MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of HIRUZ is to develop a progressive and leading institute and knowledge center for translational biomedical research and innovation with an active cooperative network and a broad national and international image.

The aim is to support high-quality clinical research and to help develop innovative projects with a focus on patient-oriented, personalized medicine and on socio-economic valorization.

In addition to the scientific and social mission of the research platform, the intent is that both Ghent University and the University Hospital as entities and its employees will reap the benefits directly or indirectly.

VISION AND STRATEGY

Western medicine of the 21st century is evolving towards a holistic approach to health (‘One Health’) while the approach of ‘disease’ focuses on personalized therapy and on patient satisfaction as the ultimate appraisal of the outcome of a treatment. Innovation is aimed at the specific elimination of malignant cells or microorganisms, at gene therapy and tissue regeneration, at the development of tailor-made implants and ultra-accurate robot-assisted interventions, at sophisticated signal detection and analysis and at far-reaching digitization of all aspects of care, exercise and well-being (e-health).

Healthy and active aging (“Healthy Aging”) is the target, but prevention and early diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases are still in their infancy in many areas, in addition to detecting “host factors” or genetic predispositions. In that context, it is no longer possible to imagine the health approach without using Big Data, omics of all kinds, algorithms generated via machine learning or deep neural networks and registers. Socio-economic valorisation of treatments and new medical techniques is of increasing importance in view of the admissibility and affordability of innovative healthcare in our aging society. Finally, the stricter regulations and the emphasis on quality control place high demands on health research and innovation.

A progressive translational biomedical institute should focus on each of the aspects described above.

KEY STRATEGIC CONCEPTS

HIRUZ is based on an existing structure (Bimetra) from which it can be further expanded into a leading, translational research and innovation institute with multidisciplinary management. The institute is immediately operational starting from existing operations, current projects, initiatives and partnerships. By bundling the often impressive local competences of Ghent University and the University Hospital services and people, a flexible organization can be set up in the short to medium term that can profile itself in a competitive environment, in times of thorough reform of health care, health research and legislation on that.

Cooperation with partner hospitals in loco-regional or supra-regional networks can lead to the development of a broad network for research, while cooperation with other Belgian universities, foreign centers and partnerships with industry will result in a larger connective system, nationally and internationally, and a broader appearance on a higher level that should also facilitate fundraising. From the outset, a number of tasks have been crucial to consolidate the mandate’s mission and the research platform: focus on collaborative research management, services, networking and training.

Key concepts here are extensive interaction and cooperation with the faculty of medicine, with internal and external, academic and commercial partners, professional and high-quality study coordination and data management, and intensive fundraising. In addition, the institute wants to play a pioneering role in a more efficient implementation of the European Clinical Trials Regulation, a standardization of non-disclosure agreements, study registration forms and study contracts at the University Hospital Ghent, in collaboration with the Ethics Committee, the legal department and DPO Belgian level and of the complete digitization of study processes, management and quality control.