Roadmap for developing the next generation of clinical researchers

Until now, too little has been done to develop emerging clinical research talent. To redress the balance, a broad-based roadmap has been created with the aim of providing systematic support to research-oriented clinicians at all stages of their career. 

For a long time clinical research in Switzerland stood in the shadow of basic biomedical research. But in recent years numerous initiatives have been launched to boost clinical research and enhance its quality. A report produced in 2014 as part of the federal administration’s master plan to boost biomedical research and technology concluded that despite this, too little has been done so far to develop new clinical research.

Following this, a task force deployed by the FOPH translated the report’s recommendations into concrete measures, demarcated the relevant responsibilities, and defined a timeframe for the successful, sustainable implementation of the relevant measures.

Objectives of the roadmap

The 2016-21 roadmap for building up the future generation of clinical researchers (Link) encompasses a total of five work packages. They are designed to help close gaps in the career track for clinical researchers and provide them with opportunities for efficient high-level training. Ideally this should encourage an increasing number of young doctors to embark on this career track.

The roadmap is also relevant to many of the other objectives and measures designed to boost biomedical research and technology contained in the master plan, to the extent that doctors with a good scientific training doing clinical research occupy a key position between bench and bedside and thus represent the human capital driving biomedical research, technology and innovation.

Responsibilities and feedback

To boost efficiency and avoid duplication of effort, the planned actions build on existing infrastructures and expertise in clinical research. Responsibility for implementing the roadmap is shared by the local MD-PhD graduate schools, the SCTO with its network of clinical trial units, the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS), the FOPH and unimedsuisse.

Publication of the roadmap was preceded by a broad consultation process. The feedback from this process is summarised in the consultation report (Link).

Timeframe and outlook

The planned measures are to be prepared and delivered from 2016 to 2018 so that a comprehensive clinical research training and support framework is in place from the autumn semester of 2018. The plan is to conduct and evaluation after the closely monitored three-year pilot phase.

Last modification 06.08.2018

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