A federal pain research database designed to combine information about pain research and training activities supported by the federal government has been launched by six federal agencies and is being managed by the Office of Pain Policy at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
In a recent news release from the NIH, Linda Porter, PhD, Policy Advisor for Pain at the NINDS, explains that the Interagency Pain Research Portfolio (IPRP) database “will provide the public and the research community with an important tool to learn more about the breadth and details of pain research supported across the federal government. They can search for individual research projects grouped by themes unique relevant to pain. It also can be helpful in identifying potential collaborators by searching for topic areas of interest or for investigators.”
The release notes that database users can search more than 1,200 research projects in a multitiered system. In its first tier, grants are organized as basic, translational, or clinical research projects.
In Tier 2, grants are arranged among 29 scientific topic areas related to pain, including chronic overlapping conditions and neurobiological mechanisms. Additionally, the release states that Tier 2 categories are organized into nine research themes that include pain mechanisms, basic to clinical, disparities, training and education, tools and instruments, risk factors and causes, surveillance and human trials, overlapping conditions, and use of services, treatments, and interventions.
According to the release, NIH staff and members of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC) developed the database. The IPRCC is a federal advisory committee formed to enhance the understanding of pain and treatment strategies by expanding pain research efforts and encouraging collaboration across the government.
Porter points out that database also reveals a “diverse research portfolio in which contributions from federal agencies and departments reflect their unique missions and the populations that they serve. For the first time, this information has been collected into a single database that can be mined to ensure that federal research efforts are not redundant and to identify opportunities to collaborate and share resources across agencies.”
Porter adds that the database will also assist the federal entities that support pain research in identifying gaps in research areas and trends in topics over time.