The QUEST Center plans and implements various projects and measures, among others in collaboration with the Department of Experimental Neurology Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
The unique feature: The activities of the QUEST Center have a very practical relevance - an translational approach - as we seek to test new approaches in design, analysis and reporting at the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) building a bridge between basic research and clinical care. The procedures and projects to be implemented are identified by so-called "meta-research", i.e. research on research. During and after the implementation, we also want to examine the effectiveness. The QUEST projects focus on matters such as systematic reviews, Open Science (open data, metadata, and ontologies), Stakeholeder Engagement, Science Policy, (incentives and rewards in academia, new metrics and indicators), Replication and Reproducibility, Electronic Laboratory Notebook, registration and publication of clinical studies, teaching and quality management in the preclinical research.
BRAVO: Benchmarking Academic Institutions´ Contributions to Increasing Value and Reducing Waste in Biomedical Research
Funding Organisation: Federal Ministry of Education and Research
BRAVO examines the extent to which Germany's medical faculties consider and promote various aspects of quality of biomedical research. The aim of the project is to raise awareness of researchers and faculties of the world-wide "Increasing Value" debate, and to support the implementation of incentive schemes to promote the registration, publication, open access and reproduction of biomedical studies.
Bridging the gap between researchers: transforming biomedical research through evidence synthesis.
With its anniversary initiative "Wirkung hoch 100", the Stifterverband promotes Germany's best 100 ideas and projects for the education, science and innovation system of tomorrow. By networking the projects with one another, providing comprehensive support and needs-oriented funding, the selected projects will be enabled to achieve their self-imposed goals and develop their transformation potential.
The CAMARADES Berlin team was successful with its application „Brückenschlag zwischen Forschern: Transformation biomedizinischer Forschung mittels Evidenzsynthese“ and will receive a grant of 10,000 Euro.
Concept development for collaborative research data management services
This project aims to assess the needs of Charité researchers with respect to research data management, to develop concepts for related services, and to build communities around similar data management practices. The project is funded by the Berlin University Alliance (BUA) and takes place in collaboration with partners of all Alliance institutions.
COVID-evidence: a living database of trials on interventions for COVID-19
This project aims at providing a freely available and daily updated online database of worldwide trial evidence on benefits and harms of interventions for COVID-19, including interventions for prevention, diagnosis, treatment and clinical management.
CEO-sys | Building a Covid-19 evidence ecosystem to improve knowledge management and translation
QUEST Center is participating in the CEO-sys project as part of the National University Medicine research network funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which aims to strengthen the research activities of German university medicine to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Further information (in German)
DECIDE – Decision-Enabling Confirmation of Innovative Discoveries and exploratory Evidence – is the accompanying project within the BMBF funded consortium Richtlinie zur Förderung von konfirmatorischen präklinischen Studien – Qualität in der Gesundheitsforschung (Guidelines for Promotion of Confirmatory Preclinical Studies – Quality in Health Research)
EQIPD is a collaborative project between the QUEST Center and the Department of Experimental Neurology (Charité) and aims to advance the quality and efficiency of discovery of R&D data by developing a simple, flexible, efficient system that can improve the rigor and robustness of preclinical neuroscience and saftey research in academia and industry.
Extent, Predictors, and Management of Publication Bias in Animal ResearCh (EMBARC)
EMBARC examines to what extent, in what form and in what time previously approved animal testing applications have published their results and study methods. EMBARC will then use expert interviews on publication bias to examine the attitudes and approaches of the various stakeholders in the context of animal research.
Facility for the systematic review and meta-analysis of animal studies
In biomedical science, animal experiments are conducted to improve human health. However, efforts to translate results to clinical benefit in humans are often unsuccessful. Systematic review and meta-analysis are transparent, reproducible methods to objectively summarise published studies. In animal research, systematic reviews can help to identify reasons for translational failure, promising experimental treatments, and optimal 3Rs-related experimental designs.
German Reproducibility Network (GRN)
The QUEST Center is one of the founding members of the German Reproducibility Network (GRN), which is a cross-disciplinary consortium that aims to increase trustworthiness and transparency of scientific research on a national level.
