Founded in 2005, the Research Acceleration and Innovation Network (TRAIN) is an affinity network of foundations interested in taking a more strategic and entrepreneurial approach – what some refer to as “venture philanthropy” – to their role as funders of medical research. TRAIN convenes dozens of forward-thinking foundations to learn from each other and share their novel solutions with the rest of the medical research system.
What is Venture Philanthropy?
Venture philanthropy is a concept very much in vogue but without a commonly agreed-upon definition. Wikipedia defines it broadly as taking “concepts and techniques from venture capital finance and high technology business management and applies them to achieving philanthropic goals.” Among the elements of venture philanthropy are:
Willingness to experiment and try new approaches;
Focus on measurable results—donors and grantees assess progress based on mutually determined benchmarks;
Readiness to shift funds between organizations and goals based on tracking those measurable results;
Giving financial, intellectual, and human capital;
Focus on capacity building, instead of programs or general operating expenses; and
High involvement by donors with their grantees.
Why does TRAIN exist?
FasterCures created TRAIN to recognize organizations that are pioneering principles of venture philanthropy to catalyze the development of new therapies and to encourage more foundations to adopt such approaches to de-risk translation and commercialization of research in their respective disease areas. The goals of TRAIN are:
Encourage innovative and best practice approaches to entrepreneurial philanthropy in medical research
Build more and better networks between disease foundations and other R&D stakeholders
Encourage more collaboration and idea and resource sharing among TRAIN stakeholders
Provide capacity-building assistance to TRAIN stakeholders to address their top priority areas
Who is part of TRAIN?
TRAIN is currently composed of more than 100 foundations that fund or conduct patient-driven, outcomes-focused medical research. While the organizations that participate in TRAIN are individually unique, all TRAIN organizations demonstrate an ongoing commitment to accountability, collaboration, research effectiveness, resource building, and patient-centeredness.
Organizations and individuals that would benefit from participation in TRAIN include chief executives and functional leaders from organizations that have reached a certain level of maturity, which might include having paid professional staff, devoting a significant portion of their annual expenditures to supporting research (as distinct from education or advocacy), and engaging in activities that go beyond very basic academic grant-making (e.g. supporting the creation of research resources, working across stakeholder groups including government agencies and industry, providing patient perspective, and participation to the research process, etc.).
Why Participate in TRAIN?
TRAIN is an active community of peers that share similar missions to overcome systemic challenges to accelerating biomedical research. FasterCures is launching a new capacity-building effort through TRAIN to target recently identified organizational priority areas for TRAIN organizations. These capacity-building efforts will include day-long workshops, webinars, and an online knowledge-sharing platform. Topic areas for these activities may include:
Advancing therapeutic development
Exploring and implementing collaborative research networks/initiatives
Creating and growing patient registries and data resources
FasterCures also regularly solicits TRAIN organizations to participate in its programmatic activities, which offer additional opportunities for them to engage in thought leadership and help drive positive change and innovation in the biomedical ecosystem. These convenings and programs leverage FasterCures’ diverse network of stakeholders, including pharmaceutical developers, policymakers, regulators, payers, patient organizations, nonprofit organizations, providers, and researchers and offer the chance for TRAIN organizations to make new connections with key biomedical leaders and experts.
How Can You Engage with TRAIN?
FasterCures accepts new organizations to TRAIN on an ongoing basis.
If your organization is not yet a participant in TRAIN, you can complete an online application in order to become a member. There is no fee for the application or for membership.
For More Information:
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about TRAIN.