Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science

May 9, 2018, Public Library of Science
Credit: Petr Kratochvil/Public Domain

While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

The NIH prioritizes funding for translational research, or studies that apply findings from basic to promote human health and well-being. Since there are many different definitions of translational research and important milestones in biomedical research have yet to be defined, it is difficult to track and quantify its progress.

In their new study, Han and colleagues investigated the amount of translational research produced from three types of NIH-funded research awards between 2008 and 2014: basic and applied research grants in the behavioral and social sciences, and the Clinical and Translational Science Award, a program that specifically targets translational research. They analyzed all publications produced from those 6,387 awards and they determined what percentage of those publications could be classified as translational research. From this analysis, the researchers found that 3.9% of publications produced by basic research awards, 7.4% produced by applied , and 13.4% of the CTSA program publications were translational.

The researchers' analysis of NIH-funded behavioral and social sciences research demonstrates a progression toward increased translational research as they moved across the research spectrum from basic science to applied science, with the targeted translational research program yielding the highest number of translational research publications. The researchers suggest that translational research can happen at any stage of research, with increasing frequency in applied science, and that targeted translational research programs such as CTSA appear to be effective at promoting the translation of basic and applied sciences into medical practices and meaningful health outcomes.

Xueying Han says: "Our findings suggest that translational research can happen at any stage along the research continuum, and that targeted translational research programs, such as the Clinical and Translational Science Award Program, appear to be effective at increasing the translation of basic and applied research to health outcomes."

Explore further: 21st century cures emerge as 20th century science matures

More information: Han X, Williams SR, Zuckerman BL (2018) A snapshot of translational research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH): A case study using behavioral and social science research awards and Clinical and Translational Science Awards funded publications. PLoS ONE 13(5): e0196545. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0196545

Related Stories

21st century cures emerge as 20th century science matures

May 9, 2017

Most of the new drugs approved by the FDA since 2010 arose from basic scientific research that was initiated in the 1970s or 1980s, a new study from Bentley University has found. The analysis shows that development of new ...

Informatics helps drive clinical and translational research

March 15, 2013

According to researchers, clinical and translational science has emerged as a national priority and investigators are increasingly becoming reliant on the use of computer science (CS), information science (IS), biomedical ...

Recommended for you

Chinese Cretaceous fossil highlights avian evolution

September 24, 2018

A newly identified extinct bird species from a 127 million-year-old fossil deposit in northeastern China provides new information about avian development during the early evolution of flight.

Ancient mice discovered by climate cavers

September 24, 2018

The fossils of two extinct mice species have been discovered in caves in tropical Queensland by University of Queensland scientists tracking environment changes.

The first predators and their self-repairing teeth

September 24, 2018

The earliest predators appeared on Earth 480 million years ago—and they even had teeth capable of repairing themselves. A team of palaeontologists led by Bryan Shirley and Madleen Grohganz from the Chair for Palaeoenviromental ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.