In order to strengthen research at university hospitals, the WR advocated as early as in the 1980s for a redistribution of resources in favour of research and for flexible structures at university hospitals that promote research.
Today still, the model of clinical research groups recommended by the WR is a central funding programme of the German Research Foundation (DFG) for the promotion of medical research across disciplines and locations.
Based on clinical studies, the latest findings in medical research can be transferred to patient care. Clinical trials are therefore of immense importance: for doctors, who must make well-founded decisions in their practice every day, as well as for patients, for whom clinical trials enable access to innovative therapies. In the view of the WR, the full potential of clinical trials has not yet been fully exploited in Germany. Compared with important reference countries, there is a particular need for action in the field of innovative non-commercial studies, and especially in the area of very complex, decidedly practice-changing clinical studies. The WR believes that such studies require a special funding offer tailored precisely to their specific features, as they take a long time to carry out and have no immediately recognisable application potential.
The Health Research Forum of the WR, the DFG and the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) presented their positions and recommendations on clinical trials to the (expert) public at a joint event in Berlin on 29th October 2018 under the title “Clinical trials as the key to progress in medicine – What do we need to do better in Germany?".
Recommendations on clinical trials (German version only)
Empfehlungen zu Klinischen Studien (Drs. 7301-18), Oktober 2018
The further development of the German Centres for Health Research (DZG) was recommended by the WR in 2017. It described the DZG as a promising model for medical research. However, the WR considers it necessary to further expand the considerable networking potential of the DZG, especially when it comes to work on common overarching scientific questions such as the prevention of common diseases. Furthermore, the WR recommends that the funding agencies at the federal and state levels further develop the current structure of the DZG's funding model.