CSO festive message
19th December 2019
Euan Dick, Head of the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) reflects on his first few months in post, pays tribute to the hard work and support for research and innovation across health and social care, as well as looking forward to 2020 and beyond
“As the festive season approaches, it is naturally a time of reflection. I’ve spent just three months in post, as Head of CSO, but throughout I have been impressed by the professionalism, commitment, ambition and energy across the research community in Scotland to drive forward our agenda of increasing the levels of high-quality health research conducted in Scotland.
Whilst, it would be remiss of me not to mention Brexit, the Scottish Government’s position is clear on the need to mitigate risks to clinical trials, free movement of researchers and access to EU research funds, and we will need to work to manage the inevitable challenges and changes over the coming months. However as we move into a new decade, I am motivated by the opportunity to do more and ensure we drive optimum patient, scientific and economic value from investment in our research activity.
This year, over 1600 clinical research studies have been delivered across Scotland, involving over 33,000 patients. From DUAL ACS2, a Scotland-wide trial which will eventually involve over 19,000 heart attack patients and study the optimum use of blood-thinning drugs; to the GLAD Study, the largest study of genetic and environmental risk factors for depression and anxiety; and the ground-breaking new cancer test for research and clinical trials that could ultimately change the way cancer medicine is delivered. This is a tiny snapshot of an ambitious research portfolio helping to tackle some of Scotland’s toughest health challenges.
Underpinning all of this is our infrastructure and support systems, and an equally ambitious programme of work continues throughout 2020 to ensure current and future challenges can be met including:
- work across the four UK nations continues to streamline the research environment and improve our international competitiveness
- review of topic network and specialty group infrastructure continues to optimise future support
- supporting the capacity of NHS clinicians to undertake research
- improving transparency and openness in health and social care research
- improving the quality and consistency of public involvement in research
- developing a Research Governance Framework (RGF) to meet the needs of Scotland’s social care services employers, staff, and service users and their families.
Providing a platform to recognise success, share progress and ensure the vast strengths and assets that make Scotland a world-leading location for research and innovation are rightly given the recognition they deserve is important, and therefore I am delighted to announce my first NHS Research Scotland conference, now confirmed for December 2020.
Extending the conference over two days is testament to the breadth and depth of research activity across Scotland; and the critical importance of research in supporting advances in healthcare, improving patient outcomes and contributing to sustainable economic growth.
To echo the words of our Chief Scientist, Professor David Crossman, ‘we have a very vibrant and innovative research environment, with real progress being made in the treatment of some very difficult diseases. I truly believe Scotland is the best research laboratory in the world.’
We should be very proud of this, so for now, I hope you will find some time over the holiday period to reflect on achievements this year and take justifiable pride in all that you do. I look forward to working with you through 2020.
On behalf of CSO and NRS Management Board, I thank you for all your hard work and commitment and wish you a very happy festive season.
Euan Dick, Head of Chief Scientist Office