A new University of Maryland Strategic Partnership, MPowering the State (MPower) grant will provide $575,000 per year over the next three years to support clinical and translational research collaborations at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). In conjunction with a new cooperative agreement, the MPower award will help researchers access resources for clinical training, reduce barriers to patient recruitment, strengthen bioinformatic infrastructure at UMB, and open new avenues for human subject researchers at UMCP.
The grant and cooperative agreement will make it possible for the College Park campus to access resources at UMB’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) as a partner institution. Investigators will benefit from clinical and translational research resources through the ICTR, including expert patient- and community-centered services; biostatistical support for study design, implementation, and interpretation; and pre- and postdoctoral training awards.
The effort is co-led by Stephen N. Davis, MBBS, FRCP, FACE, MACP, the Dr. Theodore E. Woodward Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of the ICTR at UMB, and Elizabeth Quinlan, PhD, the Clark Leadership Chair in Neuroscience, Professor, Department of Biology, and director of the Brain and Behavior Institute (BBI) at (UMCP).
“Access to ICTR resources will enable the translation of high-impact research from the laboratory to the clinic,” said Quinlan. “The MPower funding to establish this strategic partnership reflects the commitment to training and will accelerate new bi-campus collaborations.”
The ICTR, supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was established at UMB as a university-wide, interdisciplinary hub for clinical translational research and training. In its mission to turn basic research findings into novel technologies and practices with community-wide impact, the ICTR comprises a Biostatistics Core, a Community and Collaboration Core, a Drug Discovery and Development Core, an Informatics Core and a Training and Career Development Core. Through the MPower funding, College Park faculty researchers in the life sciences, public health, neuroscience, bioengineering, and clinical and translational research are now eligible to submit proposals for services provided by the ICTR Biostatistics Core, the Informatics Core and the Community and Collaboration Core. In addition, College Park students, post-docs, and faculty will be invited to compete for funding through the TL1 Training and Career Development Core and the KL2 Pathway to Independence Core. College Park faculty are also eligible to apply for the ICTR Accelerated Translational Incubator Pilot (ATIP) voucher program.
To further strengthen this partnership, MPower funding will be used for improvements to the bioinformatic infrastructure at UMB.
“These resources will scale up the ICTR’s informatics capabilities and help generate compelling data that demonstrate the effective and seamless clinical research partnership of the two campuses,” said Davis. “The MPower agreement will create a clinical research network across Maryland that benefits both the population of the state and faculty in Baltimore and College Park.”
The ICTR was first funded in 2017 and was closely followed by a successful application between UMB, and Johns Hopkins University that resulted in a 2019 Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), a program of the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. CTSA grants form a national arrangement of medical research hubs that work together to expedite the translational research process.
The MPower announcement follows the recent news that the University of Maryland achieved its highest ever ranking in the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development survey, as a result of Baltimore and College Park research enterprise being linked together for the first time.
"This will create exciting new opportunities for our researchers to collaborate and deepen the impact of our combined research productivity across our College Park and Baltimore campuses," said Interim Vice President for Research Amitabh Varshney. "For College Park researchers new to the ICTR, the program will provide a high-quality environment for clinical and translational research and will foster innovation in research methods and training."
About the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State
The University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State is a collaboration between the state of Maryland’s two most powerful public research institutions: the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). It leverages the sizable strengths and complementary missions of both institutions to strengthen Maryland’s innovation economy, advance interdisciplinary research, create opportunities for students, and solve important problems for the people of Maryland and the nation. Working together, UMB and UMCP achieve innovation and impact through collaboration.
The University of Maryland Strategic Partnership Act of 2016 strengthened and formalized the structured relationship between UMB and UMCP, which began in 2012. The law deepens the alliance and enables UMB and UMCP to pursue even greater transformative change and impact, far surpassing what each institution could do independent of the other.
About the University of Maryland, Baltimore
Founded in 1807, the University of Maryland, Baltimore is Maryland’s only public health, law, and human services university, dedicated to excellence in education, research, clinical care, and public service. UMB enrolls more than 7,100 students in six nationally ranked professional schools — medicine, law, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, and social work — and an interdisciplinary Graduate School. The university provides more than $40 million each year in uncompensated care to Maryland citizens, and receives more than $688 million in extramural research funding annually. For more information about the University of Maryland, Baltimore visit www.umaryland.edu.
About the University of Maryland, College Park
The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students,10,000 faculty and staff, and 300 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, four Pulitzer Prize winners and 59 members of the national academies. The institution has a $2.2 billion operating budget and secures more than $1 billion annually in research funding together with the University of Maryland, Baltimore. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit www.umd.edu.
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