What is the Mapping Project?
The Alternative R&D Mapping Project documents a range of alternative initiatives catalogued by Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM). This list is not meant as a final and definitive catalogue of alternate biomedical R&D initiatives; it is a living document, to be constantly revised and updated with inputs from our ever-evolving global health community. Some of these may be seen as building blocks of a new system of biomedical research and development, many may not. The simple purpose of this Mapping is to consolidate and categorize these initiatives in a way that provides a starting point for analysis and reflection on what a new approach to biomedical R&D could, should and should not look like. There is no judgement in this Mapping – it does not say whether initiatives included achieve the goal of access. This is the next vital step and will be part of further analysis of initiatives. This stage will require open collaboration to figure out the lessons learned from these different initiatives, what works and what does not, and why.
Our Mapping Method
The Mapping Project began with a list of existing and proposed alternative biomedical R&D initiatives gathered from published literature and their sources. These initiatives were identified through already-known networks and an intensive phase of online research. Key online search terms were informed by specific models of biomedical R&D known to UAEM and associated organizations.
Key Google search terms used in the research:
- Alternative incentive models
- Alternative biomedical R&D, open biomedical R&D
- Pharmaceutical innovation
- Biomedical innovation
- Push, pull and pool
- Private-public partnerships
- Product development partnerships
- Contests for and prize funds for innovation
Once key search terms were identified and searched, a list of the discovered initiatives was laid out for further investigation. This list was updated as the Mapping progressed, based on further information found in the course of the research. Findings were organized alphabetically and documented as follows:
- The full name of the given initiative
- A summary of the initiative
- Its main project(s)
- Its purported effectiveness
- Questions and/or critiques found in the literature
- Proposed changes and/or improvements
- Affiliated organizations, stakeholders and partners
- University involvement (where applicable)
After the initial list of initiatives were fully summarized and their projects identified, we categorized each initiative according to an established typology and determined whether any of a set of inclusion criteria were met and/or whether any specific exclusion criteria could be applied. If no inclusion criteria were evaluated as being met and/or any exclusion criteria were met, the initiative was removed from the mapping.
Initiatives were then organized according to the typology assigned to them. Aside from the authors of this project, three other experts reviewed the typology categorizations, the criteria listed as met, and additional research for each initiative in an attempt to minimize errors in classification and possibly point out gaps in the Mapping.
The search was limited to the English language and the last search of the literature was conducted on August 5th, 2015.