Plymouth academic to support Bosnian-Herzegovinian scientists on setting priorities for medical research

One of the world’s leading experts in how medical research is organised and prioritised from Plymouth University is a keynote speaker at a conference in Sarajevo – the first of its kind in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Dr Mona Nasser is a research academic in evidence-based dentistry from Plymouth University and also founder of the Cochrane Prioritisation Methods Group. The role of Cochrane is to organise medical research information in a systematic way, so that health professionals, patients, policy makers and others can use it to implement evidence-based medicine.

This is the first time that the idea of evidence-based health care, systematic reviews and the work of Cochrane has been introduced to Bosnia-Herzegovina in an international scientific conference.

Said Dr Nasser: 

“This is an exciting opportunity to introduce medical researchers in Bosnia-Herzegovina to established and emerging ideas about how we should organise medical research so it can provide the basis for improved health care methods, techniques and policies. I am delighted to be part of a Cochrane event in this country which will help its academics and clinicians play an informed role in the world of medical research.”

Not only will the adoption of the Cochrane principles help Bosnian-Herzegovinian scientists better organise their research and inform their practice; the increase usage of systematic reviews will also help to deal with the problem of waste in research and increase value for money. Earlier this month Dr Nasser was part of a team who published a review in The Lancet which highlighted this issue. Estimates suggest that biomedical research consumes almost a quarter of a trillion US dollars every year, yet according to some studies up to 85 per cent is avoidably wasted.

Dr Nasser added: 

“It is great that Bosnia-Herzegovina has joined the global systematic review movement. Most scientists have a limited knowledge of how funding organisations decide which research should receive support and very few have any evidence base on the methods and processes used to make those decisions. Increasingly funding organisations around the world, including the National Institute for Health Research in the UK, require or encourage the use of a systematic review before conducting clinical trials. By adopting this practice researchers in Bosnia-Herzegovina can bring their system in line with the best in the world, and compete for global funding.”