1. National Cancer Institute designation, the university's No. 1 research priority, was achieved in July 2012.
2. In June 2011, the University of Kansas Medical Center received a five-year, $20 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health. The medical center created Frontiers: The Heartland Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, greatly expanding the reach of the existing clinical and translational research infrastructure and prioritizing clinical and translational research. This award has facilitated training for students and young faculty in clinical and translational research, provided funds for pilot clinical and translational research, enhanced the clinical and translational research enterprise at KUMC and promoted interactions between KU Medical Center and the regional health care and academic institutions.
1. In the summer of 2012, KU Medical Center engaged ECG Management Consultants to benchmark our financial status and processes against national standards at other academic medical centers. ECG's data provides baseline information, metrics and direction for implementing a strategic approach to research prioritization and investment. KU Medical Center is in the process of defining the role of a Vice Chancellor for Finance; meanwhile, an Interim Chief Financial Officer is reviewing financial policies related to research. The ultimate goals are for the Vice Chancellor of Finance to:
• Create a shared administrative resource model for School of Medicine departments on the Kansas City campus
• Improve guidelines for the allocation of resources
• Improve guidelines for compensating faculty for their research and teaching activities
• Implement an incentive policy for research in departments, centers and institutes
2. KU Medical Center's "big five" areas of research expertise continue to remain priorities:
• Neurosciences: Neurosciences is one of the areas identified by KU Endowment as a priority for the Far Above campaign.
• Cancer: Strategic planning for NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center designation is now underway.
• Liver: In April 2012, new leadership was announced for the Liver Center, with Steven Weinman, M.D., Ph.D., taking over a center with nearly 40 researchers representing seven affiliate institutions. The center's 10-year plan, adopted in 2010, includes the development of liver-related research cores, submission of joint research grants and program project grants, and recruitment and mentoring of outstanding investigators in both clinical and basic research.
• Kidney: The Kidney Institute environment promotes collaborative interactions between clinical investigators and basic scientists studying kidney diseases, and has a distinguished tradition of fellowship training and translational research. The major research strengths are renal development and polycystic kidney disease, glomerular diseases, mineral metabolism, transport physiology, and health outcomes research. Under the new leadership of Dr. Alan Yu, who was recruited in 2011, the Kidney Institute has attracted several outstanding new faculty in these key research areas and is partnering with the KU Cancer Center and the Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation to develop a new drug discovery program.
• Reproductive sciences: Launched in 2010 under the leadership of Michael Soares, Ph.D., KU Medical Center's Institute for Reproductive Health and Regenerative Medicine (IRHRM) has brought more than 40 research laboratories together to combine our strengths in clinical, translational and basic science research focusing on reproductive biology, developmental origins of health and disease and epigenetics and stem cell biology. Its centers are highly interactive, with key programs in faculty development, postdoctoral training, and graduate education.
1. The KU Center for Technology Commercialization (KUCTC) was organized around the management of intellectual property, entrepreneurship, company formation, and industry partnerships. A new executive team is providing leadership and focus across those areas. Update: The name of the office was later changed to the University of Kansas Innovation and Collaboration (KUIC).
1. A goal of the ECG engagement is to write new bridging funding and salary policies regarding research productivity.
2. The KU Medical Center Research Institute, Frontiers leadership and the Faculty Assembly Research Committee are undertaking an initiative to centralize the review of faculty pilot grant proposals submitted to the funding programs sponsored by the Research Institute and the Frontiers Pilots and Collaborative Funding Program. The goal is to reduce turnaround time, increase faculty governance, reduce duplication in the application and review process, enhance collaboration and leverage the dollars in the respective funding programs to fund a greater number of proposals.
3. Frontiers is providing scholarships that allow students working toward medical, dental or pharmacy degrees to take a year off from their programs to obtain a Master of Science in Clinical Research while participating in workshops and training opportunities to hone their research skills. Recipients also will complete a mentored research project leading to a published article. Frontiers also provides pilot grants for faculty to fund clinical and translational research projects.
1. The KU Clinical Research Center (CRC) in Fairway opened in January 2012, providing a home for clinical and translational research. The University of Kansas Cancer Center, Frontiers: The Heartland Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, and the KU Alzheimer's Disease Center reside in this facility.
1. The KU Medical Center Research Institute has relocated to a Fairway building adjacent to the KU Clinical Research Center.
1. In July 2012, Huron Life Sciences presented KUMC leadership with an assessment of research administration processes and organizational design for enhanced efficiency and effectiveness. The report sought to:
• Assess administrative roles and responsibilities across key basic research and clinical research groups, including the Research Institute, the Cancer Center, Frontiers and individual principal investigators. Assess written policy and procedure infrastructures, including Standard Operating Procedures across key research groups.
• Identify and document areas of gaps, overlap, duplication, inconsistencies, and inefficiencies in the current infrastructure.
• Recommend an approach to address these gaps, overlaps, inconsistencies and inefficiencies.
• Document existing roles and responsibilities for various research managers, administrators, and staff across all administrative and compliance offices involved in the conduct of research at KU Medical Center "future state" roles and responsibilities.
• Create standardized job descriptions for equivalent administrative positions across research administrative bodies (Departments, Research Institute, Cancer Center, etc.).
• Propose updated (or if needed, newly created) organizational models.
1. KU Medical Center is reviewing recommendations in the Huron report (above) to establish senior- level endorsement of key components and set priorities for further planning and implementation.