Interview with Chris Heister on the strategic plan for clinical studies

The Committee for Clinical Studies has decided on a strategic plan for 2018-2019. Chris Heister, Chairman of the Committee, tells more.

What does the strategic plan contain?

- The Committee decides on the overall focus ofthe Swedish Research Council's mission to support and develop the conditions for clinical studies and on the available funds. In the strategic plan, we point out the overall orientation of the work and clarify our contribution. We identify a vision, goals and direction for the work.

So, what is the focus?

- The activities supported by the Committee aim at building a joint national research infrastructure for clinical studies, called Clinical Studies Sweden. It is a collaboration with the six healthcare regions through so-called regional nodes. The nodes cooperate and exchange and develop knowledge. In this way, the regions can, through the nodes, improve and develop their support to actors working with clinical studies. It should, in turn, contribute to increased quality in clinical research and promote more research.

What are the overall goals of the work?

- We have identified three overall goals. That clinical research must become a more integrated part of health care and contribute to knowledge sharing. That clinical studies must be of high scientific quality and favour patients in Sweden through an increase in clinical knowledge and use. The final goal is that Sweden should be an attractive country to initiate and conduct clinical studies in.

What will be the next step?

- The next step for the Committee is to draw up an action plan that clarifies our work and what we will prioritize in the coming years. However, the vast majority of the funds we have is already tied up, so there are no big sums for new activities. The regional nodes receive 30 million SEK per year, five million each, in the form of an operating grant. The operating grant includes, for example, working with statistics, developing support for feasibilities, and co-ordinating and further developing regional processes, functions and actors in the respective health care regions to create a better and more coherent environment for clinical research. Then we have another 10 million that we will use for development efforts and activities that help solve common national challenges.


The Swedish Research Council receives 50 million SEK annually to support and develop the conditions for clinical studies. The Committee disposes over 40 million SEK. The remaining 10 million are used for the Swedish Research Council's work to support cooperation, administration, committee work etc.