- What is “Foundation per la Ricerca Scientifica Termale”?
- How does “Foundation per la Ricerca Scientifica Termale” promote the research?
- What medicals and institutions (hospitals, universities, and research parties) have to do to obtain funds?
- Who decide which researches can be financed?
- Which are the guiding principles of the scientific committee of the Foundation??
- What happen to the researches financed by the Foundation which are published on international journals?
- Apart from the funding, which is the added value for a research, of having imprimatur of the Foundation?
- Why is the Foundation itself to decide the topics of the researches to be financed?
- Which is the role of the spa structures with respect to the scientific research accredited by the Foundation?
- Which is the final and most ambitious purpose of the Foundation?
What is “Foundation per la Ricerca Scientifica Termale”?
Foundation is a funding agency of the scientific research. Foundation is and independent and no profit institution and has been recognized by the State.
Foundation is specifically committed to the development of the research in the field of thermal medicine. Similar institutions, with said specificities, do not exist in Europe: Foundation is a unique patrimony and it is whole Italian.
How does “Foundation per la Ricerca Scientifica Termale” promote the research?
Financing the research. Foundation has a fund, a “money box” used to promote the research’ projects that are sponsored through an international methodology. Such financings, which grant up to 60% of the costs of the research submitted to and approved by the Foundation, are distributed through tender notices, which are the instruments available to researchers from all over the world for obtaining their funds.
Trough the tender notices the Foundation publically announces to scientific community the allocation of a contribution for promoting researches related to specific topics selected by the Foundation in the field of thermal medicine. Up today Foundation has announced two tender notices and financed 29 projects.
What medicals and institutions (hospitals, universities, and research parties) have to do to obtain funds?
Team of researchers, Italians and not Italians, can at will submit their researches in the thermals field, having access to the Foundation web site. The proponent of a project has to register him/herself on the web site; download from the web site the relevant formats drafted for participation, filling in such formats, attach to the formats the curriculum vitae of the team of researchers, submit the project in details.
Who decide which researches can be financed?
Foundation, examining the researches submitted, acts as the most authoritative scientific international journals, such as New England Journal of Medicine or Lancet. Foundation has an anonymous “pier review” system (i.e. selection and evaluation of researchers) composed by a pool of international experts appointed from time to time on the basis of their expertise (referees of earn nose and throat, if the project submitted is related to this field of the thermal medicine, referees of gynecology, respiratory system, etc.).
The opinions of these experts take into consideration standards like scientific fame of the proponent, feasibility of the project, costs’ and equipments adequacy, number of patients, and methodology of the project.
Each element of evaluation obtains a score which varies in a range from negative to excellent. The calculation of such scores gives a number which represents the overall opinion about a specific project. After that, the technical-scientific committee will rank all the projects and propose the list to Foundation, from the first to the last evaluated. On this basis, which guarantees the quality of the projects and of the proponents, the Board of Directors of the Foundation will take the final decision about how many researches co-fund, given the funds allocated (for example the top ten in the list will be co-funded).
Which are the guiding principles of the scientific committee of the Foundation?
Autonomy, cogency, scientificity.
The core business of the Foundation is to promote scientific research of quality and reliability. Researches which are co-funded must have the numbers, from the date of their submission, to be published on scientific journals of quality (i.e. quoted on scientific search engine, with impact factor).
What happen to the researches financed by the Foundation which are published on international journals?
For the purpose of stimulating this virtuous process in the field of the medical spa research, group of researchers co-funded by the Foundation which obtain publication on prestigious scientific international journals, may receive an additional fund, i.e. an additional bonus.
Apart from the funding, which is the added value for a research, of having imprimatur of the Foundation?
Obtaining a public declaration stating that a project of a researcher or an institution has been co-funded by the Foundation represents the added value for anyone who wants to promote researches in the thermal area. In fact, any time a project is published on a scientific journal, the rule of the Foundation is always highlighted.
Why is the Foundation itself to decide the topics of the researches to be financed?
Because the rule of this institution is not only to finance the research in the thermal field, but Foundation also has to address the research in a way to fill up the scientific gaps.
One example: Foundation, in a tender notice, can decide if the topic of the researches that will compete for the financing should be specific or wide. Foundation can decide if the studies must be focused on a particular specialty of the medical spa (i.e. urinary tract, dermatology, etc.) or can be related to different specialties, from ear, nose and throat to pharmacology.
This depends on the evaluation that Foundation does on the status of the thermal research at that time: is there an area in which the thermal research does not have enough scientific studies, even if this area is, clinically speaking, of importance? Foundation will work in that direction, having the purpose of stimulate and generate good research in that specific area and fill up a scientific gap. In fact, among the possible tender notices there is of course the basic science. The research that utilizes the active principles of the thermal waters on the cells in vitro for the purpose of clearing the molecular bases of their therapeutic effects. This is an area in which there is a long way to do.
Which is the role of the spa structures with respect to the scientific research accredited by the Foundation?
The spa, intended as thermal baths and corporations, can not have access to funds of the Foundation allocated for research.
Spa can cooperate with team of researchers which bid for obtaining funds from the Foundation. For example, if the department of rheumatology of a hospital intends to make a research utilizing mud as therapy, may decide to utilize one of the spa famous for these kind of therapies; in any case, the spa can not be the proponent of the research and can not manage the project of the research.
Foundation can only have contacts with medical researchers, medical Institutions and institution of bio-medical research. Must be considered the importance of thermal medicine and of thermal baths in attracting many patients for scientific studies. This is the reason why medicals, thermals and not thermals, take into consideration this way of cooperation for developing their researches.
Which is the final and most ambitious purpose of the Foundation?
Foundation has the purposes and instruments to generate scientific research of quality: through its results intends to circumscribe the scientific base of therapeutic thermalism, to be clearly distinguished from other aspects of thermalism, even if such other aspects are of importance not under a bio-medical profile.
The history of thermalism constitutes in fact a preeminent patrimony for Italy, which however has a collateral effect: this effect is to give thermalism an idea of empiricism, this happened for the past, and for such reason is considered a “medicine”, which can be fine. A scrupulous analysis of the scientific literature of today says in many cases the contrary: the aim of Foundation is to improve this aspect.