Bühringer, G.Addiction research centres and the nurturing of creativity - IFT Institut für Therapieforschung in Munich, Germany
Addiction, 109 (8), 1245-1251
This paper describes the history and current structure of the Institut für Therapieforschung (IFT) [Institute for Therapy Research] in Munich, as well as major research topics and factors which might contribute to a creative structure and atmosphere for innovative research in the addiction field. The institute was founded in 1973 as a non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) with a focus on applied research. Starting with behaviour therapy-based development and evaluation of programmes for alcohol, illicit drugs and smoking and the evaluation of treatment services, the institute gradually expanded its topics, covering prevention (1985) and epidemiology and policy evaluation (1990), and participated throughout this period in the development of guidelines and screening, diagnostic and clinical instruments. Later, the IFT tried to bridge the gap between basic sciences, applied research, health-care services and health policy, with a network of national and international contacts, including its own university engagements and collaborations with foreign research groups and national and European Union (EU) agencies. Possible creativity-promoting factors on the institutional and individual levels are discussed, e.g. the collaboration of experienced senior researchers with carefully selected innovative doctoral students, considerable in-house and external training of young researchers and the early participation and presentation of their work at international conferences, independence from stakeholders in the field and the refusal of project funds which require external clearance of publications.