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Health - Taking the temperature of European healthcare
“Providing Europe’s public health policy-makers with new ways to tackle the spread of infectious diseases.”

The problem

Europe may be one of the most developed areas of the world but it still faces problems with infectious diseases. Some familiar ones – such as salmonella and measles – continue to pose serious health risks. There are also new problems to tackle including those caused by demographic changes, population movements, changes in the way food is processed, and the threat of bio-terrorism. Europe must respond quickly to diseases and put in place effective control and prevention programmes to limit their spread. Such programmes must also take account of the limited resources that are available for public health measures.

POLYMOD  Public health: fighting infectious diseases across Europe


POLYMOD aims to strengthen public health decision making by developing and applying mathematical, economic and risk assessment models of infectious diseases.

  • Policy making determinants will be reviewed and available epidemiological data collated
  • Improvements will be made to mathematical and risk assessment models by using data from a number of countries
  • The project will adapt and develop “transmission dynamic models” that predict the impact of control programmes for infectious diseases
  • Results from the models will be combined with other data to allow for an assessment of the cost effectiveness of different control programmes

Contribution to policy development:

  • The general aim of the project is to boost policy-making techniques in disease prevention and control
  • POLYMOD’s consortium brings together experts from different fields, including modellers, health economists, microbiologists, and policy- and decision-makers. Pooling such resources will greatly strengthen policy development at the European level
  • The results will feed directly into the decision-making processes of the European Parliament and Council, for example in areas such as setting up community action programmes in public health and in establishing a surveillance network for infectious diseases

Project deliverables

  • Establishing an advisory group which will review and assess the project’s progress – month 1
  • Deciding on consensus for methodologies – month 9
  • Publishing report on the available data that can be harnessed by the project – month 12
  • Reports published on: contact survey data; social and demographic data; and serological data – month 17
  • Report on model parameters – month 24
  • Annual progress reports – months 12, 24 and 36
  • Final report into project findings and results published – month 48


  • The project’s policy group will include policy makers from the European Commission, especially DG SANCO and DG Research (throughout project).
  • Organising a workshop to explain the work to stakeholders and key public health staff
    (month 40).
  • Project partners will participate in international conferences, publish details in scientific journals, and produce an annual report and regular newsletter (throughout project).

Technical information

Project acronym: POLYMOD
Project’s official full title: Improving Public Health Policy in Europe through the Modelling and Economic Evaluation of Interventions for the Control of Infectious Diseases
Research priority: Public health issues, including epidemiology contributing to disease prevention and responses to emerging rare and communicable diseases, allergies, procedures for secure blood and organ donations,
non-animal test methods
Specific webpage: Not available
Proposal/contract no: 502084
Start date: Not available
Kick off meeting: Not available
Completion date: Not available
European Commission scientific officer: Cornelius Schmaltz (

Name: Health Protection Agency, Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre
Abbreviated name: UA-UIA
Address: Adelphi Building, John Adam Street
The Strand, London,
Country: UK
Tel: +44 20 7339 1300
Fax: +44 20 7339 1302


Name: Centre for Evaluating Vaccines, Universiteit Instelling Antwerpen
Abbreviated name: UA-UIA
Country: Belgium

Name: National Institute for Public Health and the Environment
Abbreviated name: RIVM
Country: The Netherlands

Name: National Public Health Institute
Abbreviated name: KTL
Country: Finland

Name: National Laboratory of Health
Abbreviated name: LNS
Country: Luxembourg

Name: Superior Institute of Health
Abbreviated name: ISS
Country: Italy

Name: Centre for Statistics, Limburg University Centre
Abbreviated name: LUC
Country: Belgium

Name: School of Public Health
Abbreviated name: UOB
Country: Germany

Name: National Institute of Hygiene
Abbreviated name: NIH
Country: Portugal

Name: Open University
Abbreviated name: OU
Country: UK

Name: University of Pisa
Abbreviated name: UOP
Country: Italy

Name: Università degli studi di Roma Tor Vergata
Abbreviated name: Uniroma2
Country: Italy

Name: Centre de Recherches en Economie, Sociologie et Gestion
Abbreviated name: CRESGE
Country: France

Name: Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control
Abbreviated name: SMI
Country: Sweden

Name: Institut de Veille Sanitaire
Abbreviated name: InVS
Country: France

Name: Università Luigi Bocconi
Abbreviated name: UB
Country: Milan