Director's Message

Accelerating Discovery Through a Forum of Support

The 2006 creation of the Children’s Discovery Institute (CDI) and the 2007 launch of the National Institutes of Health-supported Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS) have made for exciting times for medical researchers throughout the Washington University School of Medicine campus. Through their shared goal of accelerating the development of high-impact research and its clinical translation from the bench to the bedside, the CDI and the ICTS have invigorated researchers. The result has been new ideas, synergistic collaborations and, with the 2013 formation of the Research Forum-Child Health (RF-CH), unparalleled support for investigators.

The RF-CH comprises a multi-disciplinary team tasked with examining research proposals and helping investigators identify key roadblocks, milestones, collaborations and funding strategies. Since its creation, the RF-CH team has met with 22 investigators – 12 from the School of Medicine’s department of pediatrics; and 10 from medicine, microbiology, OB/GYN, radiology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, neurology and psychiatry

To date, the RF-CH has provided research personnel support to four projects, approximately $86,700 in seed funds to six projects, helped secure one new CDI grant and one Gerber Foundation grant. Best of all, the investigators have come out of the process with direction regarding the collection of more data and suggestions for broadening collaborations and refining their research ideas. In one case, genomic consultation was recommended to develop an optimal experimental strategy moving forward.

What has been the most gratifying to the RF-CH team are the comments received from the investigators after analyzing their research design and making recommendations. 

“Overall, the RF-CH saved me considerable time and forced me to collect additional data that made the grant submission much more competitive,” wrote one pediatric research investigator.”

Another wrote: “The RF-CH was a fantastic experience. I was very pleased with the process and the mentoring I received. The process could not have been any better, and I plan to revisit the team following additional project design discussions.”

So what’s next for the RF-CH? Through its continued partnership with the CDI, the team will continue giving researchers the advice needed to move their ideas forward for the health of children worldwide.

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