What is the Netherlands Heart Institute in short and what does your organisation stand for?
'The Netherlands Heart Institute is a collaboration between the eight academic departments of Cardiology in the Netherlands and consists of a two-member board and a number of NL-HI professors and ambassadors. The aim is to elevate excellent scientific research into the prevention and cure of cardiovascular diseases. One of the prominent initiators was Dirk Durrer, head of cardiology at the University of Amsterdam. The philosophy has remained unchanged all these years: collaboration between academic cardiology departments. In the beginning we mainly focused on multi-center clinical trials, later we broadened our scope to include translational research. We organise thematic sessions and activities around Young@Heart, support research projects, coordinate the CONCOR registry and prepare our annual cardiovascular congress.'
What does NL-HI hope to get out of the partnership with the DCVA?
'NL-HI is co-initiator of the DCVA. NL-HI sees the DCVA as an excellent opportunity to elevate excellent scientific research. We want to achieve this by optimising research policy coordination and thereby initiating collaboration between the best researchers, improving the infrastructure for scientific research, and by stimulating the development of scientific talent. In addition, we, like our partners within DCVA, want the results of basic scientific research to lead to valorisation more often and the results of clinical research to lead to implementation in patient care more quickly. The expectation is that without the joint approach, as advocated by the DCVA, this will be less successful; together we are strong.'
What does NL-HI add to the DCVA, why should we be happy that NL-HI is participating?
'The Netherlands Heart Institute has more than 45 years of experience working together across the borders of academic hospitals, and organising (often in collaboration with other DCVA partners) large-scale clinical research projects. In addition, NL-HI encourages translation of basic scientific research to the clinic, the establishment of biobanks (Durrer Center) and registries (CONCOR registry). Also, Young@Heart now plays a very active role in stimulating cardiovascular scientific talent. The experience that NL-HI has gained in these activities is an important source of knowledge and experience that is needed to achieve the goals of the DCVA.'
Question from ZonMw:
Does NL-HI have ideas to raise more funding for cardiovascular research or to make better use of already available sources of funding?
'Last year NL-HI, together with the PLN Foundation, coordinated and received a Leducq-grant for research focused on hereditary heart diseases. This revealed the success of combining scientific researchers, clinicians and social organisations. We believe that the broader cooperation between DCVA partners to achieve this also increases the chances of receiving substantial NWA and Top Sector grants for cardiovascular research.'