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Table 2 Suggestions of indicators by participants of the qualitative study

From: Identifying potential indicators to measure the outcome of translational cancer research: a mixed methods approach

Suggestion or comment by participant Possible indicator (according to author) Authors’ comments
Collaboration between biologists and epidemiologists is important and should be measured in terms of outputs, such as joint papers Number of publications co-authored by an epidemiologist and a biologist This is the only indicator of multidisciplinarity proposed by a participant; however, it is very specific to research in molecular epidemiology
No similar indicator has been created; indicator added to the Delphi survey
One interesting indicator would be the number of patients in a clinical trial benefiting from a biomarker identification Number of patients included in a clinical trial with a biomarker identification That indicator would be studied by a survey of cancer centres; indicator added to the Delphi survey
The point of translational research is to transfer to clinical practice. So it is supposed to generate clinical studies. Ideally it [an evaluation measure] would be how many positive studies had been generated Number of hypotheses generated Literature suggests one indicator of ‘number of hypotheses generated’ [6], but no methodology is proposed; indicator added to the Delphi survey
A good indicator of translational research would be its capacity to generate hypothesis to test in the clinic. […] So the protocols of clinical validation that have been generated
We should ensure whether the tools developed are effective enough to process data the correct way Measures of effectiveness of developed tools The participant clearly specified that it was an indicator specific to their field (bioinformatics) and not applicable to whole translational research; not added to the questionnaire due to lack of clear definition
The primary aim [of translational research] would be to adapt technologies to the general population. So it should be evaluated on this aspect Use of developed technologies in practice No existing indicator; not added to the questionnaire due to lack of clear definition
Developing a biomarker in translational research will help to select patients that will benefit from a treatment, that is a real proxy of translational research efficacy Number of biomarkers developed Literature suggests one indicator of ‘number of biomarkers identified’ [6], but no methodology is proposed; indicator already part of the Delphi survey
What should be measured, for translational research, is the benefit for the patient. Not the final benefit […] but the interim benefit, such as biomarkers developed
The ideal for translational research, it that it modifies patient care. So that can be a long-term objective, but […] if there are interim step
Ideally, a translational study should lead to an application, which means, from clinical to basic research, to a fundamental research project, and in the opposite direction, to a clinical application, such as a clinical trial, the validation of a biomarker, or an imaging study
“[translational research should be evaluated] in terms of publications and implementations in the clinics. […] Also guidelines Clinical guidelines generated There are two existing indicators measuring the transfer of research in clinical guidelines: number of clinical guidelines generated and citation of research in clinical guidelines; indicators already part of the Delphi survey
The development of database is also an important structural factor… an indicator Number of databases created Literature suggests one indicator of ‘number of databases created’ [6], but no methodology is proposed; indicator added to the Delphi survey