Large Clinical and Translational Research Laboratory in Portugal approved

RISE Health Research Network – From Lab to Community

Two medical schools, a hospital unit and four research centers have come together to create a large laboratory that brings together Porto and Lisbon, with the aim of promoting medical research with high applicability in clinical practice and in the community.

The creation of this associated laboratory RISE — Network for Health Research, dedicated to clinical and translational research in Portugal, was announced today by the Science and Technology Foundation, aiming to strengthen health research, from pre-clinical and clinical stages to the community level, bringing together universities and health care providers, under the objectives of the national policy for Science and Technology.

In a statement sent to Lusa, the director of the FMUP, Altamiro da Costa Pereira, stresses that “the creation of this Associated Laboratory will fill a long-felt gap in health research in our country, as it will allow better coordination between academia, hospitals and health centers, aiming to put the results of clinical and translational research at the service of patients and society in general.

“Furthermore, the organizational model advocated is quite innovative, since RISE will be managed in a decentralized and networked manner, thus allowing for greater efficiency in the management of available resources and facilitating multicenter and multidisciplinary studies,” he adds.

Comprising five major research lines (Cardiovascular Sciences, Oncology, Inflammatory and Degenerative Diseases, Health Policies, Technology and Digital Transformation, Community Health and Societal Challenges), the RISE Associated Laboratory will bring together more than 220 PhD researchers and 120 PhD students.

According to RISE’s coordinator, Fernando Schmitt, a researcher at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto (FMUP), it is intended to “create and develop an environment focused on team research, where discoveries will be quickly and efficiently implemented to improve human health.

RISE is also distinguished for uniting, for the first time, the faculties of Medicine of Porto and Lisbon in a project of this size.

Quoted in the statement, Fausto Pinto, director of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon (FMUL), said that “RISE is absolutely pioneering in Portugal in the area of clinical and translational research, showing that it is possible to create a strong structure in this area, competitive on the international scene, thus strengthening the visibility and external credibility of Portuguese medical science”.

Fausto Pinto considers that “this was only possible due to the joining of efforts and wills of great university institutions, such as the FMUL and the FMUP, thus reinforcing the impact that structures like the one created here can have, taking advantage of the complementarities of the partners that created it”.

More than half of the researchers who make up RISE are doctors, nurses and other health professionals, “which will help to bring research priorities closer to the needs identified daily in contact with patients,” adds the FMUP in the statement.

RISE will also have the collaboration of other researchers, such as biologists, economists, biostatisticians, computer scientists and data scientists.

The new laboratory, according to its coordinator, Fernando Schmitt, is “the perfect combination of scientific knowledge and innovation produced in research units and universities with the concrete daily life of patients, health institutions, decision-makers and companies.”

“We intend to be the main protagonist and catalyst in changing the landscape of clinical, translational and community research in Portugal,” he adds.

Based in the Academy, RISE was created through the merger of CINTESIS — Center for Research in Health Technologies and Services and of UnIC — Cardiovascular Research and Development Unit, two research units installed in the FMUP, with CCUL — Cardiovascular Center of the University of Lisbon at FMUL and CI-IPOP (Research Center of the Portuguese Oncology Institute of Porto — IPO-Porto).

These entities were also joined by researchers from NOVA Medical School, the Nursing School of Porto, and the University of Aveiro.