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To Work Toward

The multi-million dollar Clinical and Translational Science Awards from the US National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences fund infrastructure, training, and more to improve clinical and translational research, and, as ScienceInsider reports, there have been efforts to improve the CTSA program itself.

Nearly a year ago, a report from the Institute of Medicine recommended that the program be streamlined and that formal, standard evaluation processes for CTSAs and the CTSA program need to be established, among others.

A new draft report from the NCATS Advisory Council Working Group outlines four goals — workforce development, collaboration and engagement, integration, and methods and processes — and measurable outcomes linked to each of those goals. For instance, ScienceInsider notes that to expand their collaborations, CTSAs could improve ways to identify and work with various stakeholders, including patient groups or the Food and Drug Administration.

This report, though, ScienceInsider says, does not detail how CTSAs would be evaluated. It, rather, is "a template for metrics and evaluation," says working group co-chair Mary Disis from the University of Washington.