Questions Optimizing Calculator

This tool helps to optimize the development of novel medical interventions such as medicinal products, medical devices and medical nutrition. Using risk-adjusted project values to rank key scientific questions, the tool identifies the optimal path for developing a new medical intervention. Watch the tutorial from Dr. Saco de Visser, developer of the tool and course teacher of the course Clinical Development. Create an account to use the tool for free.

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Why did we develop this tool?

This tool lies at the heart of the question-based approach to clinical development. It aims to answer the central question: “What are the key scientific questions and what is the estimated priority ranking to address them?”

Value calculations of R&D projects oftentimes depend on assumptions about development time, cost and future revenues. Scientific considerations specific to the medical intervention and the disease indication are rarely taken into account. The Question Based Clinical Development (QBCD) approach redefines the developmental pathway of new medical interventions based on a number of key questions. These questions may seem obvious, however, the projected risks and costs of each question influence the choices made during development. Optimally addressing these questions in the developmental process gives the highest risk-adjusted project value.

The Questions Optimizing Calculator is designed as a simplified and practical tool to guide you through this decision tree. The outcome is an optimal priority list of the key questions based on the estimated probability of successfully answering each question and the efforts needed to do so.

Why is this tool special?

The number of key questions this tool can analyze ranges from 1 to 6. Each key question has a probability of success (or success rate) and associated cost or efforts needed to answer the questions in clinical studies. Estimating success rates is not an exact science but is the result of group discussions, historical data or just an educated guess when such data is lacking.

The tool helps to prioritize the defined scientific questions based on how you allocate development risks. It will not alter the risks of developing a particular intervention but allows you to optimally deal with the intrinsic risk. One question can be addressed in several clinical studies, and one clinical study can provide a partial answer to several questions.

As a starting point, a generic list of key questions can be:

Tool image

Does the intervention reach the site of action?

Does the intervention cause its intended functional effect?

Does the intervention have beneficial effects on the disease or its clinical pathophysiology?

What is the therapeutic window of the new intervention?

How does the variability in the target population’s response affect the development?

We encourage you to define your own key question that specifically apply to your intervention.

Part of the blended course Clinical Development

Question Based Clinical Development facilitates the design of a rational and efficient development pathway for new medical interventions. Learn the principles behind QBCD and how to apply it to real R&D projects.

Read more

Program information

Course length5 weeks

Study load5 hours a week

Online course starts01 Nov 2021

Videocall 103 Nov 2021
8:00 pm (GMT +1)
9:00 pm (GMT +1)

Videocall 217 Nov 2021
8:00 pm (GMT +1)
9:00 pm (GMT +1)

Videocall 313 Dec 2021
8:00 pm (GMT +1)
9:00 pm (GMT +1)

Online exam period15 Dec 2021 to
22 Dec 2021

Your teacher

Saco de Visser


  • at least a master's degree in a subject related to (bio)medical science
  • a few years of relevant working experience
  • basic understanding of clinical trial designs’
  • no previous experience with QBCD is required
Scholarships are available for selected courses. Scholarships do not include travel and lodging costs. Read more about current grant and scholarship opportunities here.