Skip to content


Administrative Core

The overall goal of the Administrative Core is to improve the efficiency, productivity, and impact of the five other Cores so that we are able to successfully meet our common mission of building clinical and translational research infrastructure that will be sustainable and ultimately improve the health of Delawareans.

Pilot Projects Core

The Pilot Project Core offers a wide variety of grant awards. These awards help researchers form new collaborations, test new ideas, and collect key preliminary data, all to expand clinical and translational research in Delaware and facilitate success in achieving extramural support.

Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Research Development Core

The Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) consists of skilled, experienced epidemiologists, biostatisticians, bioinformaticians, computer scientists, data analysts and medical informaticians forming a critical mass of scientists to support clinical and translational projects.

Professional Development Core

The Profesisonal Development Core has sought to reach, connect, and support clinician scientists and junior faculty as they pursue their first grants including pass-through funding (e.g., an ACCEL or other IDeA program pilot award) or external funds (e.g., K award, COBRE target project, foundation grant, or R grant). The PDC has deployed mechanisms to reach and connect diverse groups of investigators and to support successful grant acquisition.

Community Engagement and Outreach Core

The Community Engagement and Outreach Core is a catalyst between Delaware’s clinical and translational health researchers and the communities who are impacted by their work. The CEO core is a resource to researchers as they work to include community voice in their research.

Tracking & Evaluation Core

The Tracking and Evaluation (TEVAL) Core monitors key performance indicators, provides data-informed decision-making support to CTR and Core leadership, and conducts evaluation studies to 1) inform and facilitate continuous improvement efforts and 2) assess the impact of the CTR. Impacts are measured at three levels: internal effectiveness of CTR and its Cores, infrastructure and systems change, and public health. In addition, TEVAL aims to contribute to the greater knowledge base about what works in translational science and translational science evaluation.

Administrative Core

The overall goal of the Administrative Core is to further increase the productivity and impact of each of ACCEL’s components and contribute to the overall IDeA-CTR goals.

The Administrative Core has provided the infrastructure and resources to allow each of the components to make substantial and meaningful progress. We have built strong partnerships across institutions based on mutual respect and common interests. We are excited to continue to work together to grow the ACCEL Program over the next five years.

Pilot Projects Core

Small grants to conduct pilot projects are a well-proven and pivotal mechanism for the establishment and capacity building of a successful, sustainable research program. They allow investigators to establish and test new collaborations and ideas and to collect preliminary data to demonstrate the feasibility of important clinical and translational research projects. Without a mechanism to test the soundness of new ideas, it is more difficult for investigators to develop a high-quality research program and to successfully secure future peer-reviewed research funding.

The opportunity to form new collaborations is an integral part of the ACCEL mission. In the mechanisms described in this section, partnerships involving investigators from multiple institutions are especially encouraged. These partnerships will include Delaware institutions (the University of Delaware, Nemours, Christiana Care, and Delaware State University) and our partner at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). All projects funded under the Pilot Projects Program will have to be clinical or translational in nature. Collaborative research between basic, clinical, and translational researchers from different disciplines, departments, and/or programs within or across institutions will be encouraged, and half of the Pilot Projects funded will be clinical research.

The pilot project grants provide an opportunity to continue to grow the community of medical researchers by including a strong mentorship component. Although our pilot grant program targets faculty with a wide range of experiences, all PIs of pilot projects who are junior faculty without prior NIH funding will be required to have a mentor who has undergone mentorship training through an established faculty mentorship program (see PD Core). Both pilot grant recipients and mentors are expected to participate in ACCEL events, retreats and planning meetings so they become a part of the ACCEL community. We believe this integration contributes to ACCEL’s overall success

We will fund a wide variety of types of awards, including standard pilot grants, Shovel-Ready pilot grants, the funding of small conferences and symposia on special interest topics, Jumpstart awards, and Overcoming Barriers to Translational Success awards. Evaluation of applications will be reviewed by members of the ACCEL Research Committee using a scoring mechanisms similar to that used by the NIH. All applications and summary statements are then reviewed by the ACCEL Executive Committee to ensure programmatic compatibility. The Steering Committee, in turn, makes recommendations to the ACCEL External Advisory Committee, which makes the ultimate funding recommendations. All funding decisions must then be approved by the NIH prior to making any awards.

Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Research Development Core

The Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) KCA of the Delaware-CTR ACCEL Program was formed during the first CTR funding cycle. BERD has been successful in meeting the original Specific Aims: providing consultations across ACCEL institutions, providing educational forums, developing methods, and supporting the Pilot grants. BERD has skilled, experienced epidemiologists, biostatisticians, bioinformaticians, and biomedical informaticians forming a critical mass of scientists to support clinical and translational projects.

This success has been fostered by close collaboration across the ACCEL partner institutions: The University of Delaware (UD), the Nemours Children's Hospital, Delaware (Nemours), Christiana Care Health System (CCHS) and Delaware State University (DSU).

Each ACCEL partner institution has expertise in epidemiology, biostatistics and bioinformatics, allowing BERD to extend that expertise through close collaborations across institutions. MUSC has an established CTSA, the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute (SCTR). ACCEL in general and BERD in particular have collaborated closely with SCTR and benefited from their experience and expertise. BERD also functions closely with Institute for Research in Equity and Community Health (iREACH) at CCHS, and the newly established Biomedical Research Informatics Center (BRIC) at Nemours. iREACH is an innovative research institute for studying healthcare delivery as well as translational research. BRIC comprises a team of bioinformaticians, data scientists, and developers formed in response to the expanding need for a bridge facility between research and clinical informatics. In addition, UD and DSU both have considerable infrastructure and expertise in bioinformatics. The scientists at the BRIC, SCTR, iREACH, UD and DSU add to the overall strength of ACCEL and BERD in further developing infrastructure and the critical mass of investigators to support projects of importance concerning health and healthcare in Delaware. BERD has also collaborated closely with the other ACCEL KCAs and a number of BERD scientists are members of multiple KCAs, promoting component inter- connectedness.

Professional Development Core

Successful clinical and translational research requires focused support for the professional development of investigators and teams. In the initial phase of the ACCEL Program, we implemented substantive programs and infrastructure to support junior investigators. Mentored Research Development Awards (MRDA) allow clinicians to develop competitive grant submissions; our mentoring program provides substantial tools and resources; a Junior Investigators’ Network offers training and networking opportunities. Through these successful programs, we have identified critical challenges facing junior faculty across ACCEL institutions: (i) building research teams and networks, (ii) developing grants and strengthening research partnerships, (iii) translating scientific knowledge to clinical utility, and (iv) communicating results and their impact to colleagues, patients and their families, and the community. In this renewal application, we build on the successful foundation established in our current ACCEL Program to implement a focused Professional Development (PD) Core to address these areas of need. The core will be directed by an accomplished Leadership Team of senior faculty to assure the effectiveness of new and ongoing programs. Faculty from MUSC’s CTSA-supported, Translational Research Institute will serve as advisors to the PD Core PI and Leadership Team.

Community Engagement & Outreach Core

Community engaged research (CEnR) is not a specific methodology; rather it is a value system that gives priority to the voice of the community and patient. CENR is a collaborative process between the researcher and community partners to create and disseminate knowledge in order to contribute to the discipline and strengthen the well-being of the community. The Community Engagement & Outreach (CEO) Core of the Delaware-CTR ACCEL Program (ACCEL) will make research more impactful and responsive to community needs by expanding the work of our initial funding and through the accomplishment of the following three specific aims.

Community engaged research requires a relationship between community partners and researchers that addresses local health issues through shared power, negotiation, and commitment to finding a solution. By engaging the communities most affected by the research, we will make the research more locally meaningful and impactful.  Funders are increasingly looking for work that includes the community in the research team and emphasizes outcomes that matter to patients and communities.

Tracking and Evaluation Core

The Tracking and Evaluation (TEVALCore intends to define and facilitate the short- and long-term success of the Delaware Clinical and Translational Research (DE-CTRACCEL Program. Our evaluation plan is based on the theory of how and why the various strategies employed by ACCEL will result in accomplishing the goals of increased research capacity among investigators, improved infrastructure and increased opportunities for investigators, improved community engagement and outreach research programs, and ultimately, the improved health of Delawareans. We strive to provide data to ACCEL leaders to continually improve the DE-CTR, as well as to measure and understand the overall impact of the program. As such, the ACCEL evaluation is theory-based, stakeholder-driven, participatory, and results-based.

TEVAL supports ACCEL in three functional areas:

  1. Key performance indicator (KPI) tracking
  2. Core-specific evaluation support
  3. Targeted studies and broader impacts