FNUSA-ICRC evaluation – satisfaction as well as challenges for the future

From 2016 to 2020 the International Clinical Research Center at St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) was financed mainly from the National Sustainability Program (the NPU II project). At the end of this period, a final evaluation took place, where members of the opponent board from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports together with opponents from numerous other prestigious foreign institutions evaluated the project as excellent and with an international impact. FNUSA-ICRC´s scientists thus met the goals set by the contract and achieved excellent, internationally recognized results.

Within five years, FNUSA-ICRC has received subsidies from the NPU II project with the total amount of CZK 985 million. The final report states that the Center has made significant progress towards being an internationally competitive and sustainable, multidisciplinary center of excellence in translational medicine. Both in clinical and basic research.

The final report emphasizes, inter alia, that in 2020, FNUSA-ICRC continued to develop despite the unusual and unpredictable situation associated with COVID-19. “It should be noted that we had to restrict access to laboratories, and many scientists, nurses as well as administrators devoted their time to helping patients, working in test centers or supporting other hospital services,” said Pavel Iványi, MBA, LL.M., CEO of the Center. “That is why I think we´re talking about an extraordinary result and I thank everyone who made a contribution.”

In addition to all commitments being fulfilled and results achieved, the Board of Opponents also highlighted FNUSA-ICRC´s support of mobility (supporting students and enabling them to acquire new abilities, knowledge and skills) – 943 students from all over the world took part in the project and positively acknowledged the cooperation, for example in the form of joint grants. The number of implemented clinical trials is also exceptional, mainly because FNUSA-ICRC is the only so-called Prime Site in the Czech Republic for the global IQVIA group. Just to give an idea – there are currently 170 clinical trials in progress.

Many scientific outputs of FNUSA-ICRC have been published in leading international journals and are considered key in their respective scientific fields. For example, several articles appeared in the Top 10 ranking scientific journals, an average of 17% of the total number of FNUSA-ICRC´s publications to be exact and an average of 8% appeared in the Top 5. FNUSA-ICRC researchers have published their articles in Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet Neurology, Nature Reviews Neurology, etc.

The evaluation report also contains several recommendations for the future. In particular, greater deepening of cooperation in the international field, with domestic universities, and a continued involvement of students in scientific projects. “We are aware of all these challenges and we are working on them. For example, we are negotiating with Masaryk University to deepen our cooperation,“ said director Iványi. “We are also trying to fine-tune the funding system with our founder, the Ministry of Health, so that we can ensure certainty of function for already established international scientific teams and the Center itself.”

The main goal of the NPU II project was to enable FNUSA-ICRC to develop its existing scientific potential in basic, translational and clinical research. Especially focusing on fields of cardiovascular, neuroscience and oncological research, medical biology, biomedical engineering, molecular biology and stem cells. A clear advantage is the connection to St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno, which provides direct access to a large demographic of patients. This creates optimal conditions for translational medical research, focusing on various diseases (including cardiac arrhythmias, heart failure, sleep disorders, stroke, dementia and cancer).

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