The National Trauma Institute: Lessons learned in the funding and conduct of 16 trauma research studies

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To increase trauma-related research and elevate trauma on the national research agenda, the National Trauma Institute (NTI) issued calls for proposals, selected funding recipients, and coordinated 16 federally funded (Department of Defense) trauma research awards over a 4-year period. We sought to collect and describe the lessons learned from this activity to inform future researchers of barriers and facilitators.


Fifteen principal investigators participated in semistructured interviews focused on study management issues such as securing institutional approvals, screening and enrollment, multisite trials management, project funding, staffing, and institutional support. NTI Science Committee meeting minutes and study management data were included in the analysis. Simple descriptive statistics were generated and textual data were analyzed for common themes.


Principal investigators reported challenges in obtaining institutional approvals, delays in study initiation, screening and enrollment, multisite management, and study funding. Most were able to successfully resolve challenges and have been productive in terms of scholarly publications, securing additional research funding, and training future trauma investigators.


Lessons learned in the conduct of the first two funding rounds managed by NTI are instructive in four key areas: regulatory processes, multisite coordination, adequate funding, and the importance of an established research infrastructure to ensure study success. Recommendations for addressing institution-related and investigator-related challenges are discussed along with ongoing advocacy efforts to secure sustained federal funding of a national trauma research program commensurate with the burden of injury.

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