The MWRC was founded in March 2009, at a meeting in Albuquerque, hosted by the University of New Mexico. This meeting was attended by over 20 administrators and scientists from each of the Western IDeA states (except Hawai’i which joined the consortium later), over 30 administrators and scientists from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, and by Dr. Sidney McNairy (Director, Division of Research Resources) and Dr. Yanping Liu (Health Scientist Administrator) from NCRR. The primary outcome of the meeting was the unanimous agreement to pursue the formation of a consortium for the advancement of clinical and translational science in the Western IDeA states. The consortium members the produced a Mission Statement, a list of Strategic Objectives, an Action Plan defining the mission of the consortium and way forward, a Steering Committee made up of INBRE and COBRE PIs and other institutional representatives, and an Executive Advisory Committee made up of Vice President level administrators (who will be the Internal Advisory Committee for the CTR-IN). A Memo of Understanding was endorsed by officials from each institution agreeing to:
- Participate in a system of governance with the Executive and Steering Committees described above;
- Establish research infrastructure support mechanisms to share and leverage resources;
- Develop pilot fund programs to stimulate collaboration between basic and clinical scientists and provide funding opportunities for junior faculty across the MWRC;
- Develop collaborations based on disease and clinical content areas with special consideration of unique populations and environment in the Mountain West region;
- Develop websites, databases and other collaborative tools to support the work of the MWRC.
The Mission of the Clinical and Translational Research Infrastructure Network (CTR-IN) is to increase the quantity, quality, and NIH funding of clinical and translational research thereby accelerating the translation of scientific discovery to improved health in the region. We will accomplish this by expanding the regional collaboration and partnerships initiated by the Mountain West Research Consortium (MWRC, please see detailed description in Section 1). The efforts of the Administrative Core, and the two supervisory bodies it will support: the Internal Advisory Committee and the External Advisory Committee, will be to further this mission. Our Policies and Procedures will be established — and then modified based on experience and advice through a strategic planning process as the CTR-IN evolves — to support this mission.
Our IDeA-CTR project will be designed to address issues that are unusual, in some ways novel, for an enterprise of this kind; we have many and varied partner institutions and programs, each with individual strengths and needs, distributed across an area that represents 32.5% of the entire land mass of the US. Thus, our programs cannot be â€œone size fits allâ€, they must be flexible in drawing resources from institutions where expertise is strong, and delivering resources and services where they are needed and can be most effective. We will achieve this by including every participating institution represented on our Internal Advisory Committee by a high level administrator (Vice President for Research level or equivalent). A primary guiding principle is that the CTR-IN must provide appropriate resources and services to increase clinical and translational research at each of the participating institutions, and that it not simply benefit a few. Through this approach we will develop regional competence and strength in areas fundamental to participation in clinical translational research at a level that will allow us to make meaningful contributions to the scientific literature and clinical practice leveraging the varied populations, cultures, and environments of this unique area of huge open spaces, sparse settlement, and environmental extremes.