Conducting clinical research across borders?
We promote international collaboration.

Associate members

The SCTO is an independent organisation and is based on a joint initiative of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences.

As of 2017, the SCTO is a research infrastructure of national importance funded by the State Secretariat of Education, Research and Innovation and the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Swiss Clinical Trials Empirical Assessment & Methods (STEAM)

Lead STEAM Working Group

Prof. Matthias Briel, Department of Clinical Research, University of Basel

"Research on Research" making clinical research leaner and meaner

When the fundamentals of research are flimsy – with a poor evidence base informing trial design, its conduct, analysis, and subsequent reporting – trials and their results will be equally flimsy. Barely half of clinical trials recruit the number of participants envisaged and trials frequently lose more than 20% of their participants. Such losses seriously undermine the statistical power and validity of results.

That certain trial results are then never formally published or made accessible to the public, in any way at all, speaks of egregious inefficiencies. As a consequence, the evidence base that goes on to inform healthcare and policy decisions is frequently weak and does not necessarily serve the best interests of the patients who need and deserve the best care possible.

Getting to grips with Research on Research?

Research on Research (RoR) has the potential to remedy these ills. It offers us an opportunity to step back, to identify, review, and monitor the problems typically found in clinical research, and to seek solutions and improvements to tackle them. Investing resources in RoR can yield rich results: improving the culture, integrity, quality, transparency, relevance, and efficiency of clinical research. Such an investment can ultimately make research less costly, more streamlined, more meaningful, and altogether better in the interests of all.

What’s new in Switzerland?

To this end, In July 2019, the Swiss clinical Trials Empirical Assessment & Methods (STEAM) Working Group kicked off with a début meeting in Bern. The group is joining forces to coordinate projects across Switzerland and to support evidence-based methodology in clinical research. The STEAM Working Group, starting with 20 contributors, is housed by the SCTO.

All six Clinical Trial Units (CTUs) in our network are participating and have provided representatives, who have become members of the group. Swiss-based researchers and stakeholders conducting RoR projects or interested in contributing to such projects are welcome to request to become STEAM members, too.

All aboard for the STEAM Working Group
All aboard for the STEAM Working Group