National Centre for Translational and Clinical Research (CTM): aims to improve the quality and innovation in the health research
The aim of the CTM is to develop a modern research infrastructure and use it to improve the quality of medical research and provide the most modern environment and technologies for scientific research.
Restricted resources, aging population and growing expectations to the health system require change from the health system. As the current system is not sustainable without targeted research and innovation and the potential from cooperation between research institutions and health technology companies is not fully used, the vision of the CTM is to implement Estonian research, development and innovation (R&D&I) strategy for health.
Doctors and medical researchers need strong infrastructure and collaborative partnerships for internationally recognized clinical research. CTM is one of such structures, with the mission to ensure a high-level medical research and efficient medical innovation. The cooperation between regional hospitals and universities is extremely important in this field – coordinated and thoroughly analysed actions have vast potential and patients as well as medical sciences will benefit.
Academic research has not had such an administrative support structure and CTM can help out here. The need for it is rising.
Value equipment exceeds 5 mln EUR. Several researchers have agreed to offer counselling services. Two employees contribute to quality assurance and control. There are coordinators who assist a research team in carrying out the project. Thereby the support from universities is critical.
Evidence of success
The CTM’s programs have proven very successful in attracting industrial partners to specific research roadmaps. CTM’s structure will ensure the technologies and help desk needed for clinical and preclinical research. This enables to organize high standard health surveys in Estonia, which improves international impact and gives uniqueness on an EU level.
Open cooperation opportunities have been used by both Estonian institutions and biotechnology companies as well as by international partners.
One challenge is to create a strong backbone for long-term implementation of CTM activities, as it requires financial and human resource investment.
The cooperation mechanisms between university and industry could be further strengthened and improved.
Contacts outside the region could be valuable
Potential for learning or transfer
The research is focused on key-domains which are relevant to (and defined by) the target group of national and international companies. The Estonian Government has created a “stable” funding base and a potential to grow beyond sub-critical with Estonian Research Infrastructures Roadmap. The funding scheme could be an example to other similar practices.
Cooperation with both local and international partners is yet another example of success. Open opportunities have been used by both Estonian research and medical institutions and biotechnology companies as well as by international partners, like big pharma companies.
The counselling service is offered to different disciplines, which provides a good precondition for collaborating with different specialties.
• Transferring knowledge into practice
Rapid knowledge and technology transfer into practice is possible with the equipment utilization of 50-75% and the partnership with the Tartu University Hospital.