Skip to main content

Our Voice

U2FP's Blog > Keeping you current on the movement to cure paralysis

Deeper Waters - Working 2 Walk 2020

We hope you are enjoying what you can squeeze from the remainder of the summer...especially given the many challenges that we have faced this year.

We are thoroughly engaged in preparations for our 15th Annual (Virtual Livestream) Working 2 Walk Science and Advocacy Symposium, and we sincerely hope you will join us - click here to register now!

This year’s conference features a broad cross-section of presenters from across the SCI landscape: community activists, scientists, funders, clinicians and industry representatives who reflect the whole pipeline from discovery science to commercial development. There will be multiple presentations, panel discussions and lots of time afforded you to ask questions and engage in the conversation.

Increasingly, our attention returns to questions of strategy: 

  • What is happening? Who is doing what? 
  • Why is the entire research system organized the way that it is? 
  • Is everyone’s practice efficiently incentivized toward our shared goal (curative interventions)? 

As always, we’re filtering these questions through the lived experience of what we in the SCI community urgently want and need. To that end, we have organized the symposium into sessions that broadly reflect the major stakeholders working to develop treatments for paralysis: 

  • Discovery and Translational Science 
  • Clinical Research 
  • Funders (large and small) who pay for the research 
  • Industry or Companies who are seeking to turn a discovery into a treatment 
  • SCI advocates who are using their influence to direct research.

In each of these sessions we will of course be getting updates on a variety of research and advocacy efforts, but we will also be asking those “Why?”, “What?”, and “To What End?” questions listed above. Head over to our Speakers & Agenda page for more information on our presenters and their scheduled topics.

Some of our guiding questions are:

  • How do each of the stakeholders measure success? And are those measures aligned across the stakeholder groups? 
  • Do most researchers know what the SCI community needs from a treatment innovation? And what they’re willing to risk to get it? 
  • Are researchers properly incentivized to move a discovery to human relevance? Should they be?
  • Do researchers know when, how and to whom to hand off a discovery to move it to human relevance?
  • Are market forces sufficient to pull discoveries out of the lab and into the marketplace?

Sometimes I fear that our community is not expected to venture into the deep end of this pool. But we are asking you - the SCI Community - to seek deeper waters. It's one of the main reasons U2FP exists: to educate and unite our community towards an effective relationship with the whole cure enterprise, its strategies and one another.

Our symposium isn’t intended as a showcase of breakthroughs, nor is it an endorsement of any particular strategy or lab. What we intend is deep engagement. Working 2 Walk is meant to facilitate the kind of dialogue that leads to the effective relationships we need to achieve cures.

Speaking as a father whose son was injured in the shallow end of the Pacific, I think I know what we’re asking.

Please join us!