Addressing the major unmet need of interdisciplinary international clinical research in acute conditions, the GREAT research network was founded 12 years ago by Professor Alexandre Mebazaa (Paris), Professor Salvatore Di Somma (Rome), and Professor Christian Müller (Basel). While initially focused on the diagnosis and management of patients with acute heart failure, the research topics of the GREAT research network have meanwhile expanded to include the diagnosis and management of patients with acute myocardial infarction, syncope, sepsis, and acute abdominal pain.
The GREAT research network combines academic research groups from more than 30 countries and has a rotating annual meeting putting young researchers first. More than half the time of the meeting is dedicated to presentations by young researchers. Moreover, the atmosphere of the meeting from the beginning is highly supportive and encouraging for young researchers in order to allow them to grow and become confident in the presentation and discussion of science.
In addition, the meeting aims to foster personal relationships and even friendships if possible among the research groups in order to establish trust and a collaborative spirit, that ultimately allows the research groups to effectively join forces by combining existing datasets and collaborating in joined prospective studies that could never ever have been managed by an individual research group.
‘And fun must definitely be part of the game’, explains Salvatore di Somma. Therefore, the extensive social program also includes a football match with the host country playing against the rest of the world. ‘Playing together in a football team has much in common with working together in a research team’, adds Christian Mueller: ‘everybody has to bring her/his talent and best efforts, and everybody has to support the other team member wherever possible’.
‘The selected city for the annual meeting is mainly based on three criteria’, explains Alexandre Mebazaa: ‘great local host, great sightseeing, and ease for travelling to’. Accordingly, Professor Nick Mills and the city of Edinburgh were hosts for the 2019 meeting (duplex images). The meeting in Edinburgh had 140 attendees from 14 countries. The quality of the presentations, including those from the young physician scientists, was again outstanding. As a result of these strategic concepts, the scientific output of the GREAT research network has been remarkable, particularly in the field of acute heart failure and acute myocardial infarction. More than 100 peer-reviewed publications have already been produced from the collaborations initiated and enabled by the GREAT
research network. For sure, these manuscripts, in general with one of the young research fellows as the first author, are only one dimension to quantify the enormous academic career steps done by the smart, open-minded, energetic, and hard-working physician scientists.
The GREAT research network has had a profound impact on my academic career, confirms Jasper Boeddinghaus. Jasper won the best presentation award in the past and gave an outstanding presentation in the state of the art session as a senior researcher this year (see image). Jasper was also promoted to member of the award committee. ‘On the day preceding the GREAT meeting, I was invited by Nick Mills for interviews here at the University Hospital for a possible Fellowship in interventional cardiology next year. During previous GREAT meetings as well as the ESC meeting I had the chance to get to know Nick and his research team. We have had very nice and fruitful collaborations over the last years culminating in our joined paper in the New England Journal of Medicine today. It would be great to be able to join them now for the next step of my career’.
The GREAT research network is well aligned and closely connected with the Acute Cardiovascular Care Association of the ESC as well as with the Heart Failure Association of the ESC. If you are interested in joining the GREAT research network, simply register free-of-charge (www.greatnetwork.org) or contact Paola Vietti at firstname.lastname@example.org.