Train-the-Trainer program spreads education to biomedical innovators

April 12, 2017  //  FOUND IN: News

The next time you’re at the doctor’s office and your provider uses a new medical device as part of the examination, you might wonder, “How did this high-tech piece of equipment actually make it here to help me?”

It all starts with a great idea, but the road to a doctor’s office or hospital is typically a long, arduous process that is difficult to navigate.

With the help of U-M’s Fast Forward Medical Innovation — or FFMI’s — unique fastPACE (Program Accelerating Commercialization Education) course, many clinician-researchers and biomedical research scientists are better understanding how to successfully put their ideas on viable paths to commercialization through a process of accelerated business planning and customer discovery. And with a new program, the “fastPACE Train-the-Trainer Course for Biomedical Research Commercialization and Innovation,” institutions across the country are learning how to introduce this program to their campuses, further enhancing opportunities for those looking to commercialize their innovations.

The FFMI team is working in close partnership with U-M’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards, or CTSA, organization, along with the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research — also known as MICHR — to support educational programs for all learners on the commercialization of biomedical research and innovation. Supported by the National Institutes of Health, CTSA institutions work to transform the local, regional and national environment to increase the efficiency and speed of clinical and translational research across the country.

Representatives from nine CTSA organizations recently traveled to Ann Arbor to participate in the multi-day FFMI fastPACE Train-the-Trainer course. Their two-day visit started with a full day of training and culminated in the kickoff session for the spring FFMI fastPACE course, where 16 teams of researchers from U-M and across the country are currently enrolled. FFMI fastPACE is modeled on the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program, but is consolidated into just four weeks to accommodate busy clinicians and biomedical researchers.

“It was an honor to learn from the FFMI and MICHR leadership teams along with the rest of the Train the Trainer participants,” said Dr. Tanya Mathew, a research specialist and innovation cluster administrator at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “I feel that they have all inspired and invigorated us and I’m anxious to begin greater engagement and partnerships in the near future.”

Parallel to FFMI fastPACE, participating CTSA organizations had the opportunity to observe U-M’s expert commercialization teaching team, which included members from FFMI, the U-M Office of Technology Transfer, and OTT’s Venture Center, and learn how to launch this program at their home institutions, providing biomedical faculty with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the initial process of innovation and commercialization.

“It’s all about learning how to execute on that great ‘ah-ha’ moment and begin to commercially de-risk it at the earliest possible time,” said Jon Servoss, FFMI Commercialization Education Manager. “This is highly complementary to great science and can significantly reduce the time it takes to move a transformative idea to ultimate patient impact at the bedside.”

“MICHR is proud to support a variety of educational programs for all learners on the commercialization of biomedical innovations,” said MICHR Executive Director George Mashour, M.D., Ph.D. “This further enhances opportunities for collaboration and innovation, and ultimately impacts patient lives.”

Questions? Click here for more information or contact Jon Servoss, FFMI commercialization education program manager, at or 734-764-2692.