Call Title: Scientific Support to Policies
Call Identifier: FP6-2003-SSP-3

Area Priority: Providing health security and opportunity to the people of Europe
Call: 8.1.B.2.1 Health determinants and the provision of high quality and sustainable health care services and pension systems.

Task: Research and public health at the European level: to examine the ways and means by which research priorities in the field of public health at the European level can be identified, taking into account the interaction and needs of stakeholders – policy-makers, the scientific community and end users, and how research outcomes can be best integrated into the policy process.

Lead coordinator: McCarthy (UK)
Participants: Scourfield (UK); Zeegers (NL); Ricciardi/La Torre(I); Conceição (P); Grabauskas (LIT); Sceponavicius (LIT); Clarke/Gattineau (UK); Grimaud (F); Stein (D); Rose (B); Gulis (SL); Nurm/Veerus (EE); Delnoij (NL); Tarkowski (POL);Ádány (H); Hunter (UK); Gasparini/Durando (I)

SPHERE has described public health research at European level, including support by national governments, and advised how it can be strengthened and most effectively integrated with European health policy.

Public health research has supported the improvement of the health of European citizens in many fields – for example, through immunisation, population screening, access to health care, chronic disease control, risk management, pharmaceuticals monitoring, health promotion and environmental control. Our research will engage the public health science and policy communities through the European Public Health Association, through national and European political and administrative stakeholders, and with international scientific bodies and institutions.

SPHERE has been undertaken by a consortium of 19 European public health experts from 13 EU Member States. The study has reviewed multi-language scientific literature, investigated viewpoints and programmes of stakeholders, organised conferences and work of European collaborative groups, and assessed the contribution of research training. It has developed understanding of quality, effectiveness and impact of public health research. It has also drawn on evidence from outside Europe, particularly North America, and reviewed public health research in selected NIS countries.

Three main workshops, in 2005, 2006 and 2007 have been linked to the annual major conferences of the European Public Health Association, while two interval workshops addressed key dimensions of methodolgies and research policy implementation. Reports from participants have been integrated at the Second main workshop, and the preliminary assessment report has been further consulted on with stakeholders, especially at national levels and with European institutions. The process has contributed to developing public health research within the Seventh Framework Research Programme, the public health programme of EC DG Health and public health policy implementation in member states. The final publication will provide a unique point of reference for the European Research Area.

This research project was supported by the European Commission's Sixth Framework Research Programme.

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