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Collaboration and Program Development

Network Collaboration Processes

Each of the domains listed tends to attract and aggregate research projects of kindred design and somewhat similar resource needs for their execution. However, each domain is a federating unit within the broad clinical research enterprise at UT and must, therefore, exercise and demonstrate a commitment to the unified vision of UTHSC as an environment for the successful and safe conduct of flourishing clinical research projects. Inculcating such a common vision requires a deliberate practice of encouraging interaction and sharing of resources among researchers engaged in the various domains. Specific strategies and tools for promoting a shared vision and interaction could include:

  • Organization of periodic joint technical meetings
  • Joint training activities on regulatory and research-related issues
  • Creation of shared recruitment support and tracking platform
  • Research jump-start assistance and mentoring programs across domains
  • A bi-monthly or quarterly Newsletter, with content input from all domains
  • Annual networking retreat and socialization ceremony

External Program Development

A challenge for conducting clinical and translational research in large networks is proactively managing information flow such that opportunities are identified and matched to expertise during the planning stage. This challenge is bi-directional. Local investigators at UTHSC with interest and expertise in particular areas may be unaware of networks or consortia that are conducting clinical trials in that area; similarly, national or regional groups planning trials may be unaware of the expertise, the interest, or the patient substrate available locally in the mid-South region for particular studies. To overcome these challenges, a successful communication exchange will be accomplished via “push-pull” marketing strategies will be developed and made available to interested network partners. A  targeted mix of methods are available to identify opportunities and engage investigators and collaborators with the aim to make potential partners aware of strengths and opportunities locally, as well as with other national networks, consortia, and pharmaceutical firms for the same purpose. Additionally, the collaboration process can monitor and explore opportunities for UTHSC investigators to become involved in multi-site studies and identify grant opportunities to support research in their areas of interest. A database of current UTHSC investigators, interests, and projects will be maintained and used both in promotion and in identification of matching partners.

Additionally, the federated model allows and encourages the creation and development of external research programs either within or external to the existing research domains detailed in this packet, but with support from the broader program and invitation to share resources and contribute to strategic vision. Existing domains and the Clinical Trials Governance Board are committed to the creation and facilitation of a broad range of potential research collaborations with varying degrees of operational support throughout the region, and will continue to develop mechanisms to respond to and create requests for synergy from the individual investigator, the local institution, and from regional and distant research programs.

May 26, 2022