Distribution of Collaboration
We require potential collaborators to write a 1-3 pages document outlining the significance of the project and potential implementation challenges. We evaluate the proposed projects and select collaborators based on several criteria presented in Table 2. The hierarchy of importance between the different criteria is however flexible. While one important selection criteria is the fit with the overall mission of the BMRC, we have taken on projects that are targeting unexplored areas for microfluidic technologies. We are very sensitive to the potential for broad clinical impact, especially for the translational aspect of clinical collaborations. Other important criteria are the novelty of the challenges and the integration of expertise between cores, the national distribution of collaborators, the past productivity and NIH funding of the investigator. The balance of the current portfolio of collaborations (and services) reflects the systematic pursuit of these criteria.
To implement the decision process as described above, we formalized a selection and decision structure (Fig.2). The Associate Director is the first contact point for potential new collaborators, and receives and reviews all requests for collaborations and written proposals. Dr. Irimia will work together with the other Core Investigators (Drs. Toner, Yarmush, Stott, Uygun, Konry) for the final selection of the collaboration requests that will be discussed by the Administrative Board at the quarterly meetings. The portfolio of potential collaborations will later be presented at the annual SAB meeting. If a request for collaboration is made more than 6 months prior to the following SAB meeting, a temporary decision will be made by the Administrative Board, which will then be sanctioned by the SAB at the next meeting. In several occasions, we also requested SAB approval using email distribution of the paperwork followed by a brief conference call. For collaborations that are not selected to be pursued, the collaborator receives detailed written and verbal feedback from the BMRC.
Selection Criteria for Collaborations
- Scientific quality and impact of the project;
- Bringing new challenges to core technologies;
- Synergy with core projects;
- Relevance of expertise from the cores;
- Is the core technology "enabling" for the intended application;
- Potential for clinical translation and broader impact;
- Potential for commercialization;
- Independently funded and NIH profile of the investigator;
- Balance among the themes of collaborations (clinical, biological sciences, computational, technological);
- Balance of investigator-driven vs. large-scale collaborations;
- New Investigators.
After collaborations are started, we annually assess the performance and evaluate the outcome of the collaborations in which BMRC is participating. First, we make an overall evaluation of all the collaborations based on the balance between collaboration themes, publications, new NIH funding, impact in biomedical sciences impact in core technologies, and demographics. Second, we evaluate individual collaborations for joint publications, "win-win" outcome, and quality of research. This assessment, performed by the BMRC faculty and discussed during the bi-monthly operations committee meetings, is also presented to the SAB during the annual meeting. process by the Administrative Board.
BMRC Brings Together a Multidisciplinary Group of Collaborators