New Nordic white paper from NOS-M
The committee released the white paper in connection with the NOS-M workshop held in Stockholm on 6 November. The new paper is a continuation of the previous Nordic white paper on medical research, published in 2011, and its key aim is to build even stronger Nordic cooperation that can additionally have an impact on European policy actions to promote medical research.
The paper identifies biobanks, data registers and personalised medicine as areas in which the Nordic countries, through their cooperation, have the chance to become world leaders. The NOS-M committee also recommends a continued focus on improving career opportunities for medical researchers as well as on ensuring cooperation and investment in basic research, which remains fundamental for success in clinical applied research.
The white paper presents a number of graphic overviews on the collective performance of the Nordic region as a research actor, and OECD figures show that the Nordic countries have a stronger collective economy per inhabitant than the largest economies of Europe as well as the US. The committee further emphasises that the Nordic countries have historically given high priority to medical research and that the Nordic region spends more on this area per inhabitant, both in total and in public allocations, than France, Germany, the UK and The Netherlands.
The committee states that one aim of the new Nordic white paper on medical research is to show how closer cooperation can promote even better international results for the Nordic region as a whole. The Nordic biobanks and data registers provide a good example and starting point for what can be achieved. The unique personal identification numbers employed and their effective national health care systems hold tremendous potential for linking data between the Nordic countries. This will enable the Nordic region as a whole to help to solve emerging, complex health care issues as well as improve health standards and quality of life across the globe.
This is in keeping with the recommendation of the recent Könberg report to strengthen Nordic research cooperation associated with data registers, biobanks and clinical studies by establishing a virtual centre of Nordic registers. The NOS-M and Mr Könberg also agree that there is a need to harmonise laws and regulations pertaining to the use of such information in a responsible fashion.
About the NOS-M:
The Joint Committee of the Nordic Medical Research Councils (NOS-M) is a cooperative body for the medical research councils of the Nordic countries to promote Nordic cooperation in medicine through information exchange, coordination and specific projects featuring Nordic collaboration. NordForsk has served as secretariat to the NOS-M since 2013.
Text: Stig Slørdahl and Tor Martin Nilsen
Photo: Tor Martin Nilsen