Interview with Maria Englund

Maria Englund is the operations director and node manager at Karolinska Trial Alliance - and thereby part of the network Clinical Studies are working with in Sweden.

Who are you?

My name is Maria Englund, and I am Operations Director and Node Manager at Karolinska Trial Alliance (KTA). I have worked with clinical studies both clinically and in industry for many years, and have spent 20 years developing and running operations that facilitate the implementation of clinical studies in industry, academia and healthcare. My motto is that infrastructures should be constructed to facilitate more research being carried out by researchers.

How is the node organisation structured at KTA?

Karolinska Trial Alliance is the regional node for Stockholm and Gotland, and is part of the Karolinska University Hospital. As a regional node, we have been tasked to facilitate the implementation of high quality clinical studies throughout the Stockholm healthcare region, for academia, industry and healthcare, and we shall also offer patients the opportunity to participate in studies.

KTA integrates the node in its overall operation, but also has project managers who work primarily with the regional and national assignment. KTA consists of three units: KTA Phase I and KTA Prim, which supply infrastructure and carry out studies in Phase I-IV, and KTA Support, which provides administrative and regulatory support. We currently employ around 80 persons.

Why is this assignment so important?

The regional and national investment is important in order to develop and improve healthcare, both now and in the longer term. By focusing on facilitating and supporting the process of developing pharmaceuticals and medical innovations that may benefit patients, we are jointly creating better prerequisites for a sustainable future. One condition for this is strong collaboration between healthcare, academia and industry.

Clinical Studies Sweden can contribute to strengthening Sweden’s role internationally and increase awareness of the importance of this work and the clinical studies area nationally.

What is currently happening in your region?

During this autumn, and also next spring, KTA will be focusing largely on planning the national conference on clinical studies, which will take place in Stockholm in September 2017. We are looking forward to arranging this, and are trying to create an interesting programme that will attract many participants.

In general, the work on communicating and anchoring KTA’s regional and national assignment in Stockholm-Gotland with regional actors is proceeding. We are developing networks and creating a forum for dialogue, and are continuing the development of new areas to support the region. Some examples of this are increased legal support, support for cell therapy studies and an expanded educational assignment in the region. We are also leading a national project where the goal is to create a standardised contract process aimed at facilitating and shortening the contract process for clinical studies.

We are also working in projects focusing on new digital solutions for areas such as patient recruitment, various guides and similar. The intention is that they can also be used nationally.

Click here for further information on Karolinska Trial Alliance and our structure, and the support we offer