Evaluation and the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards: A “Top Ten” List
Since 2006, a total of 61 Clinical and Translational Science Institutes (CTSAs) have been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with the aim of reducing translation time from a bench discovery to when it impacts patients. This special issue of Evaluation & the Health Professions focuses on evaluation within and across the large, complex system of the CTSA Program of NIH. Through insights gained by reading the articles in this special edition and the experience of the authors, a “top ten” list of lessons learned and insights gained is presented. The list outlines issues that face those who evaluate the influence of the CTSA Program, as they work to anticipate what will be needed for continuing success. Themes include (1) considering the needs of stakeholders, (2) the perspective of the evaluators, (3) the importance of service improvement, (4) the importance of teams and people, (5) costs and return on investments, (6) methodology considerations to evaluate the CTSA enterprise, (7) innovation in evaluation, (8) defining the transformation of research, (9) evaluating the long-term impact of the CTSAs on public health, and (10) contributing to science policy formulation and implementation. The establishment of the CTSA Program, with its mandated evaluation component, has not only influenced the infrastructure and nature of translational research but will continue to impact policy and management in science.