FLAMES, the Flanders' Training Network for Methodology and Statistics, has granted the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Statistics Department the 2015 FLAMES Award. The award was presented to Dr. Jan Bogaerts, EORTC Director of Methodology and Head of the Statistics Department, during a ceremony held on 18 September 2015 at the Vrije Unversiteit Brussel, Campus Etterbeek, Brussels.
In giving the award, FLAMES pointed out that the EORTC, in its entire research process, has proven an excellent ambassador of the use of correct methodological and statistical methods to provide the most useful possible service to the clinical community. Their work has influenced regulators, academics and pharmaceutical companies alike in their approach to the treatment of clinical cancer data.
Dr. Jan Bogaerts says, "'Today, statistical design and interpretation of the experiment has become a necessity for many scientists to achieve publication of the results of their research. In oncology clinical trials, the EORTC Biostatistics Department has been involved for many years in bringing statistical expertise to the studies that EORTC undertakes across Europe. We are very involved in defining a correct, unbiased design for such studies, in ensuring their proper conduct, as well as data analysis using up-to-date methodology and appropriate interpretation of the results."
FLAMES advocates the sound practice of statistics and methodology to support informed decisions for society. It facilitates this through training in the form of seminars, workshops, the FLAMES Summer School and a dedicated search engine for available courses throughout Flanders and beyond. Every two years, it celebrates a member of the society who shares their mission; the FLAMES award is given to a scientist, journalist, or public servant for recognition of remarkable contributions and services to statistics or demonstrated high quality use of statistics with a strong impact on society.
Dr. Laurence Collette, Associate Head of the EORTC Statistics Department and Head of the IDMC Unit, adds "Currently we at the EORTC are working hard to obtain better connectivity between the data we generate ourselves and other data sources such as cancer registries, national and international health data, data on medical consumption. This will enable us to better interpret results in the interest of every patient, not only limited to trial participants. Together with our network, we maximize our follow-up schedule until the end of patients' lives. This allows for a wide medical and societal interpretation of the data."
In determining who should receive their award, FLAMES tracks several factors: academic research in statistics, communication of risk and uncertainty to the general public, applied research at the service of political decision-making, evidence-based consumers information, correct and ethical use of statistical methodology in health care and finance.