2020 Scientific Report

This annual scientific report summarizes the research activities at the Institutes and Departments of the Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale (EOC) and at the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) in the field of medical research for the year 2020. This format reflects the increasing integration between research conducted at the two institutions following the creation of the USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and the signature of a research cooperation agreement in 2020.
The first part of the report provides a brief description of the main research activities in EOC Institutes and Departments and USI Institutes related to the medical field (as the Institute of Public Health). Notably, this section clearly demonstrates that EOC staff not only provide first-rate patient care, but also perform high quality clinical and translational research. Indeed, research is becoming a fundamental part of the activities of health professionals within EOC, contributing to improve the quality of patient care. Moreover, substantial competences in public health, health economics and communication are present at USI. The development of a common research strategy between EOC and USI is expected to reinforce the research activities in several medical disciplines and to increase synergies with related fields.
As in the previous years, the report presents the overall EOC research output in terms of peer-reviewed publications listed in PubMed/ MEDLINE database, including analyses on number and type of publications, the journal impact factor and quartiles.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected the EOC activity, an increase of the scientific production is documented in 2020. Two main hypotheses can explain this finding: first, the positive influence of the USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and second, the development of new research areas, including those related to COVID-19. The high level of achievement in scientific productivity is documented quantitatively (514 peer-reviewed scientific articles listed in PubMed/MEDLINE in 2020, of which 423 as original or review articles) and qualitatively (almost 50% on the highest ranked journals). Furthermore, the level of scientific collaboration (local, national or international) and the contribution of EOC researchers (as first or last author) are evaluated and further demonstrate the high quality of the EOC scientific production in 2020.
Lastly, the report shows a brief summary of the main EOC-USI funded research projects.
Overall, throughout 2020, the EOC Institutes and Departments, including the research laboratories, produced high-quality research attaining broad recognition at national and international level. Together with patient care and education, research is an essential part of EOC activities. Bringing research close to practice facilitates the development of clinical studies and the monitoring of the effectiveness of clinical interventions and care processes, to guarantee the quality and safety of services provided to patients and to ensure that patients benefit from innovative diagnostic methods and therapies.
Furthermore, the steady growth in quantity and quality of research activities at EOC is paramount for the USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and is in line with the 2018-2021 EOC strategic plan for a Cantonal Hospital of national and academic value.


2020 Research Highlights

  • A significant number of peer-reviewed scientific articles was published by EOC researchers in 2020 (N = 514), most of them as original or review articles (N = 423, 82%). Overall, the number of publications increased by 43% compared to 2019. Notably, 10% of scientific publications were related to COVID-19.
  • Peer-reviewed original and review articles were published on scientific journals showing very heterogeneous Journal Impact Factors (IFs) with a median value of 3.389.
  • Half of peer-reviewed original and review articles were published in scientific journals ranked in the Journal IF quartile Q1, demonstrating the high quality of the EOC scientific production in 2020.
  • Nearly 95% of peer-reviewed original and review articles published in 2020 were the result of national or international collaborations.
  • The EOC researcher was the first or last author in half of the peer-reviewed original and review articles; this finding demonstrates that many of the research projects have been conceived and conducted at EOC.
  • 131 new research projects involving persons were activated in 2020.
  • 260 ongoing funded research projects.
  • More than 3’000’000 CHF of external funding in 2020, with INSI, IOSI, and the Departments of Surgery and Medicine, respectively, achieving the highest funding for current ongoing research projects
  • Overall, we observe a significant increase in EOC research activities and output in 2020 compared to the previous years.

Editorial Board
of the EOC Scientific Report