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Take the TRAM!

Take the TRAM!

01 April 2023

Roy Harris, Senior Adviser for Translational Research, RDS East Midlands

There are many definitions of translational research, and they generally outline the need to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and clinical practice. Translational research has the potential to significantly improve human health outcomes by developing innovative treatments and therapies for a wide range of diseases and conditions. However, it requires a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach that involves researchers from various fields working together to translate scientific knowledge into practical applications.

For many researchers, and especially those new to this type of research, it can be a daunting prospect to work through the many elements of the innovation pathway. The applications for funding require the researcher to understand what is to be considered and addressed from proof of concept through to commercialisation/adoption and beyond.

This is where TRAM - the Translational Research Application Manager Toolkit  - comes in!

The TRAM toolkit has been developed to help deal with the complexities of translational research and application writing. It is a roadmap to assist new and experienced researchers to navigate the many elements of the translational research innovation pathway. The toolkit is primarily aimed at the NIHR Invention for Innovation funding streams and covers the requirements for writing high quality applications. It is also relevant to other translational research grants.

TRAM takes the researcher from their original idea through to outcomes and impact in small easy to navigate, 'bitesize' topics. The toolkit is introduced on the opening page where the researcher is presented with four buttons covering the main themes of an application that need to be considered.

Your Idea – Does your idea meet the criteria laid down by NIHR for funding?

Research Planning – Have you considered your team structure, aims, and objectives?

Project Planning – What work packages do you need?

Impact – Expected outcomes and short to long-term impact on patients and the healthcare system.

Clicking on these buttons will reveal what the researcher should think about. A further click takes you to the main page for that topic and outlines what the NIHR, as the funder, is looking for, what researchers should consider, and the supportive information, should help in responding to what the funder requires. Information about each topic is presented along with, where relevant, examples/case studies and references. Thus, the researcher can get a comprehensive outline of the application process.

The toolkit layout is such that the researcher can navigate through all of the topics, from start to finish, or be able to pick individual topics to review. The researcher can always return to these topics at any time without having to start from the beginning. The toolkit offers a starting point, and sufficient information, from which the researcher can expand their knowledge base.

An introductory video is available on the opening page to complement the toolkit and your local RDS is also on hand to help support you with the design of your translational research study and funding application. Please get in touch with us for our free and confidential advice and support and, together with the TRAM toolkit, we can hopefully help you on the path to your next successful application!

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