2023 Clinical Trial Recruitment Lab (CTRL) Request for Pilot Project Proposals

Call for projects to pilot ideas that increase access to and reduce inequalities in Alzheimer’s clinical trials.

Key Dates

  • Application period opens: January 17, 2023
  • Pre-proposal submission deadline: March 17, 2023
  • Full proposal submission deadline: May 17, 2023
  • Notification of awards: June 2023

Overview of the Clinical Trial Recruitment Lab

The USC Clinical Trial Recruitment Lab (CTRL) is an interdisciplinary hub for piloting and evaluating innovative ideas with the potential to increase access to clinical trials and expand diversity in clinical trial populations. CTRL’s goal is to coordinate the resources and expertise necessary to conduct pilot projects that test novel trial recruitment strategies, disseminate findings and share best practices to speed the pace of drug development. CTRL brings together stakeholders from academia, industry and philanthropy to create a platform through which innovative ideas can be piloted and tested in the real world. Successful solutions can be scaled up and findings are widely disseminated to promote improvements in multiple sectors. Pilot results are also used to inform policies that support wider implementation of best practices.

About the Opportunity

CTRL is seeking proposals for pilot projects that test strategies and solutions designed to address barriers to recruitment for Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials, with a special focus on enabling the recruitment of populations that have been underrepresented in clinical research. The successful proposed pilot will test concepts for accelerating recruitment that, if successful, can be scaled to various clinical and community settings. Each pilot project will use data-driven, evidence-based approaches to test and evaluate potential solutions and other interventions that may increase access to and reduce inequalities in Alzheimer’s clinical trials. Data, materials and findings will be broadly disseminated and, if successful, developed into effective interventions that can be deployed throughout the clinical trial environment. Pilot project teams will participate in an Annual Symposium dedicated to sharing ideas, findings and best practices. Each pilot project will be awarded up to $250,000.

Pilot projects could focus on any of the research areas highlighted by recent expert panel’s recommendations to address key recruitment challenges of Alzheimer’s clinical trials, including but not limited to:

  • Increasing public awareness and outreach to engage diverse communities
  • Scaling community-based practices and trial architecture to bring Alzheimer’s clinical trials to communities under-served by the current clinical trial ecosystem
  • Broadening cognitive screening and early detection efforts in both asymptomatic adults and those showing early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Using digital engagement strategies and tools to retain candidates who fail screening or seek opportunities to screen for multiple clinical studies simultaneously
  • Utilizing remote-assessment recruitment, including remote cognitive, clinical and plasma biomarker evaluations, to enlarge the pool of candidates for in-person enrollment at trial sites

Proposals in other research areas will also be considered, as long as they address barriers to recruitment of populations underrepresented in Alzheimer’s clinical trials.

Application Details

1. Pre-Proposal Requirements

By March 17, 2023: Submit a brief description (3-5 pages) of your pilot project including:

  • Overall goal and specific aims
  • Summary of the relevant literature and gaps in the current knowledge base
  • Description of how the project will increase access and reduce inequalities in Alzheimer’s trials
  • High-level project plan, including timeline and key milestones
  • High-level budget
  • Brief biographies of team members and their relevant experience

2. Full Proposal Requirements

Based on the submitted pre-proposal, CTRL will invite selected applicants to submit a full proposal for their pilot project. The proposed solutions will be reviewed and evaluated by CTRL’s Leadership Team and Advisory Committee comprised of experts representing a range of stakeholders from academia, industry, patient-advocacy organizations, philanthropy, nonprofit and government.

By May 17, 2023: Submit a full proposal with a detailed description of the approach and tested solution including (templates and instructions will be provided after pre-proposal selection):

  • Project description: objectives, background and relevant literature, experiment or pilot test, evaluation plan for pilot results, expected impact, and plans to disseminate pilot findings
  • Current CVs of team members and their relevant experience that would contribute to the success of the pilot project
  • Detailed project plan, including timeline and key milestones
  • Detailed project budget, including travel to the Annual Symposium
  • Letters of support from collaborators and agreement to open data and content sharing

Attributes of Effective Proposals

  • Proposed pilots should test novel recruitment strategies that are scalable, sustainable, affordable, and easily applied to the clinical trial environment.
  • Proposals should address how solutions could be rapidly disseminated and broadly adopted if a pilot proves successful.
  • Proposal should include a plan to rigorously evaluate the success of the pilot project and determine insights and best practices.
  • Proposal should include a commitment to open data and content sharing.
  • Proposal should reflect a diverse investigative team.
  • The pilot project should be completed within one year.

Submit pre-proposal materials to Desi Peneva at ctrl@usc.edu. Only applicants who have submitted a successful pre-proposal may submit a full proposal.

For questions, contact Desi Peneva at ctrl@usc.edu.

Full details of the RFP can be found in the downloadable PDF.