The University of California Biomedical Research Acceleration, Integration, and Development program (UC BRAID) and Stanford University have formed an alliance to combine resources and develop a coordinated approach to research targeting the health of Californians – a partnership that can serve as a model for collaborations throughout the country.
The five UC BRAID campuses will expand the BRAID network to include Stanford, building upon the many advances already in place. This partnership will leverage the multiple institutional strengths in research infrastructure while amplifying the impact of federal and other public and private funding.
— Lars Berglund
UC BRAID is a consortium of five University of California campuses (Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco) that receives funding from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). UC BRAID’s early successes in sharing data and infrastructure, such as the cohort identification tool UC ReX (UC Research eXchange) and streamlined research processes, serve as models of the shared benefit of a statewide collaboration.
Stanford will now join the UC BRAID community and contribute to the development of widely applicable solutions for common barriers to efficient research. Planned collaborations include expanding participant recruitment capabilities, improving interactions with healthcare industry partners, and enhancing regulatory efficiency.
“In the emerging era of team science and big data, we could hardly enjoy a greater opportunity to advance medicine for the benefit of all Californians than to partner with our colleagues at UC biomedical research centers,” said Mark Cullen and Harry Greenberg, co-directors of Spectrum, Stanford’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) institution.
One topical collaboration is focused on preparing for the upcoming NIH mandate requiring a single human subjects protection review for federally-funded multisite research. The new partnership will allow Stanford and UC campuses to adapt to this shifting regulatory landscape while collectively conserving critical resources.
The alliance encompasses health systems that include millions of patients across the state. By developing participant recruitment tools and research resources in tandem, the consortium anticipates engaging California’s diverse population through traditional and emerging strategies, such as social media and online recruitment registries.
“This type of partnership addresses the present and future needs to leverage resources and bring knowledge and tools together to help solve the considerable challenges we face in improving the health of all Americans,” said Lars Berglund, UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center and outgoing UC BRAID chair. “We strongly believe that together, the University of California and Stanford University can point to a partnership that is a powerful national model.”
Rachael Sak, UC BRAID director, explains: “Our common goal is to improve health. By sharing resources and our collective expertise, we can accelerate our progress and deliver cutting-edge treatments to patients sooner and more effectively than we could alone.”
While the partnership is already bearing fruit, leaders from the six institutions see this as a stepping-stone toward further collaboration. Summarizing the potential, Steven Dubinett, director of the CTSA at UCLA and incoming chair of UC BRAID said, “Enhancing our capacity for creative team science across our campuses will afford new opportunities to translate the most important research discoveries to the benefit of all of our communities.”