What is translational research?

Translational research is research that applies findings from basic science to enhance human health and well-being. In a medical research context, translational research aims to “translate” findings in fundamental research into medical practice and meaningful health outcomes.

Translational research is often referred to as from ‘bench-to-bedside’ research; research from laboratory experiments through clinical trials to administration to the patient. Translational research uses knowledge from the basic sciences to produce new drugs, devices, and treatment options for patients.

Translational research helps turn early innovations into new health products. Research in universities, pharmaceutical companies and charities produces many new discoveries and inventions, which have the potential to improve health; however, turning these ideas into useful products can be extremely difficult.

Researchers need to bring together the right combination of medical, scientific and business expertise to develop the product and position it within the market. To be able to do this, they need to anticipate what the market will be looking for, and how the product will be introduced alongside the competition. Translational research helps to overcome these obstacles, bridging the gap between basic research and a deliverable product.