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    General Information about CDMRP

  1. Why is the Department of Defense involved in funding this kind of research?
  2. Since the inception of each program, how much money has been allocated to the Department of Defense each year and overall for research?
  3. Who conducts the research supported by these funds?
  4. What is scientific peer review?
  5. What is programmatic review?
  6. Why Does CDMRP Include Consumer Reviewers On Their Scientific Peer Review Panels?
  7. How Does CDMRP Include Consumer Reviewers On Their Scientific Peer Review Panels?
  8. Role of Consumers as Reviewers

  9. Who is a consumer?
  10. How does the Department of Defense ensure minority consumer representation?
  11. In which review panels do consumers participate?
  12. If a consumer has a particular scientific expertise in a disease, will this individual be assigned to a panel that complements his or her training and experience?
  13. What are the benefits of having consumers participate in the peer and programmatic review processes?
  14. Do Consumer Reviewers have an opportunity to improve the review process?
  15. How has consumer participation in the Department of Defense peer review program influenced other funding agencies?
  16. How are consumers selected to participate in peer review?
  17. How many consumers sit on each peer review panel?
  18. What orientation is provided to consumers?
  19. What technical support is provided to consumers while reviewing research applications?
  20. How much time is involved in preparing for and attending the peer review meeting?
  21. How much travel is involved?
  22. Where are the peer review panel meetings held?
  23. Are consumers and other panel members compensated for the time spent preparing for and attending the peer review meeting?
  24. Are the consumer comments taken into consideration during the funding discussions?
  25. What information will a consumer reviewer encounter when reviewing a research application?
  26. What are the review criteria that consumers use to evaluate a application?
  27. What are some of the resources that consumer reviewers can consult while reading and reviewing research applications?

  1. Why is the Department of Defense involved in funding this kind of research?

    In 1992, a highly visible lobbying campaign by grassroots advocacy organizations, primarily the National Breast Cancer Coalition, increased awareness among policymakers of the need to expand funding for breast cancer research. These consumer groups emphasized the need to fund research in ways that were different from those employed by traditional medical research organizations such as the National Institutes of Health. In response, the United States Congress allocated specific funds for breast cancer research in the Department of Defense appropriations budget. The Department of Defense was chosen because of its long history in performing medical research studies and because its administrative structure was designed for flexible and quick responses to changing needs and priorities. The success of this effort has resulted in an increase in the number of disease research programs for which Congress has mandated funding through the Department of Defense. As of 2009, many new programs have been added to CDMRP�s portfolio and include Peer Reviewed Cancer, Orthopedic, Spinal Cord and Lung Cancer.

  2. Since the inception of each program, how much money has been allocated to the Department of Defense each year and overall for research?

    To see a chart of the funding history of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, click here.


  3. Who conducts the research supported by these funds?

    Scientists and clinicians at major research institutions, universities, and medical centers in the United States and in foreign countries conduct the research supported by these funds. To search our awards database, click the following link, http://cdmrp.army.mil/search.aspx.

  4. What is scientific peer review?

    Scientific peer review is the first level of review for research applications. Scientific peer review panels for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs typically include a Chairperson, 15 to 20 scientist reviewers (selected on the basis of relevant scientific expertise), and 2 to 4 Consumer Reviewers. The panel deliberates on and scores the scientific merit of each application based on specific evaluation criteria. Scores and written comments (summary statements) from all panel members are presented for the second level of review, programmatic review (see FAQ5).

  5. What is programmatic review?

    Programmatic review follows peer review. Summary statements, with recommendations from the scientific peer review panels, are forwarded to an Integration Panel. The Integration Panel is comprised of 16 to 18 scientists and 2 to 4 consumer advocates. In contrast to peer review, where each application is evaluated solely on its individual scientific merit, programmatic review is a comparison-based process during which applications from multiple research areas compete in a common pool. The Integration Panel recommends funding of a broad portfolio of grants across all disciplines, based not only on their scientific or technical merit, but also on how well the research meets program missions and goals. The Integration Panel also discusses the vision and goals for each research program, recommending revisions of these annually or as needed.

  6. Why Does CDMRP Include Consumer Reviewers On Their Scientific Peer Review Panels?

    Participation of consumers leads to an expanded perspective by both scientists and consumers. Consumers keep the needs of the consumer community at the forefront of scientific discussions and scientists are reminded of the human dimension of the disease. There is improved understanding of the benefits and burdens imposed upon patients participating in research studies. Consumers bring back what they have learned to their communities. This results in increased awareness by consumers of the importance of research and a stronger relationship between the scientific community and the consumer community.

