Proficiency Index Assessment (PIA)

Published in: GBSI

Date: December 16, 2016

Background on the PIA

Every year $28B is spent on preclinical research that cannot be reproduced, a challenge that increases the cost and time to translate research into life-saving therapies. Despite increasing pressure within the academic community to address the challenges of irreproducibility, little has been done to provide researchers with the tools and resources they need to adequately address this issue.

To better understand the needs for training of researchers, GBSI developed a baseline assessment of the current state of knowledge and skill level across the fundamental components of research fidelity, an effort known as the Good Research Practices Survey.

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Participants By Years of Experience (n=1,010)

The PIA Survey

The survey was to provide high level insights into the general level of preparedness, and identify specific areas of opportunity for additional training and development.

To the end, GBSI developed a 25 question survey covering five core subjects deemed critical to research fidelity: Study Design, Preparation & Staging, Data Management & Analysis, and Experiment Execution and Reporting Results.  The survey was distributed to PIs and researchers across the country, with high levels of engagement.  In total, more than 1,000 individuals participated in the survey, across a wide range of academic backgrounds and experience levels.

Score by Experience

Score by Background

Score by Subject

Highlights of the Results

The survey highlighted a number of key insights into the current state and training needs of the preclinical research arena, specifically around three areas: Prioritization of Training Needs, Impact of Experience, and Impact of Educational Background.

  1. Prioritization of Training Needs
    The results indicate the need to prioritize training in the more ‘Foundational’ research topics (Study Design, Reporting Results and Data Management & Analysis), with participants scoring higher on the more ‘Executional’ subjects (Experimental Execution and Preparation & Staging)
  2. Where Experience Matters
    While experience correlated with higher performance across the board, the impact that experience played in the “Executional” topics points to an opportunity for increased training from within the current environment (ie the experienced PI), while the comparatively smaller performance differential found in “Foundational” subjects highlights the importance of ongoing education and external support within those topics.