Big, transformative ideas in medical research are coming from small but mighty patient-driven foundations. The way they fund and find research are bucking traditional processes. The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network (TRAIN) is a FasterCures program that convenes dozens of forward-thinking foundations to learn from each other and share their novel solutions with the rest of the medical research system.

TRAIN organizations have a singular focus on, and a significant stake in, getting promising therapies from the laboratory bench to the patient's bedside as rapidly as possible. In many cases, TRAIN's participating organizations have been created by patients and their families who are frustrated by the slow pace of change in the traditional medical research system. They represent the kinds of organizations that are fast becoming engines behind innovation in disease research — collaborative, mission-driven, strategic in their allocation of resources, and results-oriented.

TRAIN's Goals

  • To provide deeper learning opportunities related to foundations' role in accelerating therapeutic development, implementing collaborative research networks/initiatives, and creating and growing patient registries and resources
  • To build more and better networks between patient foundations and other R&D stakeholders
  • To enhance the capacity of patient foundations around the world to move beyond basic grant making and use philanthropic efforts to address unmet needs in biomedical R&D

TRAIN Elements

TRAIN Central Station
The online platform for TRAIN groups and other medical research innovators to share best practices, exchange ideas, and find relevant tools and resources.

Webinar series
FasterCures holds regular webinars on a range of issues that impact medical R&D - from innovation at the NIH to regulatory science, crowdsourcing data challenges to patient-centered research networks, and many more. These hour-long virtual panel discussions are an efficient means to spotlight an emerging issue, a best practice/model, or a new policy.

TRAIN Workshops
An intensive day-long learning experience for about 50-75 participants focused on addressing a shared systemic or cultural obstacle that is slowing down medical progress across diseases.


Engage with TRAIN

Are you a nonprofit disease research foundation? Do you partner with nonprofit funders of research? Or do you have tools that would be useful to a patient-driven, outcomes-focused medical research community? If so, we invite you engage with TRAIN:

  • Subscribe to the FasterCures Smart Brief, our bi-weekly electronic newsletter that is a digest of useful news and resources, along with notices of webinars on topics of interest and importance to research-funding foundations and other FasterCures and TRAIN-related events.
  • Suggest items for the FasterCures Smart Brief that are of interest to the nonprofit medical research community, such as cross-sector research partnerships or innovative approaches to research design and funding, by sending an email to train@fastercures.org.
  • Submit a tool, resource, or publication to share with the research community by sending an email to train@fastercures.org. Topics include venture philanthropy, patient engagement, collaboration, and the regulatory process. 
  • Watch our free archived webinars and register for upcoming ones. You'll hear experts discuss intellectual property, the reproducibility of research results, engaging with the FDA, and more.
  • Apply to be included on the list of TRAIN participating organizations by completing this online form attesting to your organization’s commitment to the characteristics that define TRAIN organizations. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and selection notifications will be out on a quarterly basis throughout the year. 

About FasterCures

FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, is an "action tank" driven by a singular goal—to save lives by speeding up and improving the medical research system. We have a number of laser-focused, high-impact programmatic initiatives that allow us to educate stakeholders about the barriers, amplify solutions to pave the way to progress, and create opportunities for key leaders to come together and get things done.