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URMC / Clinical & Translational Science Institute / Stories / July 2020 / UR CTSI Receives Another $24M to Help Researchers Translate Discoveries into Health Improvements

UR CTSI Receives Another $24M to Help Researchers Translate Discoveries into Health Improvements

The University of Rochester Clinical and Translational Science Institute (UR CTSI) has been awarded its fourth consecutive Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS). This new award brings UR CTSI’s total funding from NCATS to $132 million, dating back to 2006 when it became one of the first 12 institutions in the nation to receive one of these awards.

“Our grant received a nearly perfect score, which is almost unheard of,” said Martin Zand, M.D., Ph.D., UR CTSI co-director and senior associate dean for Clinical Research at URMC. “That score and the fact that we were awarded nearly all of the funds we asked for is a testament to our incredible team and our broader research workforce.”

Though the grant proposal was written in the summer of 2019, its central theme, “research without walls” is eerily prescient for the current coronavirus pandemic and world of virtual work.  With the new grant, the UR CTSI will move beyond the physical confines of institutions to help researchers conduct studies remotely, integrate research with clinical practice and break down barriers to diversify our research workforce.

“Long before COVID-19 began spreading around the globe, the UR CTSI was working to address critical issues that slow or impede research,” said Nancy Bennett, M.D., co-director of the UR CTSI and director of the Center for Community Health and Prevention at URMC. “The current crisis highlights the important work of our faculty, students and staff.”

With the new award, the UR CTSI will continue to provide crucial support for research across the university through 2025. 

Bringing research to the community

Before a global pandemic forced the world to stay home, the UR CTSI was working on ways to bring research to the community. To help more people – and a more diverse set of people – participate in health research, the UR CTSI plans to improve the university’s remote research capability and to build a research bus that can bring the research clinic to the community. This will help researchers across the university connect with Black, Latinx, Deaf, pediatric, elderly and rural communities that experience health disparities and are typically underrepresented in health research. This effort joins other UR CTSI innovations, including remote research testing, wearable research devices, and tele-research visits.

Integrating research with clinical practice

Over the next five years, the UR CTSI will build a “learning health system” in which researchers, clinicians and diverse communities work together to identify health challenges and build solutions that the community and health system can easily adopt. Beyond connecting the people behind research and medicine, the UR CTSI is also actively working on integrating the data from each of those realms, giving researchers a broader view and helping them connect dots they might not have otherwise seen.

Including diverse voices and viewpoints in research

In addition to ensuring diversity among research participants, the UR CTSI is renewing its commitment to diversifying the research workforce. The institute will work to break down the “walls” that keep members of the Black and Latinx communities, women and people with disabilities from advancing in biomedical research careers. In the coming years, the UR CTSI vows to recruit more faculty and students from underrepresented groups and to build a more inclusive and welcoming environment in which a diverse workforce can thrive. 

Learn more in the URMC Newsroom.

Susanne Pritchard Pallo | 7/21/2020

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