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Shaping the Future of Biomedical Research: Insights from the UC BRAID Leadership Retreat

September 1, 2023


On July 10, 2023, the UC BRAID (University of California Biomedical Research Acceleration, Integration, and Development) Leadership Retreat was held at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). This significant gathering brought together distinguished leaders from UC's five biomedical campuses to reassess the strategic direction of UC BRAID and to prioritize projects in support of UC BRAID’s specific aims. In attendance were directors and chief administrative officers from UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, UC San Diego, and UC San Francisco, as well as leadership from UC BRAID.


Vision: Harnessing the Power of the University of California:

At the heart of UC BRAID's mission is the aspiration to harness the collective power of the University of California to accelerate research and optimize health equity. The retreat attendees embraced this vision, recognizing the importance of collaboration across campuses and disciplines to identify the next set of programmatic deliverables. By fostering an environment of collaboration and shared purpose, UC BRAID aims to unlock new possibilities and expedite the translation of research findings into tangible benefits for patients and communities across California.


Revisiting the Strategic Plan:

The retreat commenced with a critical examination of the strategic plan that was developed nearly four years ago. Participants recognized the need to assess whether the current direction aligns with the developing vision of UC BRAID and worked on narrowing the scope of the strategic plan by focusing their efforts to help move projects forward to completion. By revisiting and streamlining the plan, the attendees aimed to ensure that UC BRAID's initiatives effectively leverage diverse resources and expertise across the University of California system.


Goal: A Clear and Actionable Plan:

The primary objective of the UC BRAID Leadership Retreat was to emerge with a renewed strategic plan that outlines clear actions and priorities. Participants recognized the importance of translating the wide-ranging strategic goals into focused efforts and identifying tangible deliverables. By narrowing the scope and concentrating their efforts, UC BRAID can make significant strides in optimizing health through accelerated research.


Identifying Aligned Projects:

One of the key outcomes of the retreat was the identification of 3 goals that are in line with UC BRAID's overarching vision. These projects serve as catalysts for collaboration and innovation, enabling researchers and stakeholders from various disciplines to pool their expertise and resources effectively. By focusing on these projects, UC BRAID aims to drive transformative advancements in biomedical research and enhance the impact of its initiatives on health outcomes.


Narrowing and focusing the Goals and Strategies of the Strategic Plan was the primary activity of the day. The group engaged in several exercises to reduce the elements of the strategic plan to three primary goals with two to three specific strategies within each goal.  Current and proposed projects were then mapped to the new framework.  The new goals are:


  1. Collaborate – foster UC multi-site research collaboration and alignment, and disseminate the best practices

  2. Coordinate – coordinate campus programs to maximize UC’s ability to conduct innovative research, and facilitate multi-site grant submissions

  3. Engage – engage California’s diverse communities to guide and advocate for community-centered research, sustain community engagement partnerships and advocate for the inclusion of community engaged research and activities



The 2023 UC BRAID Leadership Retreat provided a valuable opportunity for leaders from UCs with CTSA funding to reimagine the strategic direction of the organization. By revisiting the existing strategic plan, focusing efforts, and identifying aligned projects, UC BRAID aims to accelerate biomedical research and maximize its impact on health outcomes. As the University of California continues to harness its collective potential, UC BRAID stands at the forefront of advancing innovation, collaboration, and transformative change in the field of biomedical and translational research.

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