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IHTM Course Adviser and lecturer, Dr Alice Norton, has led a highly collaborative effort to develop and launch a new tool for agencies funding global clinical trials – the GloPID-R Funders Living Roadmap.

A diagram summarising the three goals and eleven accompanying principles of the roadmap.
GOAL: Support epidemic-ready clinical trial networks and platforms
Principle Strengthen and sustain strategic clinical trial networks and platforms
Principle Promote a culture of good clinical trial practice including FAIR¹ data practices
Principle Support harmonisation of clinical trial responses
GOAL: Facilitate an agile, effective clinical trial response
Principle Ensure agile funding policies
Principle Strategic allocation of funds for an effective response
Principle Establish coordinated funding mechanisms
Principle Exert wider influence to address challenges to trial implementation
GOAL: Promote an equitable research environment
Principle Improve equitable clinical trial practice
Principle Ensure investments promote equity of access
Principle Provide support for researchers and an equitable research environment

Dr Alice Norton is the Head of the Research and Policy Team at the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness, GloPID-R. This Team is hosted within the new Pandemic Sciences Institute at the University of Oxford. Alice and the team have developed the Living Roadmap with the purpose of supporting a coordinated clinical trial ecosystem in response to new, emerging, and re-emerging outbreaks with epidemic or pandemic potential. The Roadmap will contribute to generating actionable evidence to inform public health policies and improve global health security.

Speaking about the roadmap Alice says, 

“The GloPID-R Research and Policy Team has developed the Roadmap in consultation with funders and researchers in the field to ensure that it is a living document that can be immediately and effectively implemented. Through the Roadmap we can improve funding policies, increase large scale as well as multi-country trials and grow the capacity to undertake trials in any setting. Building a robust, global clinical trial ecosystem is essential to managing outbreaks with epidemic or pandemic potential.”

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the need for a coordinated, global approach to clinical trials and there were many notable clinical trial successes during the pandemic. However, there was also an uncoordinated proliferation of trials, some of which competed for patients and many of the trials failed to generate actionable evidence. There were also few trials implemented in resource-deprived settings. This inefficient use of resources underscores a clear need to strengthen our capacity for a globally coordinated clinical trial response. 

The Roadmap, which was launched on 4 May 2023, identifies principles and suggested actions for funders with the aim of reaching three goals to:

  • Support epidemic-ready clinical trial networks and platforms
  • Facilitate an agile, effective clinical trial response
  • Promote an equitable research environment

Organisations have begun to work with the roadmap, individually and in collaboration with GloPID-R, and there are ten funders who have already formally endorsed the roadmap.

As part of her role within IHTM, Alice works with students to develop their skills in engagement with policy makers. The culmination of the students’ work is to present the policy briefs to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Houses of Parliament.

Two IHTM alumni, Dr Susan Khader and Dr Emilia Antonio, are members of the GloPID-R Research and Policy Team responsible for developing the roadmap.

Further information:

The GloPID-R Research and Policy Team (responsible for developing and lead authors of the Roadmap): Isabel Foster, Dr Susan Khader, Dr Emilia Antonio, Dr Louise Sigfrid and Dr Alice Norton

The Roadmap was developed with the GloPID-R Clinical Trial Networks & Funders Working Group in consultation with GloPID-R’s members and board, its Data Sharing Working Group, observers, and associated stakeholders.