StudyFinder tool continues national expansion enabling public to explore studies at academic research institutions

Published by CTSI on November 29, 2017

University of Texas Southwestern has become the third research institution to adopt StudyFinder, a CTSI-created tool that gives the public an easier way to find university research opportunities currently enrolling and connect with study teams.StudyFinder screenWhen visiting a StudyFinder website, someone can discover a study in their community that’s right for them, and connect with the study team.

“StudyFinder was originally created to give Minnesotans a simpler way to participate in health research,” says Timothy Schacker, MD, CTSI Associate Director. “Its simple interface makes it easier for the public to participate in research and help develop treatments that may one day benefit a friend, a family member, or someone around the world.”

Sharing the tool with others

The StudyFinder tool was developed by the University of Minnesota in 2013 using open-source code to make it easier for research institutions like University of Texas Southwestern to customize, adapt, and implement the tool.

“Research institutions nationwide are using StudyFinder to create searchable listings of its studies, so local communities have a go-to place for finding research opportunities,” said Dr. Schacker. “By sharing the tool with other sites, research institutions can spend less time developing the infrastructure and more time advancing discoveries that could help people live longer, better lives.”

Woman and child The biggest reason clinical trials fail is because there aren’t enough people willing to participate. StudyFinder websites make it easier for people to find health research studies that need volunteers, while supporting the researchers who need participants before their discoveries can help people. Institutions that adopt StudyFinder can also help improve the tool for communities across the country by modifying the code and contributing to other enhancements.

StudyFinder also has been adopted by Penn State University and Virginia Commonwealth University, in addition to the University of Texas Southwestern and the University of Minnesota. Discussions with other institutions about adopting StudyFinder are underway.

Each institution—including the University of Minnesota—is part of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) consortium of more than 50 institutions working together to speed the translation of research discovery into improved patient care.

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