Mallory Powell

Pilot Funding Program Supports Innovation, Community Engagement, and Research Infrastructure

Published: Mar 25, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 25, 2014) — Translational research — the process of moving a laboratory discovery into clinical applications — is a long and complex process requiring diverse expertise, ranging from basic science and regulatory affairs to participant recruitment and clinical application. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it can take more than a decade for a lab discovery to result in a new treatment, medical device, or prevention method. Yet, despite extensive training for basic scientists and clinicians in their specific fields, few researchers have the training, experience, and resources to successfully initiate and complete the "bench to bedside" process of translational studies.

 

Enter the Pilot Funding Program of the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS).  Established in 2006, the Pilot Program provides funding and multidisciplinary research support for preliminary and proof-of-concept studies in translational science.  The program received a significant boost in 2011 when the CCTS earned a $20 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the NIH. The CTSA program aims to improve human health by transforming research and training environments to enhance the efficiency and quality of clinical and translational research, and the Pilot Program is one of the primary methods through which the CCTS achieves this goal.  It provides far more than funding — awardees receive guidance and mentorship from protocol development to project evaluation. And the evolution of an integrated, multidisciplinary Pilot Program — involving not just CCTS but other UK centers and academic medical institutions — has enhanced research collaborations and infrastructure at UK and beyond.

 

"We are here to break research silos and to help our basic scientists, clinicians, and communities work together because there's no other way to truly advance science if different types of expertise don't collaborate. That's our mission," said Elodie Elayi, pilot program coordinator and director of research development at the CCTS.

 

The CCTS pilot program includes several different funding streams to support community engagement, drug development, high impact studies, novel methodologies, junior faculty, disease-specific research, and collaborative research. Priority areas include development of enabling technologies, new therapies, diagnostics, and novel cross-disciplinary collaborative programs that address the health and health care needs of the people of Appalachia.

 

The varied funding streams support diverse areas of research from investigators with varying levels of research experience. 

 

"For junior investigators it provides them an opportunity to launch their research program," said Tom Curry, director of the pilot program.  "For established investigators it provides them an avenue to explore new areas of investigation, to potentially generate findings for a high risk/high reward study which may not have a platform for funding through the normal channels, or to forge new collaborations to expand their research programs."

 

Regardless of the type of award, pilot investigators benefit from a robust support infrastructure designed to ensure that their study is successful. A multidisciplinary intake meeting with directors of relevant CCTS core services (such as biomedical informatics, participant recruitment, clinical services, or community engagement) serves as an immediate opportunity get expert feedback on protocols and budgets, anticipate challenges, and connect with needed resources.

 

"We don't just give money, but we also support investigators to overcome any issues," said Elayi. "We start the process on a positive note to be sure that everything is in place for the project to work."

 

Pilot investigators also have a face-to-face progress meeting halfway through their project to ensure that everything is on track and address any problems.

 

"When we first started doing this, we didn't have the face-to-face progress meeting, and we'd find out nine months in that there were problems," Elayi said.

  

The success of the CCTS Pilot Program led other UK centers, as well as outside institutions like Marshall University, to integrate their pilot programs with the CCTS pilot infrastructure. CCTS now operates a consolidated model that matches funds and manages the pilot programs of the Markey Cancer Center, Barnstable Brown Kentucky Diabetes and Obesity Center, Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, and Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center. A single request for applications is issued, and advertising of pilot opportunities is consolidated on the CCTS website. Then, a standing committee of 15 NIH-funded experts representing various departments/colleges reviews the proposals, providing NIH-format review and constructive feedback to applicants. This integrated approach leverages funding to increase the number of awards and enhances the overall research structure at UK and beyond by facilitating efficiency, standardization, transparency and collaboration.

 

 

And there's a significant return on investment: Since 2006, $2.2 million has been invested in the 90 studies supported by the pilot program, and 12 of the pilot projects subsequently received NIH awards that brought an additional $14 million in research funding to UK.

 

To further support innovative, community-engaged research, CCTS is currently reviewing applications for community-academic partnership stimulation, in conjunction with the Appalachian Translational Research Network (ATRN). The program will provide $100,000 over two years to a pilot project (to be announced in April) that develops or strengthens sustainable, joint partnerships between academic researchers and community stakeholders for translational research regarding health disparities in Appalachian Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia.

 

"This is the first time we've put out a call for proposals specifically for sustainable partnership," said Curry.  "The idea is that the infrastructure that will come out of the project will stay in place after the funding period."

 

It's also the first pilot funding opportunity from CCTS to require that projects have a community advisory board and that responsibility for the study is shared between the academic and community partners.

 

"So many projects fail because there's no penetration into the community. Collaboration is key," Elayi said.

 

Experts from partnering institutions — West Virginia University, Morehead State University, Ohio University — and community partners will form the review committee for this particular funding award.