GOT - IT
GOT-IT – Guidelines on Target Validation for Innovative Therapeutics within the BMBF funded consortium project: Target validation for pharmaceutical drug compound development
Good Justification Practice
The project Good Justification Practice investigates how research decisions in translational biomedicine can be justified prospectively in order to meet bioethical requirements. What is necessary to be able to assess in advance whether probability statements about the expected success of a research project in translational biomedicine are well-founded? Which criteria can be used to accomplish this?
The „HiGHmed“ consortium is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the Medical Informatics Initiative. HiGHmed involves a dedicated Work Package “Ethics and Stakeholder”. This Work Package undertakes interdisciplinary research on ethical, policy and social issues with regard to Big Data and the collection, linking, and use of patient data in medical research and health care. Central aims of the Work Package are the development of normative frameworks and practice-oriented recommendations for governance solutions. The involvement of various stakeholders is a central concern. The results will not only support HiGHmed, but target also national and international debates.
Investigating the status quo of various models of performance-based allocation of funds (LOM) in research among institutions in the Berlin University Alliance (BUA).
This project investigates the status quo of the LOM within the BUA and its institutions. One aim is to present the existing models and interpretations, which may differ from one institution to another, as well as to present them in a discipline-specific, cross-institutional way. The characterization of the status quo will provide the basis for a critical examination of steering achievements and possible secondary effects.
Including open data as an additional indicator for the performance-based allocation of funds
The internal performance-based allocation of funds (leistungsorientierte Mittelvergabe, LOM) is an institutional incentivization tool aimed at rewarding high-quality research by using defined criteria to competitively award funding. In 2019, the Charité became the first medical faculty to include the availability of original data from scientific publications (open data) as an additional indicator for LOM alongside the usual criteria of third-party funding and publishing record.
Meta-Research Innovation Center Berlin (METRIC-Berlin)
Under the leadership of Professor John P. A. Ioannidis (Einstein BIH Visiting Fellow, funded by the Stiftung Charité) the so-called Meta-Research Innovation Center Berlin (METRIC-Berlin), the European "sister" of the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS), is being build up at the QUEST Center. The aim of the Center is to investigate the origin and the reliability, validity, accessibility and reproducibility of biomedical research. The Center is funded by the Stiftung Charité and the Einstein Foundation Berlin.
Organo-Strat | Organospecific Stratification in Covid-19
QUEST Center is participating in the Organo-Strat project as part of the National University Medicine research network funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which aims to strengthen the research activities of German university medicine to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Further information (in German)
Preclinical systematic review and meta-analysis
Preclinical systematic review and meta-analysis are meta-research tools that we use to investigate some of the challenges of translational biomedical research. They provide a summary of research findings in a field and allow judgement of both the range and quality of available evidence, including the likelihood that findings are at risk of bias. The results can help us identify areas for improvement in preclinical research and inform the development of strategies to address these challenges.
We focus primarily on the review of data from studies involving animal models of stroke and other neurological diseases and have a range of ongoing projects.
With PREMIER (Predictiveness and Robustness through Modular Improvement of Experimental Research), we aim to improve the development of structured quality assurance consisting of modular elements in which high-quality preclinical research is feasible and practicable. We want to improve robustness and value of research and a proof of concept of structured quality assurance in preclinical academic biomedicine, to provide preliminary (indirect) evidence for its efficacy, and to lay the foundations for the scientific community to further jointly modify and improve such an ‘open’ system.
PRECOPE - Preparedness and Response for Ethical Challenges in Human Subject Research during COVID-19 and similar PandEmics
The PRECOPE study aims to address the need to “articulate and translate existing ethical standards to salient issues in COVID-19”, highlighted by the WHO research roadmap for COVID-19, by preparing for and responding to the practice-/decision-oriented challenges in translating ethical principles into concrete human subject research on COVID-19.
Project WT BIH MERIT
The overarching aim of WT BIH MERIT is to incentivize and reward robust and reproducible research through structured research assessments in order to increase the probability for patient-oriented translational research at BIH and Charité.
Publication of results from clinical trials (IntoValue)
One of our first projects, the IntoValue project, is concerned with the publication of clinical trials. The publication of all results from clinical trials is an important component for improving biomedical research and reducing the amount of unused research results.
