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IADRP: search for funded research projects in Alzheimer's disease

Dr. Laurie Ryan
Laurie RYAN,
Chief, Clinical Interventions and Diagnostics Branch,
Division of Neuroscience (DN)

Did you know that there’s a new way to search for funded research projects in Alzheimer’s disease?

You can find out who is doing work in your area of interest in the US and other countries, and who is paying for that work. It’s a great way to identify funders, find collaborators, and search for gaps that may need to be addressed. How? By using…

IADRP—International Alzheimer's and Related Dementias Research Portfolio.

The NIA recently developed, in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association, a publicly available database to help coordinate and plan Alzheimer’s research, the International Alzheimer's and Related Dementias Research Portfolio (IADRP). Pronounce it: “eye drop.” The goal is to have all Alzheimer’s disease funders, from the public and private sectors and internationally, take part. We are making steady progress towards that goal. As one of the program officers for this effort, I find this a helpful tool to assess gaps and identify opportunities for collaboration.

If you fund Alzheimer’s research, we and the Association invite you to join IADRP. If you are a researcher, you will get an unprecedented view of the universe of Alzheimer’s research—what is underway and who is supporting it.

What does IADRP include?

With IADRP, you can take a look at research portfolios from 2008 to 2011 for:

  • U.S. federal agencies
  • Alzheimer’s Association
  • Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
  • Alzheimer’s Research UK

IADRP includes almost $2 billion dollars in funded research over 4 funding years. That represents more than 2,000 unique projects and researchers in 24 countries.

New data (and more data) coming soon.

The newest members of IADRP include:

  • Bright Focus (formerly AHAF) USA
  • Alzheimer’s Society UK
  • Alzheimer’s Australia
  • Alzheimer’s Society Canada

The data from these new members, along with the 2012 funding from the current members, is being coded and will be uploaded to the database shortly.

Get going with IADRP.

  1. Navigate to IADRP. It will play well with your mobile device, so use your smartphone if you like.
  2. Search for research projects using our taxonomy (more about that below), or a single keyword or combination of keywords. Or, search by characteristics of the research project, principal investigator, funding agency, geographic location, and more.
  3. Display your data. Data from IADRP can be exported and displayed in a spreadsheet.

Comparative funding across all research categories, 2011.

This is a chart describing the distribution of funding by US government agencies and US and international nonprofit organizations across five categories of Alzheimer's disease research in 2011. Funding Category A is Molecular Pathogenesis and Physiology of Alzheimer’s Disease. Category B is Diagnosis, Assessment, and Disease Monitoring. Category C is Translational Research and Clinical Interventions. Category D is Epidemiology. Category E is Care, Support and Health Economics of Alzheimer’s Disease. The first funder, the United State Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, funded approximately 20% A, 55% B, 3% C, 7% D, 15% E. The second funder, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), funded approximately 45% A, 25% B, 15% C, 10% D, and 5% E. The third funder, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), funded approximately 70% A, 20% B, 10% C, and no D and E. The fourth funder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), funded 100% D. The fifth funder, Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK), funded approximately 85% A, 10% B, 5% C, and no D and E. The sixth funder, Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), funded approximately 10% B, 90% C, and no A, D, or E. The seventh funder, Alzheimer’s Association, funded approximately 60% A, 10% B, 15% C, 5% D, and 10% E. The eighth funder, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), funded approximately 30% D and 70% E, and no A, B, or C. The ninth funder, Administration on Aging (AoA), funded 100% E. These percentages are approximate for the purposes of presentation. Exact figures are available from the IADRP database described in this blog post.

Why is the NIA involved?

As you know, we face a looming public health crisis: an aging global population means an increase in the population at highest risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Public and private funding agencies around the world are struggling to better support Alzheimer’s disease research. And they urgently need to coordinate funding strategies and leverage resources. That way, we can maximize the impact of funding and avoid duplication of effort and inefficiency. Good coordination requires a view of the current landscape of Alzheimer’s funding. IADRP is our window.

And even with that window, we still need a common language to describe the projects we all fund. The NIA and the Alzheimer’s Association thought it would be important to have a common taxonomy to categorize funded Alzheimer’s projects across all organizations that support Alzheimer’s research, all over the world. My NIA colleagues Charlene Liggins, Nina Silverberg, Suzana Petanceska, and Larry Refolo and I, along with Heather Snyder at the Association, work on this effort.

CADRO—The Common Alzheimer’s Disease Research Ontology.

The result?—the Common Alzheimer’s Disease Research Ontology (CADRO). CADRO is a unified classification system that enables comparative analysis of Alzheimer’s research portfolios, as well as strategic planning and coordination by organizations. CADRO forms the basis of the new IADRP database, through a three-tier classification system capturing the complete range of Alzheimer’s research and resources/partnerships. Alzheimer’s studies are coded by category, topics within each category, and themes within each topic. Use IADRP to see it in action.

Have you found IADRP useful? How? Let me know your thoughts, or questions, by submitting a comment below.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was updated with additional information on September 20, 2013.

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