  7. How Does CDMRP Include Consumer Reviewers On Their Scientific Peer Review Panels?

    The process for including consumer reviewers on scientific peer review panels can be divided into four phases that include pre-planning, planning, implementation and maintenance. In the pre-planning phase, two important questions to ask are:
    1. Ask survivors what are the important disease related issues
    2. Decide on what levels you would like consumers to participate

    In the planning phase, all the following questions should be asked:
    1. Will Consumers participate in deciding the type of applications?
    2. Will Consumers review the applications?
    3. Will Consumers have an equal voice on review panels?
    4. What will be the ratio of consumers to scientists on panels?
    5. What will be your consumer recruitment plan?
    6. What is your plan to represent populations disproportionally effected by the disease? (What is the Role of the Consumer Reviewer?)

    In the implementation phase, address the evaluation criteria and screening methods for selection, make sure Consumers are guided throughout the Peer Review Process and plan for feedback from Consumer participants. (Consumer Stories and Am I Eligible to Be a Consumer Reviewer?) In the maintenance phase, keep in mind that successful participation is an active process. Plan on ways to keep the lines of communication open with the Consumer Community, keep Consumers interactive with your Organization and make sure to attend Consumer oriented conferences.

  8. Who is a consumer?

    For the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), a consumer is a patient, survivor, family member, or caregiver of people living with a disease, injury or condition.. To find out specific program requirements click here.

  9. How does the Department of Defense ensure minority consumer representation?

    The Department of Defense works to achieve a broad ethnic and cultural representation of Consumer Reviewers, reflective of the incidence of the target disease or condition on populations through a two pronged approach of information dissemination and formal outreach. Recruitment materials are disseminated to consumer organizations, including minority consumer groups (click here to access latest program book) and formal outreach is implemented to such organizations as needed, to maximize potential for achieving equity among ethnic and cultural consumer representation on peer review panels.

  10. In which review panels do consumers participate?

    Consumer Reviewers participate in both peer review and programmatic review. Consumers sit on all panels along with scientists and have full voting member status.

  11. If a consumer has a particular scientific expertise in a disease, will this individual be assigned to a panel that complements his or her training and experience?

    Consumer Reviewers serve as lay representatives. They are selected on the basis of their consumer advocacy and survivorship experience. Therefore, Consumer Reviewers with scientific and technical expertise are assigned to a panel that is unrelated to their expertise.

  12. What are the benefits of having consumers participate in the peer and programmatic review processes?

    Consumers' first-hand experience with a disease/injury/condition - augmented by the experiences of others from their community - provides a perspective that is complementary to the scientific expertise. This perspective helps scientists understand the human side of how research will impact the community. In addition, this perspective allows for funding recommendations that will reflect the concerns and needs of patients, the clinicians who treat them, and survivors and their families.

  13. Do Consumer Reviewers have an opportunity to improve the review process?

    The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs is committed to enhancing and improving the process of peer review and consumer participation. After every peer review meeting, comments are solicited from scientists and consumers in the form of a post-meeting online evaluation form. In addition, consumer reviewers come together at the end of the meeting to debrief on their experience and provide feedback on what would make the experience better. The feedback provides insight on how to best conduct and direct future programs.

  14. How has consumer participation in the Department of Defense peer review program influenced other funding agencies?

    Other funding agencies are now beginning to involve Consumer Reviewers in their peer review programs. The Department of Defense has provided information on the logistics of consumer participation to other Federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute, as well as non-governmental funding organizations.

  15. How are consumers selected to participate in peer review?

    Consumer Reviewer selection is accomplished through a three-step process. First, nominations/recommendations are solicited from disease-related advocacy organizations across the country. These organizations may include support groups or those with educational outreach, health care, or policy-focused missions. Nominees are screened based on a letter of support (except active duty military personnel), a resume or CV, and a personal essay detailing the nominee's involvement in advocacy (as appropriate) and their efforts to increase their own scientific understanding of their condition/disease/ injury. Consumer Reviewers must represent the concerns of the community rather than individual interests.

    Applications are reviewed by senior program staff and evaluated in the following areas: advocacy (for non-military personnel on active duty), interest in science, communication skills, and participatory skills (click here for link to Am I Eligible to Be a Consumer Reviewer?). The final step involves a brief telephone interview to ascertain a nominee's understanding of the peer review process and willingness to serve as a Consumer Reviewer. Once these steps are completed, interested consumers are scheduled for specific meeting dates. If more eligible consumers are identified than the program needs, a random selection of those eligible to serve is made to fill available positions. Eligible consumers who are not selected are placed in a network of eligible candidates and may be selected to serve in the future.

