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ODAT brings best practices and expertise to OACA funding programs

October 5, 2022

CTSI’s Office of Discovery and Translation (ODAT) will now administer the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs’ (OACA) funding programs. 

ODAT was established by CTSI to accelerate the translation and implementation of health-related innovations through funding and support. Now, it’s expanding its scope to administer funding programs within OACA, in addition to the programs it administers within CTSI. OACA funding programs include the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, Regenerative Medicine Minnesota, and the Faculty Research Development Programs.

“Expanding ODAT’s scope to programs outside CTSI fits squarely with the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program’s objective to disseminate and implement new operational innovations and best practices for translation,” says Sandra Wells, PhD, now Director of ODAT. “This is a compelling example of how ODAT, a CTSI-established office, through operational excellence, has matured into a core translational capability at the University of Minnesota.”

Building on ODAT success

Since its formation in 2011, ODAT has administered over $19 million in clinical and translational research awards to nearly 200 projects. To date, these ODAT-supported projects have gone on to secure $72 million in subsequent funding and 38 have become licensed innovations. 

This success is primarily due to ODAT’s expertise, infrastructure, and best-practice models, including its:

  • Streamlined funding program operations.
  • Robust tracking and reporting capabilities.
  • Process for optimizing the selection and support of projects toward real-world and meaningful impacts. 

ODAT’s model has been published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science and Clinical and Translational Science.

“ODAT has a proven ability to help promising ideas blossom into real-world innovations that are improving people’s lives,” says Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, Vice President for Clinical Affairs, Medical School Dean, and Campus Public Health Officer at the University of Minnesota. “Bringing this approach to OACA promises to further augment the impact of both CTSI and OACA funding programs.” 

New roles for ODAT team

As a part of this expansion, Dr. Wells, who has served as the ODAT Assistant Director since its inception, is stepping into the role of ODAT Director. 

Jodi Fenlon Rebuffoni, who has served as a project and program manager in ODAT for the past eight years will assume the position of ODAT Assistant Director. 

Additional staff members will be added to back-fill vacant positions and enable the office to assume these additional responsibilities.

Sandra Wells and Jodi Fenlon Rebuffoni
Sandra Wells and Jodi Fenlon Rebuffoni