Important legal notice
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Health - Taking the temperature of European healthcare
“Strengthening public health research to improve quality of life in Europe.”

The problem

Research relating to public health can have a significant impact on the well-being and quality of life of European citizens. Indeed, research supports many areas of public health policy including immunisation programmes, screening for diseases, access to health care, monitoring of medicines and the development of preventative health care strategies. And now there is a growing realisation that effective health policy and the research that supports it can contribute to economic growth. A healthy society is a productive one. Therefore, it is essential that the bond between research and public health policy is as strong as possible.

SPHERE  Strengthening public health research in Europe


The SPHERE project aims to assess public health research across Europe and suggest how it can be strengthened and how it can efficiently support European health policy. To do this, the study will:

  • Review existing scientific literature relating to public health in Europe
  • Examine programmes for public health and the viewpoints of different stakeholders
  • Assess the contribution of research training
  • Collect evidence from outside Europe, and review public health research in selected associate and candidate states

Contribution to policy development:

  • The results should provide policy-makers with a deeper understanding of the quality, effectiveness and impact of public health research.
  • SPHERE’s results should help to develop public health research within the EU Seventh Framework Programme for Research, and contribute to the European Commission’s public health programmes.
  • By stimulating the exchange of ideas and expertise between countries, the project reflects the aspirations and ethos of the European Research Area.

Project deliverables

  • Two project workshops: one to examine research methods (July 2005), the other to explore ways of integrating research into policy (2006)
  • Assess and report on public health research outside Europe, including Canada, USA and Australia – through to December 2006
  • Conduct surveys of national ministries, relevant agencies and members of the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) to determine the current state of public health research – from September 2005
  • Complete literature review on: health service research, environmental protection, genetic epidemiology, health management and infectious disease control – through to November 2006


  • Holding workshops and conferences – including major presentations at three annual
    EUPHA conferences
  • Publishing findings in relevant academic journals, eg through EUPHA’s European Journal of Public Health – as required
  • Posting project information on SPHERE homepage – ongoing
  • Engaging with various industry and health policy professionals, particularly via the European Public Health Alliance

Technical information

Project acronym: SPHERE
Project’s official full title: Strengthening Public Health Research in Europe
Research priority: 2.1. Health determinants and the provision of high quality and sustainable health care services and pension systems (in particular in the context of ageing and demographic change)
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 513657
Start date: January 2005
Kick off meeting: November 2005
Completion date: December 2007
European Commission scientific officer: Jan Paehler,

Name: Faculty of Public Health
Abbreviated name: FPH
Address: 4 St Andrew’s Place,
London NW1 4LB
Country: United Kingdom
Tel: +44 20 7935 0243
Fax: +44 20 7224 6973


Name: European Public Health Association
Abbreviated name: EUPHA
Country: The Netherlands (European)

Name: Institute of Hygiene, Catholic University Rome
Abbreviated name: Rome
Country: Italy

Name: Lisbon School of Public Health
Abbreviated name: Lisbon
Country: Portugal

Name: University of Medicine, Kaunas
Abbreviated name: Kaunas Uni
Country: Lithuania

Name: Kaunas PH Centre
Abbreviated name: Kaunas PHC
Country: Lithuania

Name: Public Health Research Unit, Oxford
Abbreviated name: PHRU
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Ecole Nationale de Sante Publique
Abbreviated name: Rennes
Country: France

Name: European Public Health Centre North-Rhine Westphalia
Abbreviated name: LOEGD
Country: Germany

Name: European Public Health Alliance
Abbreviated name: EPHA
Country: Belgium

Name: Slovakian PH Association
Abbreviated name: Kosice
Country: Slovakia

Name: National Institute for Health Development
Abbreviated name: Tallinn
Country: Estonia

Name: Nofer Institute, Department of Environmental Health Hazards
Abbreviated name: Lodz
Country: Poland

Name: Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research
Abbreviated name: NIVEL
Country: The Netherlands

Name: Debrecen University
Abbreviated name: Debrecen
Country: Hungary

Name: Durham University
Abbreviated name: Durham
Country: United Kingdom

Name: University College London
Abbreviated name: UCL
Country: United Kingdom

Name: University of Genoa
Abbreviated name: Genoa
Country: Italy