainee, student, or partner, NUCATS is here to connect you to a continuum of resources to enhance the efficiency and efficacy of your clinical and translational research. You can find a full listing of our resources and services on our website.

Some other new CTSA-funded initiatives include but are not limited to:

  • Integration of multiple research and data systems through an informatics architecture that will allow for “one-stop shopping” for investigators and study staff
  • Enhanced infrastructure to reduce barriers and speed clinical trial start-up and to improve recruitment
  • An advanced Evaluation and Continuous Improvement Program that will drive research impact and implementation in practice
  • A highly innovative TL1 training program that will focus on child and adolescent health, training a diverse group of graduate students from underrepresented minorities, doctoral students, and post-doctoral fellows to work in this critically important area
  • Research to develop strategies for overcoming barriers that impede the participation of underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women in the workforce and in clinical trials
  • A novel data-driven team recommender system for assembling new multidisciplinary teams that will be tested and refined across multiple CTSAs

Connect with NUCATS Early and Often

NUCATS is here to help you identify the tools you need to create and execute successful research. We have one-on-one or group consultations available. Our team of Research Navigators can assist you at any stage of the biomedical research pipeline. For investigators in the planning stages of a new program or center grant, NUCATS offers clinical and translational Research Studio Consultations to identify relevant resources that can help support and enhance grant submissions.

Connect with NUCATS by:

Cite and Acknowledge the NEW CTSA Grant Number

Finally, please remember to cite the Institute’s new CTSA grant number (UL1TR001422) in your publications if you conduct research and have touched NUCATS in some way. Publications are the key metric that Congress, the NIH, and NU use to demonstrate effective use of grant funding. When you cite the NUCATS grant you help NU researchers continue to get essential clinical and translational research infrastructure, resources, and services, and you help yourself compete for federal funding by leveraging existing federal resources at NU.

Learn how to link your research results to the Institute’s new CTSA grant numbers here.