The Pilot Studies Component identifies, supports and advances high quality, state-of-the-art proposals to promote awardees? competitive applications for federally funded, priority LHS rehabilitation research.
The specific aims of the Pilot Studies Program are to: 1) solicit, review, and fund meritorious applications essential for generating preliminary data to support long-term funding streams in the development and advancement of innovative rehabilitation practices and 2) provide early, frequent and continuous scientific and practice-driven mentoring and administrative oversight to pilot awardees to ensure their long-term sustainable funding. We will elicit and fund pilot studies from rehabilitation investigators across the country, enabling them to obtain preliminary data, technical skills and the guidance needed to design, evaluate and implement learning health systems (LHS) research projects. Selection of pilot studies for funding will emphasize projects that have high relevance to the LeaRRN?s theme(s) and give preference to investigators outside of the LeaRRN?s home institutions to broaden and deepen the network of independent researchers. The pilot grant review process will not only focus on the novelty and quality of the research and investigator, but also on its practical implications in hastening the translation of evidence into practice (i.e. significance) within the learning health system and the investigators? likelihood of garnering further federal funding (i.e. sustainability). We will follow a rigorous stakeholder engaged process to identify questions and topics of high priority to health systems, pair the most promising applicants with mentors and health systems to develop proposals that target these priorities and solicit letters of intent. The Stakeholder engagement activities early in the project period, as well as annually thereafter, will deliver a list of high priority questions and topics. From this list, we will connect suitable researchers and learning health systems to address specific questions under a priority area and support their development of the pilot grant application. The LeaRRN Executive Committee will select the most meritorious proposals through an NIH-style, rigorous peer review. For funded pilots we will track progress through six month and 12 month progress reports to ensure successful launch, ensure safety and protection of human subjects and mediate potential challenges or pitfalls in time to redirect the project to a successful end. We will track all deliverables counted as presentations, publications and subsequent funding and evaluate whether the LHS successfully adopted or modified practice as a result of this collaboration. We have identified one pilot study to be funded in this first year of the award to ensure a quick and effective start to our work. Drs. Theresa Shireman and Linda Resnik will oversee the Pilot Studies Program. The mentored Pilot Studies Program is a vital testing ground for talented researchers to work directly with health systems and mentors to fine tune LHS rehabilitation research projects. Small, early successes strengthen skills and knowledge and will lead to better targeted research proposals for future innovation in rehabilitation research.

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Brown University
United States
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