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Mike's Blog - March 2020

Improving What We Measure

There is a wise adage that: “what gets measured can be improved”. The process of translating science to improve health is full of inefficiencies including areas where slight improvements could have a large effect in helping expedite the discovery, development, demonstration and dissemination of scientific advances. 

Accrual in clinical trials is an area that has been recognized by NIH and other biomedical research entities as one of the top issues in translating science, from bench to bedside to communities.  Low accruing trials can drag on for longer periods, with added costs and delays in the benefit that participants, the public, and society could reap from these scientific/medical “experiments.” In the worst scenario, uncompleted trials – due to low enrollment – result in a waste of scientific, human and participant resources/time, with ethical, scientific and financial consequences.

To measure participant accrual and its efficiency Continue Reading


Spring CTSA Program Group Meetings Have Gone Virtual!

The NCATS Spring CTSA Program Meeting has shifted to virtual attendance only in light of the ongoing novel coronavirus public health emergency, the NIH announced Wednesday.

As the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to evolve, the NIH, is urging all large, non-mission-critical meetings and symposia that are scheduled to be held at NIH facilities or organized by the NIH over the next 30 days to either be held virtually, postponed, or canceled. While the Spring Meeting is scheduled after that 30-day period, NCATS, along with the CTSA Program Steering Committee and CLIC, opted for virtual attendance only in order to provide ample notice for participants — many of whom are coming from universities with travel restrictions that exceed the NIH’s recommendation.

Please refer to the CLIC webpage for updates on registration through ZOOM Video Conferencing. CLIC will also send an email to those who have already registered with ZOOM instructions.


Coronavirus Communication and Discussion Forum

NCATS and CLIC have teamed up to provide CTSA Program hubs opportunities to disseminate information about efforts they are undertaking in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). A Discussion Forum has been established for those interested in joining and identifying collaborations. Additionally CLIC has created a COVID-19 specific web page where hubs can obtain the latest information from the CDC, WHO, and NIH. Registered users may post any relevant COVID-19 news and educational information developed at their hub, be sure to tag your content with the "COVID-19" tag and also post comments/information on any related topic directly on the page.

Join the 2020 Biomedical Data Science Innovation Lab Challenges in Brain Analytics and Integration

A five-day residential workshop for neuroscientific quantitative and biomedical researchers July 20-24, 2020 Boar’s Head Resort Charlottesville, VA

We are asking all NIH-NCATS Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Directors to nominate two (2) distinct early-career investigators from a) the biomedical fields specifically including human neuroscience and b) the quantitative and data science disciplines to apply to attend this intensive residential workshop to foster the development of early-career biomedical and quantitative investigator teams. Review of nominations will be rigorous and not all candidates will be selected to attend. Travel and lodging expenses are fully covered for all participants.  All participants must commit to staying for the entire duration of the 5-day Biomedical Data Science Innovation Lab.

During the Biomedical Data Science Innovation Lab, professional facilitators assist the participants and accelerate the idea formulation process, while scientific experts serve as mentors and impartial referees. Working under the guidance of these mentors, participants will form teams during the workshop to develop interdisciplinary projects to solve mathematical challenges in the analytics of multimodal neuroscience data. The lab will include opportunities for learning about NIH and NSF funding through interaction with program officers. Teams are supported in the development of proposals for submission to funding agencies at the conclusion of the workshop. Application Deadline: 11:59PM Eastern Time, April 17, 2020. For more information please contact Sandra Burks. 


Let’s Create a DIAMOND Collaboration!

The DIAMOND project is interested in exploring collaborative opportunities between our respective CTSAs. 

DIAMOND is an NCATS-funded online learning community that showcases education and training resources for clinical and translational research professionals. The Diamond Portal is an online repository of competency-based education and training resources and assessment materials that have been developed and contributed by CTSA sites and partner organizations. The Portal is free for anyone to use, and continues to grow in both scope and reach. Since its launch in September 2018, the DIAMOND Portal has received more than 275 resources from 15 contributing CTSA institutions, clinical research professional associations, and private companies. In fact, DIAMOND has been accessed by individuals in more than 25 countries and currently has more than eight users a day visit the Portal. Diamond is aiming for a goal of having 20 more CTSA institutions upload at least five educational/assessment offerings to the DIAMOND Portal by the end of 2020 and wants your institution to be a part of this growing community supported by NCATS and CLIC.

