CER Symposium Equips Researchers for Success

More than 200 UCSF faculty and local partners gathered on January 16th at the UCSF Laurel Heights campus for the 2014 CTSI Symposium on Comparative Effectiveness Research. The focus of the annual event, which is sponsored by UCSF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), was Getting Your Research Funded by PCORI – A View from the Inside.

Organizers designed the day’s activities to help participants better understand the inner workings of PCORI, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. PCORI is authorized by Congress to conduct research to provide information about the best available evidence to help patients and their health care providers make more informed decisions. In its latest round of funding, the Institute awarded five awards to investigators at UCSF.

Mary Whooley, MD, a professor in residence at the UCSF School of Medicine and one of the panelists at the event, offered insights as a previous symposium attendee who went on to receive a PCORI contract.

Referencing the theme of “See One, Do One, Teach One”, she noted the value of the symposium in equipping her with knowledge that she then applied to her successful proposal.

“With more than 200 people in attendance—twice last year’s number—it’s clear that there’s a real interest in comparative effectiveness research and PCORI funding,” said Michael Steinman, MD, Director of CTSI’s Comparative Effectiveness Research program.

“PCORI is unique in several ways, including that its review panels comprise not only scientific reviewers, but also patients and other stakeholders,” he said. “Events such as this provide an important opportunity to share experiences and information, and to equip researchers for success.”

Special guest David Hickman, MD, MPH, Director of PCORI’s Clinical Effectiveness Research Program, highlighted future directions for PCORI funding and detailed suggestions for applicants about responding to specific application criteria.

He also fielded questions from the audience, addressing issues related to application review strategies, definitions of stakeholders and patients, and how PCORI is organized.

The audience also heard from UCSF’s Dean Schillinger, MD, a previous chair/moderator of a PCORI review panel, who offered a behind-the-scenes perspective on the review and scoring process. In particular, he noted the importance of writing proposals with a non-scientist, lay audience in mind.

Recordings from the 2014 Symposium will be available soon. Click here for CER resources and more information on CTSI’s CER program. 

UCSF's CTSI is a member of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards network funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (grant Number UL1 TR000004) at the National Institutes of Health. Under the banner of "Accelerating Research to Improve Health," CTSI provides a wide range of resources and services for researchers, and promotes online collaboration and networking tools such as UCSF Profiles.