Reflections from the Global Evidence Summit, Cape Town, South Africa, September 13 – 16, 2017

Together with the REWARD Alliance the Evidence-Based Research Network presented the need to increase value and reduce waste in clinical research. The session focused particularly on the importance of using prior research in a systematic and transparent way to inform new studies so that they are answering questions that matter in a valid, efficient and accessible manner. The structure of the session was a very short introduction to the theme, and then group discussions based on a few questions and finally a plenary discussion.

More than 70 people participated in the session, and a lively discussion identified a number of important issues to consider when aiming to be evidence-based in clinical research.

In the discussion, participants mentioned that:

  1. Systematic reviews are often of poor quality because junior researchers are asked to prepare them – often without any supervision or guidance.
  2. There is a need for room in journals for systematic reviews
  3. Not all funding agencies know how important systematic reviews are
  4. It is difficult to receive funding for conducting a systematic review – because it is often NOT acknowledged as research in its own right
  5. The regulator is not allocating money and time for preparing systematic reviews
  6. There is a need for experts in systematic reviews to help researchers to prepare them
  7. Patients and practitioners perspectives should be combined with systematic reviews in order to ensure that research is important and relevant
  8. The responsibility for being evidence-based in research is shared between the research community, the funding available and other stakeholders – thus not the researcher alone. That is also a reason why patients should participate in research.
  9. Often there is not enough time to prepare a systematic review between the announcement of funding opportunities and the deadline for submitting applications
  10. The funding agencies need systematic reviews for their research agenda

Thanks to all the participants for lively and visionary discussions in both groups and plenum. REWARD Alliance and the EBRNetwork have collected a lot of inspiration and new important perspectives to improve quality of clinical research.

Hans Lundhans lund_d
Chairman of the EBRNetwork

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