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Commercializing biomedical discoveries is a challenging process for many reasons. However, Academic Medical Centers (AMC) that have teaching, patient care, research, and service engrained in their mission are well poised to host these discoveries. These academic discoveries can lead to improvement in patient health and economic development if supported to cross the “valley of death” through institutional assistance, by providing guidance, gap funding and product development expertise. Colorado has a vibrant local startup ecosystem, state support for commercialization and entrepreneurship as well as critical mass of product development expertise. University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, as a major AMC, is an engine for growth for the region. This article discusses innovation efforts at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus as a case study, which is built around two major efforts: the CCTSI and CU Innovations. I-Corps at CCTSI and the SPARK|REACH program of CU Innovations have been instrumental in fostering innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship on the campus.
Little is known about practices used to disseminate findings to non-research, practitioner audiences. This study describes the perspectives, experience and activities of dissemination & implementation (D&I) scientists around disseminating their research findings.
The study explored D&I scientists’ experiences and recommendations for assessment of dissemination activities to non-research audiences. Existing list serves were used to recruit scientists. Respondents were asked three open-ended questions on an Internet survey about dissemination activities, recommendations for changing evaluation systems and suggestions to improve their own dissemination of their work.
Surveys were completed by 159 scientists reporting some training, funding and/or publication history in D&I. Three themes emerged across each of the three open-ended questions. Question 1 on evaluation generated the themes of: 1a) promotional review; 1b) funding requirements and 1c) lack of acknowledgement of dissemination activities. Question 2 on recommended changes generated the themes of: 2a) dissemination as a requirement of the academic promotion process; 2b) requirement of dissemination plan and 2c) dissemination metrics. Question 3 on personal changes to improve dissemination generated the themes of: 3a) allocation of resources for dissemination activities; 3b) emerging dissemination channels and 3c) identify and address issues of priority for stakeholders.
Our findings revealed different types of issues D&I scientists encounter when disseminating findings to clinical, public health or policy audiences and their suggestions to improve the process. Future research should consider key requirements which determine academic promotion and grant funding as an opportunity to expand dissemination efforts.
A key barrier to translation of biomedical research discoveries is a lack of understanding among scientists regarding the complexity and process of implementation. To address this challenge, the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps™ (I-Corps™) program trains researchers in entrepreneurship. We report results from the implementation of an I-Corps™ training program aimed at biomedical scientists from institutions funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).
National/regional instructors delivered 5-week I-Corps@NCATS short courses to 62 teams (150 individuals) across six institutions. Content included customer discovery, value proposition, and validating needs. Teams interviewed real-life customers and presented the value of innovations for specific end-users weekly, culminating in a “Finale” featuring their refined business thesis and business model canvas. Methodology was developed to evaluate the newly adapted program. National mixed-methods evaluation assessed program implementation, reach, effectiveness using observations of training delivery and surveys at Finale (n = 55 teams), and 3–12 months post-training (n = 34 teams).
Innovations related to medical devices (33%), drugs/biologics (20%), software applications (16%), and diagnostics (8%). An average of 24 interviews was conducted. Teams reported increased readiness for commercialization over time (83%, 9 months; 14%, 3 months). Thirty-nine percent met with institutional technology transfer to pursue licensing/patents and 24% pursued venture capital/investor funding following the short courses.
I-Corps@NCATS training provided the NCATS teams a rigorous and repeatable process to aid development of a business model based on customer needs. Outcomes of this pilot program support the expansion of I-Corps™ training to biomedical scientists for accelerating research translation.
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