The burden-eu COST Action supports the missions and policies of COST through the following specific activities:
The development of European-based scientific and technological networks in any scientific or interdisciplinary domain (in support of the COST policy on Excellence)
— The burden-eu COST Action strengthens European research and innovation capacities in the domain of burden of disease (BoD), which is gaining prominence as a key foundation for evidence-based public health policy and health in all policies. While some European countries have embraced the BoD approach, others, including several ITCs, are still in early stages of developing the necessary capacity. The burden-eu COST Action offers a cross-border technical platform for researchers to increase their skills to interpret and perform BoD studies, and to support methodological advances in the domain of BoD.
The exploitation of the research outcomes by integrating all stakeholders, thereby intensifying the links between the scientific communities, the enterprises, the policy makers and the society
— The burden-eu COST Action places an explicit focus on knowledge translation. A WG on knowledge translation supports dialogue with policy, industry, patient organisations and other possible end users of BoD estimates. Key activities of this WG are to explore and examine what the best mechanisms are to translate information and knowledge resulting from BoD studies to these stakeholders. The active involvement of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies is a crucial asset for this activity.
— The Action furthermore serves as an advocacy group for the BoD approach in Europe, creating awareness and acceptance of BoD among all relevant stakeholders. Dedicated activities include active presence on social media, contributions at national and international conferences, and the organisation of workshops.
The dissemination of results of such research activities in order to improve their scientific, social and economic impact
— The Action’s dissemination and communication strategy is in line with COST guidelines and supervised by the Action’s Science Communication Manager.
— A state-of-the-art website serves as the major dissemination hub, and will include news items and general information on objectives, WGs, and events. It also hosts key deliverables of the Action, i.e., the database of BoD studies, and the standardised and open access tools and training materials. Finally, it serves as the central contact point for involved BoD experts.
— Specific dissemination activities include the use of social media accounts; the dissemination of regular announcements regarding its activities to international mailing lists, newsletters and social media platforms; active participation in international workshops and conferences; the organisation of workshops with stakeholders and international conferences; the development of peer-reviewed articles and special journal issues; and the elaboration of press statements to inform the general public.
The provision for collaboration opportunities to all researchers in order to employ all talented and creative human resources available in Europe overcoming the bottlenecks linked to geographic location, age or gender (in support of the COST policy on Inclusiveness)
— Capacity building is at the heart of the burden-eu COST Action. To address the current disparities in BoD research capacity, the Action builds strongly on the COST mechanisms to build and increase capacity across Europe, including STSMs, Training Schools, and regular meetings and workshops. Open access, online training material will be developed to have an even wider reach and extend the impact beyond the duration of the Action.
— Specific provisions are put in place to support inclusiveness. STSMs that will strengthen capacity among ECIs and ITC partners will be prioritised over exchanges between experienced partners. Training schools and workshops will preferably be held in ITCs. Age, gender and geographical balance have been ensured in the designation of leadership positions.
The facilitation of the international collaboration of the European research networks, thereby increasing their efficiency, effectiveness and impact at global level
— In recent years, the European Commission has supported various projects to maintain and further develop health information systems, including the BRIDGE Health project, the InfAct Joint Action, and various health information activities of Eurostat. Since BoD assessments require high-quality health data, these projects provide the foundation on which the burden-eu COST Action can build.
— Several European agencies have performed BoD studies in specific domains, e.g., the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC; communicable diseases), the European Environment Agency (EEA; air pollution), and the European Association for Injury Prevention (EuroSafe; injuries). The Action provides a unique and necessary platform to bring these projects together and to establish links with European researchers and public health institutes. This allows exploring methodological differences, harmonising methods, and disseminating knowledge and expertise from the specific projects to a wider audience. We have also secured support from the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies to support our knowledge translation activities.
The appropriate further developments for the European Cooperation in Science and Technology in the context of the European Research Area based on European and global developments.
— The increasing prominence of the BoD approach is mainly driven by the Global Burden of Disease studies conducted by the World Health Organization and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Nonetheless, several European researchers have also developed extensive experience and expertise in BoD. The burden-eu COST Action brings these experts together to foster excellence and allow the development of a BoD research agenda that meets European needs. Furthermore, the Action allows extending this capacity to less experienced countries, so that, across Europe, researchers will be able to understand and interpret BoD estimates, perform BoD calculations, and support methodological advances. The Action provides an ideal context for leveraging national funding to support these research activities.
— The current network presents a good balance of BoD experts and researchers wishing to improve their skills. As the network will grow over the course of the Action, we will maintain this balance.