‘Now is the time to invest heavily in order to solve the major societal challenges related to health’. That is the key message of three Research Roadmaps that Ernst Kuipers (Chair of the NFU) handed over to Ingrid van Engelshoven (Minister of Education, Culture, and Science) and Paul Blokhuis (State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport) on 22 March 2018. Health-RI features prominently in all of these Research Roadmaps.
In 2015, all Dutch citizens could submit their questions to science on the website wetenschapsagenda.nl. More than 11.700 questions were submitted, many of which were health-related. The questions have been clustered in themes and the resulting Dutch National Research Agenda was presented in November 2015. For the clusters of prevention, regenerative health, and personalised medicine, coalitions of experts have translated the public questions into three Research Roadmaps (Kennisagenda’s). Health-RI features prominently in all of them. The experts underline the importance of a nationwide research infrastructure to defragment the field and to make all data, images, and tissues banks accessible for research. This has to be done in the light of responsible research innovation where full attention is needed for all ethical, legal, and societal implications.
The three Research Roadmaps have made budget recommendations for research data infrastructure. Professor Gerrit Meijer, co-chair of the Health-RI Steering Committee, comments: “All researchers connected in Health-RI will be happy to see how their work is valued in these Research Roadmaps. Nobody disputes the importance of a nationwide accessible research infrastructure. We all agree as well that investing in health research infrastructures is a necessary step to deliver on the promises of personalised medicine and regenerative health and to underpin the case for prevention. It is now time to keep the momentum and allocate the right budgets.”