Background: An important part of biomedical research is the translation of discoveries into clinical or community applications that impact patient health. For a vast majority of clinical applications and sustainable community interventions, a time-tested way to get innovations to patients is through licensing of the technology and commercial development, often through startups. While biomedical scientists and trainees are schooled in discovery research, the processes of commercialization are foreign or intimidating. Further, many trainees will not aspire to a faculty position, and other avenues of advancement are desirable. Methods: At Case Western Reserve University, we developed and launched a Translational Fellows Program to provide such training for the community, focusing specifically on graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The goals of this program include familiarizing our trainees with the principles of entrepreneurship, product development, and startups. This is accomplished through study of their laboratory's technology to identify points of translational focus and to increase awareness to potentially move ideas and products toward societal impact. This program leverages much of our existing infrastructure and provides a mechanism for the prioritization of the translation of the technology as well as release-time to promote effort. Results: Launched in summer 2020, our first cohort had 3 of the 12 fellows launching startups based on their technology and submitting an National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) proposal. At least 80% reported increased knowledge and confidence in five of six key translational competencies. Conclusion: We are now continuing and improving the program and searching for sustainable support to stabilize the program for a long-term productive future.
biomedical science, education, entrepreneurship, technology translation, training
Journal of Clinical and Translational Science
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Association for Clinical and Translational Science
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Thompson, C., Misko, T., & Chance, M. (2022). Training the next generation of translational scientists: The Case Western Reserve University Translational Fellows Program. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, 6(1), E47. doi:10.1017/cts.2022.390