Performance Improvement 2007. How Should a Process Evaluation of the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence Program Be Designed and Conducted?



This study examined the feasibility of and designed an optimum process evaluation to assess the operations and outputs of the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) program during its first five years and to measure success of junior investigators supported during this period. COBRE, begun in 2000, is a part of the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program administered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). IDeA assures broader geographic distribution of NIH funds for biomedical and behavioral research. The program fosters health-related research and enhances the competitiveness of investigators at institutions located in states which have historically received fewer research grants. COBRE does this by supporting thematic multidisciplinary centers that strengthen the research capacity of biomedical institutions. It does so by expanding and developing faculty research capability and research infrastructure, including establishing facilities needed to carry out multidisciplinary, collaborative research.

The study concluded that an outcome evaluation of the COBRE program was not appropriate at present due to the program's short existence. The feasibility study created a conceptual framework (logic model) illustrating how COBRE should work. The framework showed how funding and other resources, baseline characteristics, and specific program activities influence achievement of program goals. The results of this feasibility study were used as a basis for the process evaluation of the COBRE program, which began in September 2006. The evaluation will use the framework during the feasibility study to assess seven baseline characteristics of COBRE that could affect each center's success. The evaluation will also examine resources of the National Center for Research Resources that are allocated to COBRE and external factors over which the centers had no control.

Report Title: Feasibility Study for a Process Evaluation of the COBRE Program
Agency Sponsor: NIH, National Institutes of Health
Federal Contact: Newman, Patricia, 301-435-0864
Performer: Carlyn Consulting; Poolesville, MD
PIC ID: 8456

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"PerformanceImprovement2007.pdf" (pdf, 717.63Kb)

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