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Clinical and Translational Science Awards

Trial Innovation Network

NCATS has built the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program on the strength of more than 50 unique academic medical centers (called hubs) nationwide. NCATS relies on the individual strengths of the CTSA Program hubs and partners with them to develop and implement innovative, collaborative solutions intended to transform clinical and translation research. Together, these efforts address common areas of need that call for collaborative solutions, including:

  • Training and cultivating the translational science workforce;
  • Engaging patients and communities in every phase of the translational process;
  • Promoting the integration of special and underserved populations in translational research across the human lifespan;
  • Innovating methods and processes to increase the quality and efficiency of translational research, particularly of multisite trials; and
  • Advancing the use of cutting-edge informatics.

The Trial Innovation Network is a new collaborative initiative within NCATS’ CTSA Program composed of three key organizational partners:

  • Trial Innovation Centers (TICs)
  • Recruitment Innovation Center (RIC)
  • CTSA Program Hubs

NCATS’ vision for the Trial Innovation Network is to address critical roadblocks in clinical trials and to accelerate the translation of novel interventions into life-saving therapies. The network will focus on operational innovation, operational excellence and collaboration while leveraging the expertise, diversity and broad reach of the CTSA Program. Features will include a single institutional review board system, master contracting agreements, quality-by-design approaches, and a focus on evidence-based strategies to recruitment and patient engagement.

The goal is not only to execute trials better, faster and more cost-efficiently, but also to be a national laboratory to study, understand and innovate the process of conducting clinical trials.

Current TIC and RIC awardees are:


  • Duke University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    Daniel K. Benjamin, Jr., M.D., Ph.D. (Duke), and Gordon R. Bernard, M.D. (Vanderbilt)
  • University of Utah
    Jonathan Michael Dean, M.D.
  • Johns Hopkins University
    Daniel F. Hanley, M.D. (Johns Hopkins), Daniel E. Ford, M.D. (Johns Hopkins), and Harry P. Selker, M.D. (Tufts University)


  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    Paul A. Harris, Ph.D., and Consuelo H. Wilkins, M.D.

At the launch of the network in fall 2016, Trial Innovation Network investigators will work to build key elements of the initiative. Early plans include consultations to build partnerships with other NIH Institutes and Centers, the broader scientific community and other stakeholders. As the network evolves and gains momentum, the goal is to launch network-led clinical trials collaboratively with other partners in 2017.