QUEST publication record (PURE)
The aim is to create a comprehensive and continuously updated publication body of publications from the joint research area Charité, MDC and BIH.
Quality and reporting of Patient Engagement
In this project, we analyse the quality and reporting of Patient Engagement in health research.
RE-PLACE — Implementing an electronic lab notebook as an quality assurance instrument in biomedical research
In August 2020 the research project RE-PLACE has started at the QUEST Center. The project is part of the BMBF funding line "Quality developments in science: Investigations on the meso-level". In cooperation with the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, RE-PLACE investigates the implementation of the electronic laboratory notebook labfolder as an instrument of quality assurance in biomedical research.
In the REVISE project (Reviewing the Supporting Evidence in Investigator’s Brochures), we look into attitudes toward Investigator’s Brochures (IBs), a key document for independent review-procedures in translation.
SPOKES - Grassroots Traction for Value-Based Research Culture
SPOKES aims to promote active grassroots involvement of researchers in the improvement of biomedical research of their own research environment. In 2020, the SPOKES Review Board will select five new SPOKES Wellcome Trust Funded Translational Partnership Fellows from mid-career researchers employed at the Charité (senior postdocs and junior group leaders) who will work together to develop, implement and track new initiatives for improving science within their own research groups. Furthermore, SPOKES will be setting-up a Think Tank for doctoral students and junior postdocs. In addition to mentoring and education opportunities, Think Tank members will receive funding for the development of a project aiming to overcome hurdles to translation.
STRUCTURES (Structure and Transparency in Translational Research) focuses on normative and practical challenges in two intertwined tools for governing translational research: A) a more explicit and structured risk-benefit analysis in early human studies and B) a more comprehensive and standardized registration and reporting of preclinical animal research.
TrackValue - Tracking and Improving Value Indicators
TrackValue aims to improve biomedical studies at the Charité by developing relevant value indicators, assessing Charité’s performance on these indicators and giving feedback to individual researchers.
Survey on the research climate at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
In cooperation with the German Centre for Higher Education and Science Studies (DZHW), we conducted a survey on the research climate among all scientific employees and doctoral candidates at the Charité. The survey focused in particular on the research climate with regard to responsible research practices and translational research.
ungeFAIR – Developing an UNspecific and GEneric subset of FAIR criteria
FAIR is a framework for describing the findability and reusability of research data. It is widely claimed that research data should be FAIR, and there are multiple projects, initiatives and standards, as well as FAIR screening tools and workflows.
Uncertainty and experimental treatment attempts („Individuelle Heilversuche”)
In experimental treatment attempts, ETA, (“individueller Heilversuch”) unapproved medicines can be used to treat patients at a doctor's discretion. Therefore, there is a higher degree of uncertainty for ETAs than for a standard therapy.
In the theoretical-conceptual part of the project, we discuss uncertainty as an ethically relevant characteristic of new medical interventions that has received little attention so far in the context of ETAs.
In the second, empirical part, we use qualitative interview research among relevant stakeholders to determine what a successful implementation of precautionary measures in practice can look like and what opportunities and risks this would entail.
How to proceed with LOM (performance-oriented allocation of funds) & Co.?
The project "Wie weiter mit LOM & Co.?” (How to proceed with LOM & Co.?) investigates the effect of the performance-oriented allocation of funds (LOM) as an incentivizing agent to increase scientific performance in medical research at all German medical faculties.
Workshops for European Brain Research Area (EBRA) grant recipients
For researchers funded by EBRA, QUEST organises a series of workshops on quality and transparency in preclinical research. Goal of these seminars is the improvement of current and future funded projects with respect to research quality. Topics include elimination of risk of bias, preregistrations, and lectures on experimental design and statistics.
VALUE AND OPEN SCIENCE PROGRAM (VOS) of the Cluster of Excellence NeuroCure
The Cluster of Excellence NeuroCure has established a comprehensive program called VOS – Value and Open Science to specifically increase the reliability, robustness, reproducibility, transparency and predictive power of its research through dedicated education, training, infrastructure and service. Thereby VOS closely collaborates with the QUEST Center to develop and discuss best research management practices, targeted education programs and communication strategies for NeuroCure community.