Making a meaningful impact requires understanding the research landscape and targeting investments to unmet needs. We work with clients to (1) understand and explore topic areas of potential interest, to (2) develop strategic priorities and funding initiatives that match the scale of their planned investments, and to (3) implement methods to measure investment impact going forward. Client areas of interest range from specific diseases, to the career trajectories of investigators, to diversity and equity in research topics and career pathways. We draw on our decades of experience in biomedical research grantmaking, our professional staff of scientific advisors, and our extensive network of active researchers and experts in academia and biotechnology. We empower our clients with the information they need to build the foundation for the launch of a new funding initiative, or to strengthen an existing one.
Our research and planning process begins with a Landscape Scan. We collect and synthesize information to describe the research environment, in order to prevent duplication of efforts and to identify gaps and opportunities. Landscape scans typically include:
- Literature review to synthesize findings from scientific studies to identify opportunities and strategies
- Quantitative and qualitative analysis of the current research funding landscape, including government and private investments in research
- Interviews and surveys of stakeholders including scientific experts, academic administrators, major funders, and researchers likely to be eligible for the awards.
The pace of research innovation has accelerated dramatically in recent years, due to unprecedented technological and computational advances. We specialize in finding new and emerging opportunities in the rapidly evolving research landscape, and in developing funding initiatives that are uniquely innovative. We excel at identifying creative, cutting-edge strategies to support researchers and drive meaningful progress. We actively maintain a broad and deep understanding of the current research funding landscape, and work with our clients to ensure their investments are differentiated in a way that will add value in this context.
While the research funding ecosystem is large, game-changing approaches to research funding often start small. We help our clients pilot new ways to tackle both emerging and long-standing gaps and unmet needs in biomedical research. On behalf of our clients we manage biomedical research programs supporting postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty, and individual research scientists. We build Scientific Review Committees and recruit world-class scientists to impartially review and recommend researchers and research projects for funding. Each year, more than 100 internationally recognized scientists and physicians from across the United States and Europe serve as scientific advisors to our clients’ programs. Our management of grant programs and commitment to scientific rigor is reflected in the thousands of former award recipients whose research has impacted their fields.
We evaluate the impact of existing investments in biomedical research using quantitative and qualitative methods and provide recommendations to maximize impact moving forward. While each evaluation is customized to the needs of the client, we typically start with an articulation of how the program is expected to make a difference in the world. Based on this, we identify key evaluation questions and measurable indicators of success to help answer these questions. We collect data from relevant sources such as progress reports, the scientific literature, funding records, and surveys and interviews with stakeholders such as awardees, experts and review committee members, clinicians, key academic administrators, and other funders, in order to assess if the program is on track to meet its goals. In some cases we also conduct an updated scan of the research landscape, to determine if the program is still solving the right problem, and synthesize this information with the findings of the program evaluation in order to develop recommendations.
In cases where the research landscape and/or context of the program have evolved, we identify the most pressing current issues, gaps, and opportunities in this funding area, and suggest options to deploy an investment to address them. In situations where the central problem the program addresses remains critical, we suggest ways to improve the program in order to solve that problem faster or better.
We encourage clients to measure their impact prospectively. To support this work we develop customized learning agendas that use logic models to develop customized evaluation plans with specific, measurable short- and long-term outcomes, and strategies to collect data prospectively moving forward.
We develop and implement a diverse range of programmatic enhancements, in order to address the specific needs and gaps in specific sectors and to increase our clients’ investment impact. Our capacity building initiatives include:
- Fostering collaboration and networking within a scientific community through scientific convenings,
- Supporting junior researchers with mentoring opportunities tailored to their career stage and needs,
- Improving the communication of science within and outside of the scientific community by providing tools and training to help researchers enhance their scientific communication and presentation skills,
- Increasing the number of researchers from demographic groups currently underrepresented in biomedical research through targeted strategies including coaching and support in preparing proposals, mentoring opportunities, and the redesign of grant program materials and processes to elicit strong proposals from these groups,
- Exploring and developing partnerships with other funders, businesses, and the public sector to advance the client’s mission, and
- Strengthening the research infrastructure by creating investment opportunities focused on scientific resource development, including large scale data collection and the development and dissemination of tools and techniques.