ProofPilot Goal Updates and What’s Next?
ProofPilot has some lofty goals. We’re not interested in being another electronic data capture system. We feel the world of research needs real change.
The most disruptive startups don’t only create cool products. They upend business models. Salesforce created the software as a service subscription model. That replaced the old enterprise software contract. Uber, Airbnb, Kickstarter used crowdsourcing to change the financial model for their respective sectors.
We’re still working on ProofPilot as a product. That will never stop.
And now, after three years, we’re starting to embark on our next big initiative: Changing the research study business model.
Today, grants from government and non-profits fund most academic research studies. It’s an outdated, highly inefficient and problematic model. It can take years for a study question to get funded — if at all. This leaves many questions unanswered. The model favors incumbents (older white men). It distorts study designs as researchers try to put an entire career of data in one study. It doesn’t adequately support study replication. The model favors low-risk studies most likely to show results. And, there’s less money to go around. It used to be that nearly half of all National Institutes of Health proposals got funded. Today it’s approximately 8%.
ProofPilot’s most significant contribution will be changing how research studies are paid for.
We can do so as we are not part of an established academic institution. We’ve created a product to reduce barriers so it’s easy for anyone to design a study. We’ve priced that product so you don’t need a multi-million dollar grant. You can use ProofPilot across research questions (we aren’t a project based solution).
Watch ProoofPilot over the coming months as we slowly release these innovations. The features, partnerships and programs are designed to entirely change the business model.
And In doing so, getting closer us closer to our key goals:
1) Support early career researchers (along with women, and other underrepresented groups).
The current research funding model favors people who have established track records. ProofPilot wants to support graduate students doing their first studies. And we hope those studies are as groundbreaking at researchers with extensive experience.
2) Build capacity to run research studies in communities who haven’t done a lot of research.
Imagine if only a small handful of businesses, in specific communities, could run an accounting system. Our economy would grind to a halt. Money in, money out is how any business measures success. But many health and wellness companies also measure success based on health outcomes. But, unless you are a well funded academic, often male and in the US you’re without that “beyond cash” accounting system. ProofPilot aims to change that.
3) Strengthen the research replication process
We know social, environmental and behavioral factors can have outsized influences on outcomes. Those factors can change dramatically over time, geography and each person. Replicating a research study in different environments and situations is essential. It establishes whether an intervention or treatment works in different locations. But there are few funds (and limited publication opportunities) to do so. Study replication is a natural part of the ProofPilot model.
4) Create an enjoyable and convenient experience for the participant.
Today many research studies treat participants like a cow jabbed with treatments, and then milked for data. Then researchers wonder why no one wants to be involved. ProofPilot turns the research study into a new form of online entertainment. Or we at least mitigate the stress of for individuals who are ill.
5) Support more, smaller studies.
Research studies should be iterative. But, today, researchers hope to collect as much data as they possibly can when they’ve got the funding. When funding dries up, they’ll have data they can publish on for years. This model is difficult on participants. Researchers They poke, prod and ask hundreds of survey questions. ProofPilot makes smaller more frequent studies possible. Thus, it’s possible to iterate and improve on treatments and interventions. This further enhances outcomes.
6) Move the focus of research from publication to implementation.
We all want to invest resources in things that work. We want to improve (or stop) things that don’t. ProofPilot empowers solution providers. The end goal of a study is not to publish results. It’s to improve lives. That’s what ProofPilot is all about.
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