Roadmap for research in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases

EULAR is engaged in the development of a roadmap for research in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). The aim of the roadmap initiative is to foster and strengthen European research and innovation in RMDs by developing long-term strategic coordination. Such a roadmap would not only help to better define priorities for research in the coming years and make a better use of existing expertise and capacities already available in Europe. It would also help to persuade funding institutions about the need and convenience of prioritising investments in research and innovation in RMDs.

Despite being successful in some areas, research into RMDs is lacking coordination and integration of research efforts with respect to long-term planning in many major areas. Research in Europe remains scattered. While research centres are willing to cooperate, they mostly depend on short-term project funding limiting them to collaboration in very narrow areas. The EU Member States are promoting research into these diseases to very different degrees and without any tangible cooperation. Therefore, research priorities are defined in total isolation in each Member State or region.

Scarcity of funding resources but also the need to foster scientific excellence throughout the continent lead to the conclusion that strategic coordination for a field as important as RMDs would be of great added value.

The initiative was originally launched in 2012, during the Workshop “Tackling the burden of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases through research: Towards a European roadmap for research and innovation in musculoskeletal health for the next decade”. This event was co-organised between EULAR and EFORT (the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology).

EULAR is currently preparing a proposal for the development of the roadmap, which will be finalised in spring 2015.


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