Why did FasterCures start the Consortia-pedia project?
Much of our work at FasterCures is aimed at promoting effective models of collaboration to advance biomedical research. The consortium is one of many frameworks that can be used to bring together multiple – oftentimes, competing – organizations to solve a broadly shared research challenge. As seen from our landscape analysis, research-by-consortium continues to increase in popularity. However, this rapid growth has brought with it a need to map the landscape of different scientific objectives and avoid the possibility of overlap, as well as create opportunities for inter-consortium collaborations. There is also the need to understand how consortia are able to break organizational silos and bring together a diversity of researchers to agree on a problem, create a coordinated strategy to develop a solution, and validate the end-product. Much of the strategic goals were framed during the discussion at the Milken Institute’s 2011 Lake Tahoe Retreat on Accelerating Innovation in the Bioscience Revolution.
What are the goals of the Consortia-pedia project?
To provide a framework for understanding the breadth and scope of approaches that a wide range of consortia have adopted in efforts to bring together non-traditional partners with a shared R&D goals
What are the outputs of the Consortia-pedia project?
Through the project, we are creating several tools for the biomedical research community:
In the fall of 2015, FasterCures launched the Consortia-pedia Catalogue, a free, publicly accessible Web portal providing specific and contextual information about each of the more than 400 research consortia identified through the project. It will serve as a tool to learn about and connect with them.
The Consortia-pedia Catalogue is structured to allow a user to identify a consortium through free-text searches. For instance, one can search by scientific objective (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers), by participants (e.g., specific company or foundation), or by accomplishments.
All of the information contained in the Consortia-pedia Catalogue was collected from publicly available sources. Decisions to include or exclude a particular listing from the Consortia-pedia Catalogue were also made on the basis of publicly available information (see FAQ #5 below). This site is intended to be an objective resource for the community, and inclusion does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation, or approval by FasterCures or the Milken Institute.
Like biomedical research itself, consortia are continually changing, emerging, and ending. If a listing needs to be updated, or if there is a new collaboration that you think fits Consortia-pedia’s inclusion criteria, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This series of reports analyzes a diversity of existing consortia to understand the operational management and framework used to initiate and manage these complex collaborations. The sections include:
- Mission and governance
- Human capital
- Intellectual property
- Patient participation
- Measuring impact
Landscape analysis – trends and intended output
FasterCures conducted research across a landscape of 370 research consortia to better understand how this model of collaboration is being used to advance biomedical research. The peer-reviewed report, published in Science Translational Medicine in June 2014, provides a snapshot of trends and scientific objectives. Another objective of the research report is to highlight the uniqueness of research-by-consortium, as there are very few models of collaboration where multiple – oftentimes, competing – organizations identify a need to solve a broad research challenge, and share resources and expertise to create and validate the solution.
Educational Webinars and spotlights
The FasterCures Innovator spotlight series profiles individuals driving some of the most promising consortia in medical research. It offers a human voice to the passion driving these collaborations. In addition to these spotlights, FasterCures has hosted webinars bringing together some of these leaders in conversation about the promises and challenges of this unique model for collaboration.
How many consortia are there?
By our count, there are more than 400 research collaborations that fit our definition of consortia, and the number continues to grow. As we become aware of new consortia, we update this number in real time, which is why you may have noticed small discrepancies and incremental increases in the total number of consortia listed across our various publications and blogs.
How are you defining consortia?
Since the term “consortium” has many meanings, we applied generalized inclusion and exclusion criteria to help simplify our analysis. Collaborations that were formally labeled as a “public-private partnership” were not considered as part of the landscape analysis, unless the partnerships met our criteria.
- Temporary integration of researchers from multiple sectors (academia, government, industry, nonprofit, clinical care), particularly those that include researchers within the same sector who normally “compete” with each other.
- Agreement on a mission that addresses a shared need with a strategic and milestone-driven plan to achieve output that, in turn, can be broadly used by each stakeholder and the broader scientific community.
- Guided by a governance structure that provides each stakeholder with an opportunity to provide input to the partnership’s strategic objectives and operations. Agreed-upon research plan that integrates and leverages the research resources, finances, and expertise from each participant and sponsor.
- Development of shared and permanent research resources, such as standardized reagents, cell-lines, combinatorial libraries, and biospecimens, were included since multiple stakeholders must agree on a timeline, governance structure, contribution, and access rules.
- Neutral organizations that convene multiple stakeholders on a longer-term basis to sponsor and manage temporary, collaborative research projects (mini-consortia) on an ongoing basis.
- Professional organizations that serve to advocate on behalf of a specific industry, such as a trade organization.
- Collaborations used to create or evaluate a medical product that will benefit only one entity or organization, without objectives to create or disseminate broadly generalizable information, such as new clinical trial methods.
- Cohort of investigators that convene only as part of an investigator’s meeting, without governance to coordinate and integrate their research activities toward a primary objective.
When was the Consortia-pedia Catalogue last updated?
After five years of building and growing the Consortia-pedia Catalogue, FasterCures has turned its focus to emerging topics. The Consortia-pedia Catalogue will no longer be updated as of August 2018. While the site will remain available through the end of 2018, we will not be updating or adding any new profiles.