Document Type: Letter to Editor

Authors

Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Level 2, Faculty Building, South Kensington Campus, London, SW7 2AZ, UK

Abstract

Dear Editor, We note with great enthusiasm the advancesto the medical field that have been broughtabout by international collaboration betweenmedical researchers in different countries.Collaboration occurs when “2 or more entitieswork together to produce a desired and sharedoutcome” (1). Literature on the topic notesspecifically the strategic alignment of globalpartnerships with global health priorities, (2)and how international collaboration advancesthese goals through research teams workingtogether on such projects. Indeed, it is not onlyin research, but also in medical practice andeducation where important strides are oftenmade by observing and importing the healthcareand education practices of other countries (3).The medical community in Iran hascontributed admirably to the global advancementof medicine. According to the Scopus index, in2015 Iran ranked first for the number of scientificpapers published and number of citations, bothin its region and among all Islamic countries (4).Furthermore, the research ranking of IranianUniversities has been consistently high andimproving over time (5).However, in a constantly fluctuating globallandscape, it may become increasingly difficultfor Iranian institutions to maintain internationalcollaborative efforts over time, and to buildnew ones. With the introduction of US travelrestrictions for Iranians (amongst others), travelto the US for conferences, research projects,observerships, etc. have become significantlymore problematic (6). Naturally, this is likely tonegatively affect the Iranian medical communityin its efforts and advancements. The networksand connections made at international meetingsthroughout the world can act as a gateway tocollaborative projects and research. In reducingthe capacity for Iranian scientists to involvethemselves, there is an inherent risk to thecapacity for progression of medical research andpractice in Iran.Considering the value of the Iranian medicalcommunity and the challenges it faces, we urgestrengthening of the efforts for collaborationamong its scientists and medical practitionersand the rest of the world. An opportunity existsfor ties to be formed and relationships to bestrengthened where they previously were weakor non-existent. At Imperial College London,we note wholeheartedly the many members offaculty and frontline medical staff who havecome from Iran, bringing tangible advances totheir specialist fields. We believe there is now achance to reinforce this scientific relationship.Cross-collaboration through medical conferences,mutual travel grants to other countries, andactive participation of scientists and cliniciansof Iranian descent can all be utilised to fortifythis relationship. One particular aspect that maybe used is the strength of Iran within medicalbiotechnology (7). Moreover, partnershipsin newer fields, such as remote healthcareprocedures and services, represent anotherchance to overcome the difficulties in travel facedby Iranian scientists.

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