We, Arthur Blank and Julie Rainwater, are pleased to introduce a new Translational Research Evaluation Special Interest Group (SIG). The SIG is part of the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) and provides a forum for all aspects of evaluation related to clinical and translational science. The ACTS SIG recognizes organizations involved in translational science as diverse and their “evaluators” may not necessarily identify themselves as professionals in the field of evaluation. Thus, our membership includes administrators, faculty, clinicians, librarians, biomedical scientists, and other stakeholders in translational research and workforce development. The SIG, like its AEA partner TIG, offers its members the opportunity to share mutual interests, evaluation expertise, resources, and materials. Our work is closely coordinated with the AEA TIG and the diverse membership across both groups provides access to a valuable practice community that can share experiences and challenges.
We are off to a great start. The ACTS Translational Science 2015 meeting in Washington DC in April hosted a first-ever “evaluation” track sponsored by the SIG. Judging by the high attendance and lively discussion at the two evaluation-relevant panels, this track is likely to be a feature of subsequent annual meetings.
Lesson Learned: We walked away from this meeting with a few lessons to guide us moving forward. The first panel, “Classifying Publications along the Translational Science Spectrum: A Machine Learning Approach,” provided an opportunity for us to learn state-of-the-art approaches for how Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) organizations analyze publications to understand the progress of discoveries through the stages of translation to implementation. The second panel, “The Role of Evaluation in Translational Science Organizations,” was a unique opportunity for us to hear what current leaders of the CTSA Domain Task Forces and NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) representatives think about the evolving role of evaluation. The discussion about the future of CTSA evaluation was beneficial to all of us, including NCATS, as we consider how evaluation can help move the translational research enterprise in the right direction.
Over the next few months we will transition to new SIG leadership and start planning for the ACTS Translational Science 2016 conference. We are looking forward to building on the 2015 meeting, as well as the opportunity to gather at the AEA conference in November 2015. (See you in Chicago!)
Rad Resource: For those interested in joining the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS), as well as learning about the various activities those engaged in translational science are involved with visit the ACTS web site.
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