Trial Innovation Network


What is the Trial Innovation Network?
How does it benefit the investigator?
How do consultations work?
How do I submit a proposal?
Recruiting Trials

What is the Trial Innovation Network?

Vision and Mission:

The vision for the Trial Innovation Network is to innovatively address critical roadblocks in clinical trials and accelerate the translation of novel interventions into life-saving therapies. The Trial Innovation Network is a collaborative national network that focuses on operational innovation, operational excellence, and collaboration and will leverage the expertise and resources of the CTSA Program. The Trial Innovation Network will feature a single IRB system, master contracting agreements, quality by design approaches, and a focus on evidence-based strategies to recruitment and patient engagement. The goal of the Trial Innovation Network is to not only execute trials better, faster, and more cost-efficiently but, importantly, to be a national laboratory to study, understand and innovate the process of conducting clinical trials.

The investigators are currently building the key elements of the Trial Innovation Network. The goal is to start early projects as soon as possible and collaborate with other NIH Institutes and partners to launch clinical trials in 2017.

TIN Structure:

The Trial Innovation Network is a new collaborative initiative of the CTSA Program and is composed of three key organizational partners – the Recruitment Innovation Center (RIC), the Trial Innovation Centers (TICs), and the CTSA Program Hubs. *The CCTS is UIC’s Program Hub.

Key elements of the Trial Innovation Network include:

  • Trial Innovation Network Central IRB System (uses the SMART IRB Authorization Agreement) – Flexible and efficient IRB review for multicenter studies. Johns Hopkins University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and University of Utah serve as the reviewing IRBs for the Trial Innovation Network.
  • Standard Agreements System
  • Streamlined protocols – TIC and RIC collaboration to develop optimized, streamlined protocols. Will use NIH-FDA Protocol Template.
  • Harmonized IT tools and approaches (e.g., tools for recruitment using the electronic health record)
  • Systematic approaches to engagement, recruitment, and retention. Data-driven recruitment strategies.

What is the Benefit of using the Trial Innovation Network?

The current state of clinical trials – across the board and in all disciplines – presents many opportunities for improvement. The Trial Innovation Network is designed to be a complementary resource and an option for investigators, NIH Institutes and other stakeholders to optimize clinical trials.

Benefit to Investigators:

  • One-stop shopping to implement clinical studies so investigators can focus on the scientific question
  • TICs and RICs – expertise in operational innovation and operational excellence
  • CTSA Program hubs – broad expertise; large, diverse patient populations
  • More competitive clinical trials applications submitted to NIH ICs

Trial Innovation Network Consultations

Trial Innovation Network Process Graphic

Trial Innovation Network Initial Consultations

These consultations are for proposals in the development stage and not yet submitted for funding.

Trial Innovation Network Comprehensive Consultations

Based on the outcome of an Initial Consultation, the next step may be a Comprehensive Consultation. A Comprehensive Consultation cannot be selected by an investigator, but is a decision that is reached after the Initial Consultation and after approval by the Proposal Assessment Team and NCATS.

A Comprehensive Consultation involves mutual agreement and commitment by the investigator and the TIC/RIC to collaboratively develop the proposal into a protocol. In addition, one of the goals in the Comprehensive Consultation process is to obtain input from the CTSA Hubs on the protocol. The estimated number of hours of consultation time for a Comprehensive Consultation has not yet been determined.

After a Comprehensive Consultation, an investigator prepares a clinical trial application for submission to an NIH Institute for funding. The TICs/RIC would serve as the Coordinating Centers for the study and the CTSA Hubs would be potential sites. If an application is funded, the proposed study would be implemented in the Trial Innovation Network using the TICs, RIC, and CTSA Hubs.

Trial Innovation Network Services

If you are requesting a Trial Innovation Network Service, your study should already be funded or you should have already applied for funding. Service requests will be prioritized based on resource availability.

Based on your funding status, investigators are eligible to receive up to TWO of the following services:

Trial Innovation Network Proposal Intake Process

Anyone interested in submitting a proposal to the Trial Innovation Network should contact the CCTS’s TIN Liaison, Charity Ball, at

Learn more about the TIN Proposal Process

Trial Innovation Network FAQs

See answers to common TIN Questions here.