A Message from Ted Wun, Associate Dean for Research
UC Davis Health System has enjoyed a period of tremendous growth in its research enterprise, with over 1,000 basic-science, translational and clinical research studies under way. Over the past decade, the health system had a higher rate of rise in extramural research funding than any other medical school.
The School of Medicine Office of Sponsored Programs is striving to consolidate and continue this growth through strategic initiatives that will promote not only increased quantity, but a higher quality and stronger impact of our research.
All research, but especially clinical and translational research, has become more complex and specialized. As we focus on Goal 4 of the health system, Strategic Plan —high-impact research — we realized that first we needed to ensure we have an outstanding research administration. Achieving cross-causeway collaboration with our colleagues in the Office of Research was essential. To this end, we teamed up with Executive Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Administration Cindy Kiel to work together on making improvements to facilitate the research administration process. We formed a team to identify challenges, propose solutions and implement changes.
In little over a year, achievements of this working group include:
- Institutional Review Board
- Standard operating procedures for the IRB have been completely revised and have led to an improved level of service to the clinical and social-sciences research faculty. A new director of the IRB, Daniel Redline, has been hired.
- The significant backlog of studies awaiting expedited review has been eliminated and new mechanisms are in place to allow for quicker turnaround times for protocols that require full board review.
- A formal application has been submitted for accreditation by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs.
- Development of pre- and post-award process maps
- Functional process maps and guides have been put in place to help the administrative infrastructure for clinical research. These process maps are being expanded to grant-proposal submissions (NIH, state, non-profit sponsors).
- The UC Davis Clinical Research Guidebook has been published.
Important advancements are still being made, including an electronic submission process for grants, access to the grant status and integration with other systems.
These improvements in our research administrative infrastructure will allow the health system to continue as a leader in research that helps to improve lives and transform health care. While external research funding continues to be a highly competitive process, we continue to see numerous successes. Some recent examples include:
- $1 million grant from The John Merck Fund to support MIND Institute researchers to study cognitive training in children with Fragile X.
- $175,000 from Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy to Craig McDonald, professor and chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, to better understand the progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
- Three UC Davis researchers, James Marcin, Joo Song, and Elisa Tong, received fellowship awards from UC’s Innovation Center to improve the quality and value of care.
Moving forward, it will be imperative to facilitate the collaboration and strategic partnership with our industry partners to continue our innovative research and provide increased start-up opportunities for our faculty. Our phase II implementation team for Strategic Plan Goal 4.4 — Collaborations and Partnerships — led by Len Abbeduto and Doug Boyd, is beginning to examine where improvements can be made to facilitate this process. Again, we’ve continued our collaboration with our partners from the Davis campus by including individuals from technology management and corporate relations on our teams.
The performance of high-impact, high-quality research remains at the core of an academic medical center and is inextricably intertwined with the missions of education and clinical care. Indeed, the research mission clearly differentiates us from our regional clinical competition. Research also serves as an important economic engine for our community. All faculty and staff have an important role to play in supporting the research mission of the University of California.
Associate Dean for Research
UC Davis School of Medicine