Centralized data is a key component to any successful organization. For academic research institutions, data related to grants, pilot projects, publications and investigators can be used to provide valuable insights into the value of their research. While many institutions track this data, it’s often scattered across many teams and stored in different formats. This makes efficient, accurate reporting difficult.
Why track this data?
Aside from standard reports required for Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) and Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) application and renewals, data related to your research return on investment (ROI) can help identify successful programs and team members and highlight collaboration throughout your institution. It can allow your institution to track pilot programs and quickly gain visibility into the publications and additional funding that resulted from that pilot. Some examples of questions that many researchers aim to answer include:
- How many projects did each core support last year?
- How did our institution leverage previous grant funding?
- What key accomplishments can be linked to a specific program, investigator or department?
This data is invaluable to operational leadership, and can be used to make key administrative decisions. However, Forte’s recent State of the Industry report showed that data management is a key pain point for many institutions. Although the industry has built many efficiencies and standards around clinical data, tracking operational data remains difficult.
Building a system to evaluate your research data
Though an off-the-shelf product hasn’t previously existed for centralizing this data, some institutions have created homegrown solutions that address the problem. These systems range from a simple database to hold funding and/or publication data, to more sophisticated solutions that allow staff to automatically pull publications from PubMed, prepare reports for the NCI and NIH and more.
These homegrown systems have brought researchers closer to successfully addressing the issues around tracking their research performance. However, there are a few drawbacks to this approach. While these systems may initially meet the specific needs of the institution, ever-evolving funding guidelines and reporting needs can quickly make the software obsolete. Also, internal IT resource constraints can limit many institutions’ ability to maintain the system to meet their evolving needs.
In order to help address these issues industry-wide, Forte collaborated with researchers to create the Research Evaluation System (EVAL), a solution designed to demonstrate the value of your research. By storing and linking information related to investigators, grants, projects, publications, services and success stories, EVAL provides quick insight into your research performance.