  16. How many consumers sit on each peer review panel?

    In general, there are two to four consumers on each panel.

  17. What orientation is provided to consumers?

    Consumers are prepared for peer review in several ways. In general, each novice (new) Consumer Reviewer is paired with an experienced consumer reviewer. This mentor acts as a "buddy" to the novice, explaining the "ins and outs" of the pre meeting work and the meeting processes and procedures. Orientation materials are provided for all Consumer Reviewers. These include a handbook that provides an overview of peer review, policies, procedures, and guidelines, and helpful advice gathered from experienced Consumer Reviewers on how to approach reviewing the applications. Prior to the panel meeting, consumers attend a brief orientation session on peer review where the program and peer review processes are discussed and where veteran Consumer Reviewers share their experiences.

  18. What technical support is provided to consumers while reviewing research applications?

    Before the peer review meeting, consumers are encouraged to call the scientific panel manager assigned to their panel. Scientific panel managers possess years of experience in peer review procedures and have a broad range of scientific, administrative, and technical support skills related to peer review. At the meeting, consumers are encouraged to ask the panel to explain scientific concepts with which they may be unfamiliar.

  19. How much time is involved in preparing for and attending the peer review meeting?

    Although application review time varies among consumer reviewers, in general it takes several weeks for pre-meeting preparation, including reviewing assigned applications and writing comments for those applications. The peer review meeting lasts an additional 2 to 3 days.

  20. How much travel is involved?

    Peer review meetings require one 3-day meeting. Consumer Reviewers are expected to travel to and participate in the entire meeting.

  21. Where are the peer review panel meetings held?

    Most peer review panels meet within the greater Washington, DC, area.

  22. Are consumers and other panel members compensated for the time spent preparing for and attending the peer review meeting?

    Panel members may be eligible to receive a standard honorarium that covers their time spent to prepare for and attend the meeting. In addition, the Department of Defense pays for travel, accommodations, and meals during the course of the meeting.

  23. Are the consumer comments taken into consideration during the funding discussions?

    Yes, as a member of the peer review panel, comments provided by Consumer Reviewers are reviewed alongside Scientific Reviewer comments. Additionally, consumers have full voting status on the panels.

  24. What information will a consumer reviewer encounter when reviewing a research application?

    Technical Abstract
    • Brief technical synopsis of the entire study being proposed (assumes that the reader has a strong technical understanding of the field, or performs research in the field)
    • Describes specific aims of study
    Public Abstract
    • Brief synopsis of the entire study being proposed (uses lay terms and is written so that people from a variety of backgrounds can understand it)
    Impact Statement
    • Description of the ultimate vision for how the proposed work, if successful, will accelerate the eradication of the disease being studied
    • Explains how the proposed research will have an impact on the concepts or methods that drive the particular field of research and the likelihood that a successful outcome to the research project will lead to practical applications in patients
    • Description of how the expected results of the proposed work will contribute to the goals of decreasing the clinical impact of the disease/injury/condition
    Background
    • Presents the ideas and reasoning behind the proposed work
    • Cites and describes work of other researchers in this area
    • Presents preliminary results, if any (may not be required; consult Program Announcement for the specific mechanism regarding this requirement)
    Hypothesis or Objective
    • Statement of question to be answered or the goals to be reached
    Research Strategy
    • Describes the experimental design, methods, and analyses to be used, tools and equipment to be used, animal/human use, if any, and potential problem areas and alternative methods and approaches
    Statement of Work
    • Outlines tasks to be done (typically uses specific aims listed in technical abstract as major categories)
    Budget
    • Outlines expenditures such as salary, student support, materials and supplies, equipment, and travel
    Appendix items
    • Researchers' biosketches
    • Letters of support from mentor and/or institution
    • PI's relevant publications
    • Description of research environment

  25. What are the review criteria that consumers use to evaluate a application?

    Review criteria are published for each award mechanism in the Program Announcement, but one key criterion that consumer reviewers are required to critique is "Impact". Investigators should include an Impact Statement with most application packages describing the potential impact of the proposed research for the scientific research community and/or for those affected by the disease/injury/condition. The requested content for the Impact Statement will appear in each Program Announcement and might vary for different award mechanisms so reviewers should read the Program Announcement to become familiar with what was expected from the investigators and what is expected of the reviewers.

  26. What are some of the resources that consumer reviewers can consult while reading and reviewing research applications?

    Below is a list of websites that consumer reviewers can consult to assist with understanding scientific applications:

  27. Was your question answered? If not, please email your question to us for a response: USARMY.Detrick.medcom-CDMRP.mbx.CDMRP-Consumers@mail.mil.


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