 

 "Because of the diverse academic and community expertise, the reviews provided for by the committee can really help to mentor those investigators to improve the quality of project and have real impact in a community" said Curry. 

 

While only one project will be funded, Curry sees this funding opportunity as a building block for future collaborations as well.

 

"We'll fund a single project, but hopefully we'll have started a conversation between UK and community partners that will lead to other things," he said.

 

This ripple effect of the Pilot Program — across UK, other academic medical institutions, and communities — is perhaps its most profound hallmark, as it enhances the overall research enterprise and process to advance medical discoveries and improve lives.

 

"We've touched a lot of people's lives, and hopefully they can act as a catalyst within their departments and universities," Curry said.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell, Mallory.powell@uky.edu

 

3-25_uknow_feature1.jpg
March
1
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sun
2
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Resume & Cover Letters that Work
Mon
3
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Grad Salute
2nd Annual UK Work-Life Summer Camps Fair
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Keeping Your Brain Healthy
Successful Networking & Job Search
Guest Lecture
Documentary Screening: "Forgotten Wars, Forgotten Victims"
Bangladeshi Garment Worker Speak Out
A Reading by Nic Brown
CatWatch Party #3
Tue
4
LNFS Presents: The Mighty Ducks
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Internship Info Session
Grad Salute
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Art Therapy Table
OUTspoken with J Mase III
CANCELED: Appalachian Forum with Crystal Wilkinson entitled: Birds of Opulence: Black Women, Madness, and Resilience in Appalachia
Wed
5
LNFS Presents: Typeface
LNFS Presents: Space Jam
Grad Salute
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Food for Hope
Thu
6
LNFS Presents: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
LNFS Presents: Pokémon: The First Movie
Cultural Coffee Hour
Grad Salute
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Japan Today
Fri
7
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Karnival Around The World
Graduate & Professional School Prep:KAPLAN Free Practice Test for MCAT and LSAT
PharmD Open House
Sat
8
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sun
9
Midterm of 2015 Spring Semester
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
GUEST LECTURE
Appalachian Forum with Rebecca Klenk, Topic: Global Uttarakhand: Development, Neoliberalism and Social Justice in Himalayan India
Ballroom Thieves
Mon
10
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Job Club: Staying Positive During A Job Search
Massage on the Go #2
Tue
11
LNFS Presents: Only Lovers Left Alive
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Jin Shin Jyutsu Self-Help Class
Leadership Assessment
#TrendingTopics: Immunization
True Songs
Wed
12
LNFS Presents: Into the Woods
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Free Spring Break Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
LNFS Presents: Waiting for 'Superman'
Thu
13
LNFS Presents: Vertigo
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Free Spring Break Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
LNFS Presents: Trainspotting
Fri
14
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sat
15
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sun
16
Spring 2015 Spring Vacation
Mon
17
Spring 2015 Spring Vacation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Tue
18
Spring 2015 Spring Vacation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wed
19
Spring 2015 Spring Vacation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Thu
20
Spring 2015 Spring Vacation
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Plating Design Demonstration with Dan Wu
Fri
21
Spring 2015 Spring Vacation
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sat
22
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sun
23
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
"Thrive: The Kentucky Wine Tradition" Documentary Screening
Mon
24
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Job Club: A Snapshot of the Central Kentucky Labor Market
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 1 p.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 2 p.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 3 p.m.
Kentucky Teacher's Network Career Fair
Tue
25
LNFS Presents: Rear Window
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Internship Info Session
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Healthy Smoothie Demonstration
Cultural Diversity Festival: Ten Thousand Villages
Virtual Dementia Tour
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 1 p.m.
Healthy Smoothie Demonstration
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 2 p.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 3 p.m.
Barred for Life: A Conversation on Mass Incarceration
Women of the World: Rosario Dawson
Wed
26
LNFS Presents: The Imitation Game
LNFS Presents: Blade Runner
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Student & Employer Mixer
Young Artists Exhibit Reception
Thu
27
LNFS Presents: Psycho
LNFS Presents: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
UK Woman's Club Craft and Bake Sale
Northeast Florida’s Late Archaic Mortuary Mounds: Memory, Community, and Environment.
Fri
28
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sat
29
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Lion King Trip
The Voice of Lexington Chinese Singing Competetion
Sun
30
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Mon
31
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
A Reading by Jim Gavin
Tue
 
 
 
 
Mar 31
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation 03/31/2015

Tue, 03/31/2015

Wed, 04/01/2015

Repeats every week until Thu Apr 30 2015 except Wed Mar 18 2015.
Wed, 04/01/2015

Repeats every week until Wed May 06 2015 except Wed Mar 18 2015.
Wed, 04/01/2015

Reset Page