Change as an opportunity - Collaborative research in a fluctuating global landscape
Dear Editor, We note with great enthusiasm the advances
to the medical field that have been brought
about by international collaboration between
medical researchers in different countries.
Collaboration occurs when “2 or more entities
work together to produce a desired and shared
outcome” (1). Literature on the topic notes
specifically the strategic alignment of global
partnerships with global health priorities, (2)
and how international collaboration advances
these goals through research teams working
together on such projects. Indeed, it is not only
in research, but also in medical practice and
education where important strides are often
made by observing and importing the healthcare
and education practices of other countries (3).
The medical community in Iran has
contributed admirably to the global advancement
of medicine. According to the Scopus index, in
2015 Iran ranked first for the number of scientific
papers published and number of citations, both
in its region and among all Islamic countries (4).
Furthermore, the research ranking of Iranian
Universities has been consistently high and
improving over time (5).
However, in a constantly fluctuating global
landscape, it may become increasingly difficult
for Iranian institutions to maintain international
collaborative efforts over time, and to build
new ones. With the introduction of US travel
restrictions for Iranians (amongst others), travel
to the US for conferences, research projects,
observerships, etc. have become significantly
more problematic (6). Naturally, this is likely to
negatively affect the Iranian medical community
in its efforts and advancements. The networks
and connections made at international meetings
throughout the world can act as a gateway to
collaborative projects and research. In reducing
the capacity for Iranian scientists to involve
themselves, there is an inherent risk to the
capacity for progression of medical research and
practice in Iran.
Considering the value of the Iranian medical
community and the challenges it faces, we urge
strengthening of the efforts for collaboration
among its scientists and medical practitioners
and the rest of the world. An opportunity exists
for ties to be formed and relationships to be
strengthened where they previously were weak
or non-existent. At Imperial College London,
we note wholeheartedly the many members of
faculty and frontline medical staff who have
come from Iran, bringing tangible advances to
their specialist fields. We believe there is now a
chance to reinforce this scientific relationship.
Cross-collaboration through medical conferences,
mutual travel grants to other countries, and
active participation of scientists and clinicians
of Iranian descent can all be utilised to fortify
this relationship. One particular aspect that may
be used is the strength of Iran within medical
biotechnology (7). Moreover, partnerships
in newer fields, such as remote healthcare
procedures and services, represent another
chance to overcome the difficulties in travel faced
by Iranian scientists.
Green B, Johnson C. Interprofessional collaboration in research, education, and clinical practice:working together for a better future. Journal of Chiropractic Education. 2015;29(1):1-10.
Susan Orsega C. International Collaborative Research Partnerships: Blending Science with Management and Diplomacy. Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research. 2014;5(12).
Riviello R, Ozgediz D, Hsia R, Azzie G, Newton M, Tarpley J. Role of Collaborative Academic Partnerships in Surgical Training, Education, and Provision. World Journal of Surgery. 2010;34(3):459-465.
Akhondzadeh S, Ebadifar A, Baradaran Eftekhari M, Falahat K. Medical Science and Research in Iran. Archives of Iranian Medicine. 2017;20(11):665-672.
Baradaran Eftekhari M, Sobhani Z, Eltemasi M, Ghalenoee E, Falahat K, Habibi E, et al. Research Ranking of Iranian Universities of Medical Sciences Based on International Indicators: An Experience From I.R. of Iran. Archives of Iranian Medicine. 2017;20(11):673-679.
Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats [Internet]. The White House. 2018 [cited 5 August 2018]. Available from: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-proclamation-enhancing-vetting-capabilities-processes-detecting-attempted-entry-united-states-terrorists-public-safety-threats/
Fereidoun M, Haleh H, Hamideh A. Medical Biotechnology Trends and Achievements in Iran. Avicenna Journal of Medical Biotechnology. 2012;4(4):200-205.
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