Research being strengthened

Since the case of scientific fraud was discovered at the institution in January, rules, regulations and routines have been reviewed and a number of measures have been implemented. The merger between Rikshospitalet and the Norwegian Radium Hospital 18 months ago and a new agreement for closer collaboration with the University of Oslo (UiO) have also strengthened the research being conducted at Norway's leading research hospital.

"The organization of medical research is a continuous process. In collaboration with the University of Oslo, we now have an agreement that clarifies responsibilities and routines. The scientific fraud exposed in January has further strengthened our motivation for this work. Research ethics, researcher training, the responsibility of co-authors, different control mechanisms and a future ombud are high on our agenda", reports Strategy Director Stein Vaaler at the Rikshospitalet-Radiumhospitalet Medical Center (RR HF).

Research organizationally linked to the clinics
He explains that over the past year, RR HF and UiO have worked to find a way to formalize and strengthen the responsibility for clinical activities and research. As from 1 July, most medical research units will be organized under the hospital's different clinics. Thus the research is being linked more closely to hospital treatment and the responsibility for research at every level in the institution will be clearer", continues Vaaler.

Joint research committees
In May 2005, a Joint Research Committee was set up by RR HF and UiO. The Committee is chaired by Erlend Smeland, director of the Institute for Cancer Research. The Committee has drawn up the model for the reorganization. It has also worked with further developing and coordinating quality routines for research.

A new researcher network
"We have reviewed all routines, harmonizing and improving them as well as the control functions. Five protocol committees are being set up so that all disciplines within the health enterprise are covered. The researchers affiliated with the hospital will also find it easier to locate all the required documentation and regulations that apply to research routines through the common researcher network currently being established. We achieve a secure and systematic storing of their research data. Additionally, we will set up open, easily accessible databases for all research projects, featuring information about which research approvals are currently available", explains Smeland. The model for the Internet solution is already available at www.klinforsk.no

Large-scale researcher network
"Our research policy is to invest an increasingly greater percentage of our research funding in the large research groups at the Medical Center. The added value of close cooperation between colleagues and long-term emphasis on larger groups of researchers from different backgrounds are also evident on the international arena. This model brings good results. Our Center for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience is the country's only medical community this far to be granted status as a Center of Excellence (CoE). In June, the stem cell group at RR HF was granted status as a Center for Research-Driven Innovation (CRI). Several of our research groups are also in the finals for being named new centers of excellence", Vaaler points out.

Overall researcher support
Parallel to the research units being linked to the clinics in terms of organization, the health enterprise is consolidating several interdisciplinary research communities into a separate research alliance. The Intervention Center, the Centre for Shared Decision Making and Nursing Research, Medical Informatics and the Institute for Surgical Research will be bridge builders to the entire health enterprise, and are working on a model for a new unit to provide service to other research units.


Read the report to the Board on the quality assurance routines for the research at http://www.rikshospitalet.no/content/res_bibl/6572.doc
The model for the common researcher website can be found at www.klinforsk.no


For more information, please contact:
Strategy Director Stein Vaaler, tel: (+47) 230-71185, mobile: (+47) 991-56690
Director of Communication Trine Lind, tel: (+47) 230-70993, mobile: (+47) 915-80762
Corporate Communications, after-hours no.: (+47) 951-14134