The first call of the Strategic Plan for Research and Innovation in Health 2016-2020 (PERIS in Catalan) for funding research and innovation, still pending resolution, prioritizes programmes which foster talent and employability and programmes of excellence in knowledge.
Accordingly, four actions have been initiated by competitive tendering to finance:
- The inclusion of scientists and technicians in national research groups
- The increase of nursing professionals in order to free up some of their workday so they can do research work
- Research projects aimed at primary care
- Major programmes focusing on four different subjects: personalised medicine, regenerative medicine, cooperative independent clinical research and cohort studies.
How are the PERIS calls assessed to determine which applications deserve funding?
The criteria for assessment are defined by the order of the requirements, forgive the repetition, and the requirements of each call. This is the instrument that sets out the rules to determine which projects or people are susceptible to receiving finance. Some will always be discarded and, depending on the specific criteria and resources available, others chosen which are considered worthy of funding.
Deciding which criteria to use and how they are assessed/rated/applied is a powerful science policymaking tool to design the research system it aspires to be: excellence, the subject, the discipline, the age of the applicants, the territoriality of the organisations or foreseeable impact are different variables to bear in mind when deciding who is worthy of being able to develop their research.
The Research Team at AQuAS has been commissioned to manage this process of assessment. This is why we accompanied the General Manager for Research and Innovation of the Health Department, Dr Andreu, in the public presentations he gave in different health research institutions linked to hospitals. We were impressed by the attendance at these informative sessions.
The assessment has been done by a panel of experts involving a total of 42 research professionals throughout Catalonia and Spain. It has required intense activity given that more than 490 applications of a very high level were received.
Looking back after having completed the assessment of the this first call, we feel, more than ever, that we made the right decision by putting people in the centre of the PERIS logo, large and circled by a prominent colour.
It is not only the plan itself which has been designed like this, to promote research with people at its centre, involving and motivating a great variety of professional profiles. PERIS has been a catalyst for mobilisation in the health system and in health research, even before the starting gun was fired, as seen in the packed informative presentations and in the involvement of the participants in the assessment panels, working deep into the night.
As can be expected, getting the staff at the Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia (AQuAS) involved, has not been difficult either. We are eager to contribute to this strategic project by using a key tool for selection, accountability, continuous analysis and improvement of opportunities which is what assessment is all about.
Long life to PERIS!