Between the two HRA membership meetings each year, members continue to connect and learn through HRA Interest Groups.  Each group has two co-chairs who are representatives from member organizations. In addition to organizing two or more educational webinars during the year, these groups plan topics for roundtable discussions that take place at meetings of the membership.  If there is interest in developing a project among members of a Working Group, a Task Group can be formed to work on the project.

Drug and Other Therapy Development

The DOTD interest group focuses on topics of interest and common challenges in funding drug discovery or development programs. Our goal is to share experiences and develop common resources or tools that we can use to accelerate translational research through our respective organizations.

This group focuses on issues specifically related to drug and other therapy development such as:

  • Effect of nonprofit accounting standards on funding models
  • Working with big pharma – access to drugs on the shelf and a role for nonprofits in pharma drug development programs
  • Strategies for pricing of drugs developed with nonprofit funds
  • Clinical research infrastructure to subsidize drug development costs
  • Metrics for drug development programs
  • FDA issues: need for regulatory science; the need for EMEA-FDA harmonization
  • Sharing documents such as MTAs, NDAs, research contracts, and multi-party contracts.

Grants Administration

The Grants Administration Working Group addresses a wide range of high-priority operational issues common to funders of biomedical research, by sharing information, showing how a variety of different organizations approach a specific issue, and by defining and sharing recommended approaches and best practices. Topics researched by the group include reviewer conflict of interest policies, intellectual property and patent policies, and the mentoring of early career clinical investigators.

Grants Program Analysis

The goal of this interest group is to provide education, guidance, and tools for HRA members to effectively assess the impact of their funding initiatives. As donors grow increasingly interested in understanding the impact of their philanthropy, grantmakers are charged with providing in-depth assessment of the contributions of these research dollars. This powerful information from evaluation research and grants program analysis can not only serve to boost donor confidence, but can also benefit public knowledge by sharing important progress made through grant-making. Furthermore, knowledge of the impact of specific grant programs can lead to innovative new approaches to funding by allowing grantmakers to visualize research trends as well as the collective, and individual, impact of their grants.

Funder-Institution RelationS Task (FIRST) Group :

The FIRST group is focused on enhancing relationships with academic institutions to collegially work together on common provisions in grant agreements such as Intellectual Property and Indirect Costs.


Health Services Research

Health services research is the next phase of basic and clinical research in improving health: Basic and clinical research study diseases and the development of treatment for those diseases; HSR studies how those treatments are applied and the resulting outcomes. Includes study of organizational structures within healthcare and their financing, role of practitioners, impact of individual behaviors on treatments and health, and how systems outside of healthcare impact health.

Open Science Task Force

The goal of the Open Science Task Force is to produce resources for HRA member organizations to:  1) inform their decision making processes in the implementation of open science policies, 2) facilitate implementation of open science policies and 3) influence the advancement of open science.

Research Workforce and Early Career Development

To help HRA members build a diverse, motivated and committed research workforce by:

  • Creating resources to facilitate funder’s learning about grant programs for early career investigators
  • Facilitating opportunities to learn how HRA members can contribute to development and enhancement of the health research workforce
  • Identifying and disseminating practices to support development of early career investigators

Discovery Science Interest Group (inactive)

The term “discovery science” for the purposes of this group includes the search for knowledge of the basic biology of certain diseases or systems. “Discovery Science” implies an emphasis on innovative approaches to research questions and visualizing the path from discovery to applications improving human health. “Discovery science” also includes the analysis of large volumes of experimental data with the goal of finding new patterns or correlations, leading to novel hypothesis formation and sharing scientific methodologies among diverse scientific areas of study. This  group provides the opportunity for funders of discovery science to:

  • Share methodologies for evaluation, impact, and portfolio analysis of funded discovery science
  • Examine opportunities to pool resources to encourage (or require) open access to data
  • Learn new approaches from funders in different disease or scientific focus areas
  • Discuss how funders can encourage the publication of null results

Translating Research into Practice and Policy (inactive)

The Translating Research into Practice and Policy group is focused on getting prevention and outcomes research more quickly adopted into practice and policy. There are many effective, research-based interventions to improve public health or improve health care delivery, but rarely do they get farther than journal articles. And unlike the pathways for drug development, no industry exists with the purpose is to push these interventions into use. There is, however, a growing community of researchers, health systems, quality improvement organization, and funders who are focused on the challenges of scaling-up and adopting these health improvements.