The Northern New England Clinical and Translational Research (NNE-CTR) Network was created to enhance the region’s research capacity and infrastructure. The NNE-CTR provides research design consultation and technical assistance, research technologies support, professional development opportunities and mentorship, as well as funding for pilot projects. This study sought to describe the characteristics of NNE-CTR investigators and to identify their research interests, training needs, and perceived barriers to research.
A registration survey and 13-item needs assessment module were developed and administered to capture data on the characteristics, background, and research-related training needs, interests and barriers among investigators in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Investigators were recruited via email, direct communication and the NNECTR website. Univariate statistics (frequency distributions and percentages) were calculated for all structured items. Bivariate frequencies were also generated to assess the relationship between training interests and level of research experience. Content analysis was performed on select open-ended items to identify common themes.
A total of 272 investigators participated. More than half of participants were women (60%), white (85%), and physicians (54%). A majority of respondents reported participating in a research project (88%) and indicated an interest in translational science research (51%), yet fewer than half reported receiving extramural funding. While lack of time and funding were identified as common barriers to research, many respondents expressed interest in receiving mentorship and/or pursuing training. A majority (54%) of participants were “very” interested in training related to study design. Participants with fewer than three years of research experience were more likely to report barriers related to lack of time to conduct research, while inadequate institutional support and challenges recruiting and identifying patients were more frequently reported by researchers with three or more years of experience.
The results revealed a range of research expertise and interests. Echoing findings from other similarly funded efforts, this study underscores the need to build core research skills through professional development. Yet, the study also demonstrates an opportunity to tailor training opportunities.
Ongoing efforts to match the identified needs and interests with the appropriate resources remains a key feature of the NNE-CTR.
Joly, Brenda M.; Hopper, Fleur; and Gray, Carolyn
"Northern New England Clinical and Translational Research Network Assesses the Training Needs of Investigators,"
Journal of Maine Medical Center: Vol. 2
, Article 6.
Available at: https://knowledgeconnection.mainehealth.org/jmmc/vol2/iss1/6