The collaborative efforts of the Montana, Idaho, New Mexico, and Wyoming INBRE programs evolved from the recognized scientific needs of the rural mountain west. These scientific requirements include small populations spread over wide-geographic areas, isolated undergraduate institutions focused on the underserved populations, and the need to pool limited scientific expertise and materials. By capitalizing on our scientific strengths, the INBRE networks expanded resource capabilities to address diverse, yet overlapping, science questions, specific to each state’s INBRE thematic umbrella.
The Regional Alliance of INBRE Networks (RAIN) is a multi-state, multidisciplinary biomedical research coalition of complementary INBRE grant-recipient states dedicated to leveraging existing program strengths, reducing programmatic redundancy, and increasing biomedical research capacity.
INBRE stands for the “IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence,” which is a capacity-building research grant funded through the National Institute of General Medical Sciences division of the National Institutes of Health. Among other things, INBRE grants are designed to enhance biomedical research capacity, expand and strengthen the research capabilities of biomedical faculty, and provide access to biomedical resources for promising undergraduate and graduate students within eligible states.
Participating RAIN states share complementary biomedical and public health challenges and opportunities, such as small populations spread over large geographic areas, isolated undergraduate institutions serving underrepresented populations, and the need to pool and share limited scientific expertise and materials.
Organizing Goals and Objectives
- Leverage existing program strengths
- Reduce programmatic redundancy
- Increase biomedical research capacity
The initial concept of RAIN began in September, 2016, during the annual meeting of INBRE Principal Investigators and Program Coordinators at the NIH headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. Discussions between Idaho, Montana, and New Mexico continued with an official planning meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico in October that same year. Participating INBRE directors, coordinators, and managers identified numerous areas with the potential for interstate collaboration, including sharing bioinformatics resources, pooling undergraduate student research opportunities, enhancing graduate programs, sharing capabilities regarding unique patient populations, diversifying mentor expertise, and creating collaborative faculty research programs.
The first RAIN Biomedical Research Conference took place in September, 2017, in Big Sky, Montana, for the purpose of bringing together INBRE-supported faculty investigators to share their research findings, identify creative collaborations, and communicate with each other about their experiences. It was attended by over 50 investigators and program staff from Idaho, Montana, and New Mexico and helped lay the groundwork for continued collaboration.