SCI 2020: Launching a Decade for Disruption in Spinal Cord Injury Research

February 12, 2019 - February 13, 2019

Contact: Lyn Jakeman
Contact Number: 301-496-1447
Contact Email:

Natcher Conference Center, NIH Campus
Bethesda, Maryland

View Event Website

The goal of the 'SCI 2020: Launching a Decade for Disruption in Spinal Cord Injury Research' conference is to initiate discussion across the SCI research community to launch a new decade of research that disrupts traditional barriers and brings about collaborative efforts to address the key research questions in spinal cord injury research.  This conference is designed to be a comprehensive stakeholder’s meeting to bring diverse experience and voices together with this common goal.  The participants will be challenged to critically evaluate the state of the science, assess areas of scientific, technological and community readiness, and identify the collaborations needed to change the trajectory of research and clinical opportunities for people with SCI. 


  1. To address and raise awareness of recent progress and current gaps in SCI research
  2. To provide opportunities for collaboration across basic, translational, clinical research and consumer groups
  3. To identify the top SCI research priorities for next 5-10 years -- of and for the SCI research community -- at the intersection of Scientific / Technological / Community Readiness

Related Resources

Speaker ListAgenda


The conference brought together a broad range of stakeholders to break down communication silos and advance spinal cord injury (SCI) research.


The SCI research community has experienced significant advances in discovery research, technology development, and promising clinical interventions in the past decade. In planning meetings and at the conference, participants critically evaluated the state of the science, identified technological and community readiness, and built collaborations to accelerate progress for people with SCI.  The meeting included six panel presentations and breakout sessions, where stakeholders discussed top priorities for SCI research in the next decade.

Summary of meeting discussion:

The conference featured keynote presentations from the clinical and lived SCI experience, discussions of rigor and reporting in SCI research, and current funding opportunities at the NIH. The scientific panels highlighted recent research discoveries and key unanswered questions on topics that included managing SCI in the acute post-injury period, promoting repair and plasticity, neuromodulation, secondary consequences of SCI and health, and advances in assistive technology. The North American Spinal Cord Injury Consortium and other public members provided personal context of individuals living with SCI to inform future research priorities. Participants attended one of five breakout sessions to identify top priorities for research that would be feasible through collaboration across communities.


The final session of the conference included the reports from each of the breakout sessions and audience comment and discussion. Outcomes from the meeting were presented at the 2019 American Spinal Injury Association annual meeting and the National Neurotrauma Society 2019 Symposium and will be summarized in a publication by the SCI Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (in preparation).