Saturday, September 5, 2009

Auditing research quality issues within the Pro Greens project

Together with Dr. Saskia te Velde, we represent the EMGO+ Institute within the Pro Greens project. Pro Greens is coordinated by Dr. Agneta Yngve of Karolinka in Sweden, and the project is financially supported by the European Commission’s public health directorate. Pro Greens is a follow-up project on Pro Children. Both projects are aiming to promote fruit and vegetable consumption among school-aged children across Europe. In Pro Children informed by a a cross sectional survey conducted in nine countries in North, West and Southern Europe, an intervention mapping exercise was conducted that resulted in an intervention package that was tested in Norway, the Netherlands, and the Basque region of Spain.
Pro Greens build on Pro Children by adapting the intervention to be applicable in different countries, including new European Union member states, and to test these adapted interventions in these countries.
EMGO+ is responsible for the evaluation work package within Pro Greens. This means that we will do the analyses for the effect evaluation of the intervention, but we are also responsible for the internal evaluation of the project. This internal evaluation should ensure good research quality guidance and control across all the participating research teams so that quality standards are complied to, and standardized data collection and management methods are applied.
Part of this internal evaluation is auditing the Pro Greens partners that were not within the Pro Children project. Yesterday I did the first audit at the Folkhälsan Research Center in Helsinki, Finland where I met with the principal investigator of the Folkhälsan team, Dr. Eva Roos and her two associates Carola Ray and Camilla Stoor.

Based on the Research Quality handbook of the EMGO+ Institute, the Folkhälsan team had completed an audit survey before the actual audit and based on this questionnaire we discussed issues regarding sampling, data collection, storage, cleaning and privacy protection, as well as data analyses preparations.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The last EMGO annual report has been distributed

This summer the 2008 annual report (click here for a pdf of the report) of the EMGO Institute was finalised. The print report has been distributed over the last weeks, i.e. right after the summer break, and additional statistics have been published on our website. This annual report is the last one concerning the ‘old’ EMGO Institute, because from January 2009 we are the EMGO Institute for Health and care Research, or EMGO+.

The annual report shows that EMGO is going strong. This annual report proofs that the EMGO staff has again realized significant and meaningful scientific output, as indicated by a the 463 publications in international scientific international journals, a stable high citation score, and success in acquiring new grants that will enable further research in the years to come. EMGO welcomed four new full professors in 2008, with chairs in General Practice, Physical Activity and Health in Older Persons, Health Promotion and Health Policy and Participation of Patients in General Health Care, and we helped to get 36 PhD students to complete and defend their theses.
The fact that this was achieved in a year in which we intensively prepared for a major life-event in the history of the EMGO Institute, is, I believe, an indication of the strength and rigor of the institute. As said, in 2009 our institute will transfer into the interfaculty EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, or ‘EMGO+’ in short. This new institute is an ‘interfaculty’ research institute because it will bring researchers from three faculties together, aiming to further improve public and occupational health, primary care, rehabilitation and long-term care, by means of multi and interdisciplinary research.
This 2008 annual report shows that we can give EMGO+ a good start.