Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the preparation of abstract submissions.
1. TREAT Background Information and the Application Process
What is TREAT?
The Center for the Translation of Rehabilitation Engineering Advances and Technology (TREAT) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medical Rehabilitation Research Resource Network (MR3). Funding for TREAT is provided by the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR) in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) through awards R24HD065703 and P2CHD086841.
What services do you provide?
Education, Commercialization Assistance Services and Funding are available for products that are: 1) at an early stage and need support to create pilot data that may eventually lead to an extramurally funded project or third party investment or 2) for advancing the development and commercialization of an existing technology related to rehabilitation at any pre-commercial stage.
Innovator/awardees take part in one or more of three core programs:
- Technology & Market Assessment Core includes an existing program and paradigm for technology, market, needs assessment and evaluation.
- Technology Prototyping and Development Core has existing capacity and expertise to design, build, test, and transfer to manufacturing technology concepts that pass the technology assessment screening process
- Comparative Effectiveness & Clinical Research Core provides education, services and training to allow rehabilitation researchers to develop and propose relevant and practical clinical trials to support the validation and translation of research ideas to clinical practice.
How is my information protected?
We understand the importance of maintaining confidentiality and disclosing conflict of interest, as both relate to the development and eventual commercial success of your device. TREAT implements a process for disclosing conflict of interest and maintaining confidentiality for potential and active clients. It is not our intention to disclose your ideas to entities that may be competitive to your business or compromise that success in any way. When you submit an abstract, we consider the information provided to be non-confidential. When your application is submitted for consideration, this information is considered confidential to any of our reviewers or staff who view it. TREAT acknowledges that the submission of an application does not grant TREAT any rights to the work and the work and any accompanying intellectual property is owned by the applicant. For more information see our Terms and Conditions.
How long does the abstract process take?
The abstract process can take anywhere from a couple hours to a few days. That depends on your schedule and how much you have already thought through about your market and business model. We want you to put your best foot forward to show where you have been, where you are today, and where you are taking your product. Our system allows you to log in, create a profile, save your answers, then come back to finish when you are ready to complete your submission. The abstract is similar to a survey and allows us to better gauge where you are in the commercialization pathway and how you could best use our assistance. From there, your submission will be evaluated by our reviewers and given feedback. The fit of the project to TREAT’s mission, the opportunity for commercialization, and the improvement you are making to current solutions will determine if your submission will be invited to submit for the final application.
2. Need and Affected Population
What sort of evidence do I need to provide to support my Problem Statement?
The Problem Statement Evidence section shows the reviewer how much this problem has been researched. Research may be defined as personal experience, secondary research through journal articles or publications or primary research through interviewing customers and other stakeholders (or a combination of these). The innovator should focus on justifying why there is a problem and how the new technology will solve this problem rather than simply giving a list of references
3. Technology Solution
How detailed does the Device Concept description need to be?
This should not be an overly complicated description of the technical specifications but rather a clear, descriptive overview of how the technology will work. Often times submitting an image such as a drawing from a patent application or other design image will help the reviewers understand what the innovator has described. The image can be uploaded from the right hand bar after clicking on the abstract title from the Submissions page.
4. Competition and Market Hurdles
For Market Analysis, is providing the number of affected persons in the United States sufficient?
In short, no. In this section reviewers are looking to see how much the innovator has assessed the potential market opportunity for their technology. Is there value in introducing a new technology? Or is the market already saturated with alternatives?
While this does not need to be primary research, the innovator should take the time to assess the number of possible markets that their technology applies to, how many potential customers are in them and how many would feasibly purchase the new technology.
How specific do I need to be with the competition list? What if there is no device similar to mine?
We use this section to gauge how much the innovator has assessed the potential market for the product and how customers currently solve the problem you are addressing. Even if the product is completely different from anything else on the market, the innovator must demonstrate an understanding of alternative solutions and workarounds already on the market, how customers utilize them and how they will present a barrier for new technologies entering the market.
5. Commercialization Goals & Challenges
I have laid out the three Key Challenges to address but my team does not have the expertise to carry out the Approach; what should I write?
In the Key Challenges the reviewers are looking to gauge if the innovator and their team understand the road ahead of them. They also use the Approach section to evaluate the team’s ability to problem solve. The Approach should be actionable steps towards solving or overcoming the Key Challenge listed. It is perfectly okay if your team does not have the expertise to complete the steps, simply state how this additional challenge would be overcome. This is not the place to list challenges you have already faced and explain how you overcame them.
Key Challenge: Refine the design through trials with appropriate patients
Approach: Obtain IRB for clinical trial. Hire expertise for designing trial through Boston University Biomedical Engineering. Recruit spinal cord injury patients through The Spinal Cord Center to participate in clinical trial. Conduct trials to learn which aspects of the design need improvements and which features to incorporate.