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Investing in Biomedical Discovery


By Paul B. Rothman, M.D.

Enhancing the Approach to Biomedical Research

Innovation is part of the culture at Johns Hopkins Medicine. In our five-year strategic plan, one of our priorities is enhancing our approach to biomedical discovery.

Specifically, we strive to become the exemplary model for biomedical research and have outlined a bold new path with goals to advance and integrate discovery, innovation, translation, and dissemination.

Now that we are at the halfway mark of the first year of the Strategic Plan rollout, we are pleased to share some progress.

The Johns Hopkins Medicine Research Council, established to guide our overall research strategy, recently convened with representatives from most of the school of medicine departments and institutes present.

The council's immediate attention is on designing programs to improve success with National Institutes of Health grants and identifying strategies to access alternative funding sources, as well as creating systems to better quantify the impact of our research and developing a governance model for the oversight and administration of its funding.

Creation of the Discovery Fund

As part of these efforts, we have recently created a new, transformative Discovery Fund, which will support novel, synergistic, collaborative proposals from school of medicine investigators.

The fund will draw from industry, the university and philanthropy while asking for commitment of a certain percentage of Johns Hopkins Medicine revenues each year, and will be distributed by our research council-including expert advisers from outside-to support bold new initiatives, pilot programs and mini-sabbaticals, and bridge funding for ongoing studies.

Among other benefits, this fund will help guarantee there is ample backing for basic science, which can take decades to bear fruit, but which drives the progress of medicine. Funding begins this July.

Streamlining the Grant Proposal and Research Agreement Process

Finally, we have a forthcoming plan to reorganize the Office of Research Administration so that processing grant proposals and research agreements is a more efficient process. Our staff members who handle grants will be able to take advantage of additional training programs that will enhance the grant application and investigator experience.

Johns Hopkins Medicine remains at the research forefront within the academic medical center community. But innovation isn't just limited to biomedical discovery. We have to consider our processes and continually devise new ways to be more effective in leading the nation in this area and delivering on the promise of medicine.

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