The CTN Pilot Study Program will duplicate all ofthe proven methods previously used in Phases I and II to determine which investigators are most likely to become independently funded following CTN support.
The aims of this program are:
Specific Aim 1 : Facilitating the generation of preliminary data for submission of novel grant applications by early stage and established investigators. While early stage investigators are targeted for selective development, some awards may be used to support particularly novel research by established individuals, as long as cutting-edge scientific criteria are met. The applications, as was the case for the first set of pilot studies selected (see below), will be reviewed and scored independently by the EAC.
Specific Aim 2 : Develop novel treatments and improved outcomes for neurological disorders. Given the translational mission ofthe CTN, we are interested in advancing the field of novel therapeutic interventions and improving outcomes, especially of underserved populations, and will target upgrading or expansion of Core Facilities to further this aim.
Specific Aim 3 : Implement the strategic plan (see Overview) to secure awards clustered around the missions of selected NIH institutes, e.g. NICHD, NINDS, in order to facilitate future P30 support. In order to develop a competitive application for future P30 support, a major requirement by most institutes is the required inclusion of a number of awards, usually at least five from the same institute that will be served by the P30. We have considerable strength in NICHD funding and may soon have a critical mass of awards in order to be competitive for a P30 award from that institute. However, we plan to guide our research by targeting another institute in whose area we some strengths, NINDS. The selection ofthe Pilot Study awards has already been undertaken by the EAC and these projects center on movement disorders. Given a few new awards, we should be competitive for support for a P30 from NINDS as well. The long-term plan, therefore, is to begin gathering the critical mass of awards for at least two P30 applications during the next 3-4 years.
Specific Aim 4 : Carry out a Program Evaluation of four major portions ofthe CTN, the Mentoring Plan, Leadership Program, Pilot Study Program, and Core Utilization. Data collection forms, interviews, meeting minutes, website database, conference evaluation forms, and satisfaction surveys will be used to evaluate program implementation and outcomes. Responses to evaluations will be drafted for the progress reports to the EAC and lAC. This process will optimize the effectiveness of each of the major elementis of the CTN, with the long-term goals of providing sufficient and convincing information, a) on substantive deviations from the outlined objectives, expected activities, time frames, or outcomes so that corrective actions promptly implemented, and b) facilitating the adoption ofthe program on an institution-wide basis.
These aims will cement a foundation for a self-sustaining and successful center that can compete successfully for P30 support.
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