Comparing public-health research priorities in EuropeReport as inadecuate

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Health Research Policy and Systems

, 7:17

First Online: 14 July 2009Received: 05 August 2008Accepted: 14 July 2009DOI: 10.1186-1478-4505-7-17

Cite this article as: McCarthy, M., Harvey, G., Conceição, C. et al. Health Res Policy Sys 2009 7: 17. doi:10.1186-1478-4505-7-17


BackgroundDespite improving trends, countries in Europe continue to face public-health challenges. This study investigated the priorities of stakeholders for research to meet these challenges.

MethodsPublic-health research includes population-level and health-system research, but not clinical or biomedical research. The study drew on data from three surveys undertaken through collaboration in SPHERE Strengthening Public Health Research in Europe. There was participation of ministries in 18 of 28 64% response European countries, from 22 of 39 56% response member national associations of the European Public Health Association, and from 80 civil society health organisations 53% of members of the European Public Health Alliance

ResultsPublic-health research fields included disease control, health promotion and health services. Ministries of health, rather than ministries of science or education, mostly took responsibility for public-health research: they reported varied but well-defined areas for research in relation to national health plans and programmes. National public health associations reported research priorities across most fields of public health, although with some European regional differences. Civil society health organisations prioritised health promotion research nationally, but also health services research internationally. There was less research reported on methods, such as modelling and economic analysis, wider determinants of health, and public-health interventions.

ConclusionSystematic collaboration between stakeholders across European countries would enhance knowledge and promote innovation to address contemporary public-health challenges.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1478-4505-7-17 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Mark McCarthy - Gabrielle Harvey - Claudia Conceição - Giuseppe la Torre - Gabriel Gulis


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