What is NFU in short and what does your organisation stand for?
The NFU is the umbrella organisation of the eight UMCs in the Netherlands. From this base, the UMCs collaborate in projects and programs on major themes such as data infrastructure, rare diseases, research guidelines and the educational curriculum. The NFU also represents the UMCs as an advocate for and employer of 65,000 people.
With their public function, the provision of their public infrastructure and their great organisational capacity, the UMCs play a central and active role in Dutch healthcare and society. They do this together, with passion. For tomorrow's life.
What does NFU hope to get out of the partnership with the DCVA?
The UMCs are at the base of important innovations in the broad field of health and care. We cherish that impact. The UMCs are working in various ways to strengthen this top position, which requires collaboration. Collaboration both within the NFU as well as collaboration with many partners in and outside the Netherlands. For this, the DCVA is of great importance. The DCVA connects many partners in the cardiovascular domain and those partners are crucial to our cardiovascular research. This research is comprehensive: from fundamental research to more applied research; from research focussed on prevention to research of relevance for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd line of care. The role of the NFU in national thematic collaboration is modest (most of it happens on the initiative of individual UMCs) and is especially important in the start-up phase of a national initiative. When the initiative is put in place, not the NFU, but the individual UMCs in particular are the partners.
What does NFU add to the DCVA, why should we be happy that NFU is participating? Who ultimately benefits the most?
The UMCs in the Netherlands are among the best in the world when it comes to their scientific research. They rank so high because the research is deeply embedded in (relevance for) patient care and is also intertwined with (further) medical education. The UMCs thus stimulate the rapid implementation of new developments in daily care, research and educational practice. In addition, the UMCs offer expertise in the valorisation of knowledge to concrete application. The UMCs are the place where many passionate, curious experts can be found who work daily with heart and soul and with a lot of expertise on the innovation of healthcare. Ultimately, people like you and me are meant to take advantage of this when it comes to the prevention of disease. Patients, including those with (risk of) heart disease, benefit the most because we want to develop the best treatment for their condition.
Question from the Dutch Heart Foundation:
Dear Arno, how can we jointly ensure that research centers work together optimally? And how can we ensure, as soon as possible, that the Knowledge Transfer Offices have everything they need to bring developments to the market?
It is important to collaborate if this provides added value. This is very clear in the field of data infrastructure, for example. To enable data-driven healthcare and take advantage of the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence, you need large amounts of high-quality data. At present, these data are scattered across various databases of UMCs, hospitals, general practices, GGDs, RIVM, municipalities, etc. Health RI is a large national initiative to establish the connection between those databases. A wonderful initiative that benefits everyone. I see an important connection between DCVA and Health RI.
Successful innovations must certainly be brought to the market quickly. For this, we have the Knowlegde Transfer Offices (KTOs). It is important that they also work together. They do this in a national KTO meeting (in which the universities' KTOs also participate) where valorisation in all its aspects is discussed. I think would be very nice to add specific expertise from the cardiovascular field within DCVA. Within NFU we recently developed a toolkit for socially responsible licensing. A kind of toolbox that can be used in licensing knowledge. The toolkit is published for everyone to use. But of course, valorisation is broader than that. Not all products of knowledge come on the market as a product or have a plug. Based on knowledge, treatment protocols are also adjusted, guidelines are made or lifestyle interventions are developed.