RESEARCH CONDITIONS. Today the Swedish Research Council submitted to the Government its evaluation of clinical research at the county councils and universities covered by the ALF agreement. In general the evaluation rates Västra Götaland highly, with it receiving the highest rating in two of the three categories evaluated.
Through the ALF system, the Government provides funds to the county council as compensation for the internship needed for basic education of doctors. The funds are mainly used for clinical research in the county councils. In the Västra Götaland region, ALF funds amount to nearly SEK 500 million annually, half of which is allocated to projects that are mainly carried out by researchers affiliated with Sahlgrenska Academy.
“Naturally, we are proud and pleased with the results of the ALF evaluation of the Västra Götaland region,” Sahlgrenska Academy Dean Agneta Holmäng comments. “The ALF system is the backbone of our collaboration with the region and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in particular, and this positive outcome reinforces our impression that our collaboration is working exceptionally well.”
“This is a strong recognition of the work that our extraordinarily competent clinical researchers do,” says Lars Grip, manager of research, development, education and innovation (FOUUI) at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. “It is also recognition of how, with the help of ALF funds, we take great pains to strengthen clinical research and improve the conditions researchers work under.”
Two of three top ratings
The report rates on a three-point scale (deficient quality, good/high quality and very high quality). Ratings are given for three different categories: quality of scientific production, clinical importance of research and benefit to society, and the qualifications of research. For two of these categories, the Västra Götaland region was given the highest rating, very high quality. For the third category, clinical importance of research and benefit to society, it was rated good/high quality.
For the quality of scientific production criterion, the Swedish Research Council points to the impressively large number of studies and that the production is competitive internationally. In its evaluation of research conditions, the council particularly emphasized the collaboration between the Västra Götaland region and the University of Gothenburg and stated that the collaboration “works really well.”
“Good collaboration between health care and academia is one of the most important keys,” Lars Grip says. “The report shows much of what we are good at, but it also provides guidance on additional improvements we can make in the future with regard to follow-up and utilization of our research, for example.”
The Swedish Research Council notes that Swedish clinical research generally is of high quality. Regarding the quality of scientific production, Stockholm and Västra Götaland get the top rating, and the five other county councils are deemed to maintain good/high quality. In the category dealing with research’s benefit to society, five county councils are rated “good/high quality,” Skåne gets the top rating and Örebro receives the only deficient quality evaluation. In the last category, research conditions, Skåne and Västerbotten receive the highest rating in addition to Västra Götaland, while the other four county councils are deemed to maintain good/high quality.
Agneta Holmäng wants to particularly call attention to the people who worked intensively to supply the Swedish Research Council with the data it needed on time:
“There are a number of people who made this evaluation possible. I especially would like to thank Claes Dahlgren, our assistant dean for ALF issues, for his important contributions, and I would also like to thank Lars Grip, who drove the process forward in preparation for the evaluation with great dedication.”
Potential redistribution of ALF funds
The evaluation that the Swedish Research Council has now submitted to the Government is based on the new ALF agreement that went into effect in 2015. ALF stands for the agreement for medical education and research and is an agreement between the Government and the seven county councils that specifies the conditions for the education and research carried out in collaboration between universities and the health care system.
In 2015 the Västra Götaland region was allocated 21 percent of the total ALF funds that the Government distributes among the county councils. This evaluation may serve as the basis for a redistribution of part of the ALF funds among the county councils.
A Swedish summary of the report from the Swedish Research Council is available here: https://www.vr.se/nyheterpress/nyheter2018/svenskkliniskforskninghallerhogkvalitetvisarnyutvardering
The full report is available in Swedish here: https://publikationer.vr.se/produkt/utvardering-av-den-kliniska-forskningens-kvalitet-vid-de-landsting-som-omfattas-av-alf-avtalet/
TEXT: ELIN LINDSTRÖM CLAESSEN
SURGERY PHOTO: JOHAN WINGBORG/UNIVERSITY OF GOTHENBURG