Translational and Implementation Research

Theme Leads: Julian Ma (SGUL) and Adrianna Murphy (LSHTM)

Translational research produces results that directly benefit human health. Translational research includes two areas, the first is the process of applying discoveries generated either in the laboratory or in preclinical studies, to the development of trials and studies in humans and beyond to the introduction of health interventions. The second area of translation concerns research aimed at enhancing the adoption of best practices in the community. Cost-effectiveness of prevention and treatment strategies is also an important part of translational science. 

Our definition of Implementation Research (IR) (or Implementation Science) is aligned with that of MRC and the definition provided by Eccles and Mittman (1). We define IR as the scientific study of methods and strategies to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice, and, hence, to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services.  

While in practice, IR can employ a range of different types of methods, the focus of this scheme is on IR that uses either advanced quantitative methods (as defined under “quantitative skills”) or mixed-methods approaches that include advanced quantitative methods. These might include, for example, the application of advanced econometric or epidemiological methods to electronic health records, market data, or demographic surveillance data. Specific interventions or practices under study can range from clinical level interventions (eg, diagnosis or risk stratification approaches, pharmaceutical interventions) to broader public health or health system interventions and policies (eg, proposed tax legislation). LSHTM is home to an interdisciplinary programme of training in IR, applying economic evaluation, sociology, policy analysis, and evaluation methods to improve uptake of proven health technologies, programmes and policies. 

1. Eccles MP, Mittman BS. Welcome to implementation science. Implementation Science. 2006;1(1):1