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ORAU-Led Peer Review Evaluates Pennsylvania’s Return on Investment into Health Research

The Pennsylvania Department of Health relies on Oak Ridge Associated Universities' (ORAU) established peer review process to evaluate its return on investment resulting from health research grants awarded through the Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement (CURE) Program.

CURE, which was established as part of the Pennsylvania Master Tobacco Settlement Act, uses tobacco monies to fund a variety of health research projects.

During 2007, ORAU convened five panels of experts in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pa., to conduct interim objective reviews of research into neurodegenerative diseases and tobacco use and cessation.

Seventeen independent reviewers recruited by ORAU evaluated information provided by the principal investigators, including on-site presentations, to assess the research progress to date and the value of the investment as well as to identify any needed improvements.

ORAU also managed the research review for 172 completed research grants to appraise the success toward achieving the stated research goals and objectives. The final summary report includes recommendations for improvements in future and ongoing research while also demonstrating the positive return on Pennsylvania’s outlays for health research.

The results are incorporated in the annual report to the Pennsylvania legislature on the progress of grants funded by the Tobacco Settlement Act.