View our instructional video or visit the Portal site to learn more about how to become a contributor. We also welcome your questions, so please email the DIAMOND Team. We look forward to working in partnership with you!

Join a Discussion Forum!

The Discussion Forums advance CTSA Program objectives in high priority areas in clinical and translational science through providing an open discussion platform for more specific, focused topic translational topics. Forums work collaboratively via a secure NCATS Google space and Google toolbox to advance CTSA Program objectives in high priority areas in clinical and translational science, or to develop plans for projects that fill identified gaps and/or further the program objectives through a work group proposal. NOTE: as with other program activities you cannot use a DF to develop a grant application or for discussion of funding.

There are currently 9 Discussion Forums created across the translational spectrum. To join a Discussion Forum and/or learn how to submit a request to create a new discussion forum, visit the Discussion Forum page on the CLIC website. For any questions about DFs or the application process, please contact NCATS at

CD2H Phase III has Launched!

CD2H is pleased to announce the projects for Phase III. Over 20 proposals, including ongoing infrastructure projects, were independently reviewed by a panel of community leaders, hub PIs, and the CD2H Steering Committee. Nine projects best fit the Phase III strategy, and will be facilitated within their respective CD2H cores under the direction of the core leaders, community co-chairs, and project leads. CD2H gratefully thanks everyone who submitted proposals and assisted in the review process. In Phase III, CD2H aims to enhance alignment with community needs, provide a balance of projects across CD2H community cores, and streamline the number of projects to ensure adequate resource allocation for project management and engagement. Projects that were not chosen for Phase III will be supported in their maturation and coordination by community cores and/or within the context of the Informatics Enterprise Committee (iEC). CD2H carries on the mission to change the culture of how data is shared across the Translational Research Community and strives to expand outreach for education, training, and leadership. CD2H thanks everyone for their dedicated work in the advancement of translational science.


Notice of Special Interest: Administrative Supplement for Research on Bioethical Issues (NOT-OD-20-038)

The NIH Office of Science Policy (OSP) within the Office of the Director (OD) announces the availability of administrative supplements to support research on bioethical issues to develop an evidence base that may inform future policy directions. Applicants may propose to supplement parent awards focused on bioethics or to add a component related to bioethics to a parent award in which bioethics was not the focus. Note that applications must be within the general scope of the parent award. All applications to this funding opportunity announcement should fall within the mission of the Institutes/Centers. Application Due Date(s) – March 20, 2020, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. 

Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Administrative Supplements to Support Enhancement of Software Tools for Open Science (NOT-OD-20-073)

This Notice announces the availability of administrative supplements to active grants that focus on biomedical software development or have a significant software development component. The goal of these supplements is to invest in research software tools with recognized value in a scientific community to enhance their impact by leveraging best practices in software development and advances in cloud computing. Administrative supplement requests may be submitted for the following activity codes: R01, U01, R03, R00, R21, R33, R35, R37, R61. To be eligible, the parent award must be able to receive funds in FY2020 (Oct. 1, 2019 - Sept. 30, 2020) and not be in the final year or in a no-cost extension period at the time of the award. One-time supplement budget requests cannot exceed $150,000 direct costs. Application Due Date(s) – May 15, 2020 by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

FY 2020 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Stipends, Tuition/Fees, and Other Budgetary Levels (NOT-OD-20-070)

This Notice supersedes NOT-OD-19-036 and establishes stipend levels for fiscal year (FY) 2020 Kirschstein-NRSA awards for undergraduate, predoctoral, and postdoctoral trainees and fellows. In addition, the Training Related Expenses and the Institutional Allowance for postdoctoral trainees and fellows have been increased. The Training Related Expenses and Institutional Allowances for predoctoral trainees and fellows and the Tuition and Fees for all educational levels remain unchanged.


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