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[ 01.03.2013 ] - The Institute of Philosophy and Sociology enters the Science for Prevention Academic Network led by Oxford Brookes

OXFORD, UK — Dr.sc.soc. Ilze Koroļeva, deputy director and senior researcher, participated in a kick-off meeting of a new European Commission funded network to help prevent diseases such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and mental illness. The project partners are 32 universities and institutions across Europe; the leading partner is Oxford Brookes University. The Institute of Philosophy and Sociology is a knowledge and competence hub for social research on addictions and public health since early 2000s when it pioneered introduction of large-scale surveys on the topic in Latvia.

Non-communicable diseases are the most significant burden to society, and are often preventable, yet only a small proportion of national health budgets are spent on combating them.

The European Commission (EC) are providing more than £500,000 in funding to support the launch of the Science for Prevention Academic Network (SPAN) which will enable an international group of prevention scientists based across Europe to build a new wide-reaching field of scientific expertise to help prevent non-communicable diseases.

Prof. David Foxcroft, the leader of SPAN project, said the future of prevention science, research and education would be given a tremendous boost by the launch of this international network of experts: «We will build a strong a scientific base in this important field and build collaboration which has not existed across Europe in this area until now.»

«We aim to build science in this area, attract more young scientists to the field and make sure that the latest research is shared across Europe.»

The bulk of national health budgets across Europe are devoted to the area of treatment, with only a tiny percentage being spent on prevention.

«There’s a real mis-match here,» said Mr. Foxcroft. «In terms of dealing with these non-communicable diseases most of our health budget is spent treating them yet the spend on prevention can be as little as three or four per cent.»

Heart disease and cancer are caused by four main risk behaviours: smoking, excessive drinking, poor diet and lack of exercise. SPAN will help prevent these diseases in people before they manifest serious symptoms as they grow older.

The EC are providing initial funding to help build the new European-wide network. The funding will allow experts from the 32 institutions to conduct an audit of the health prevention sector across the continent, improve education and training, build networks and run workshops with researchers, in particular young researchers.

SPAN was launched at a two-day event at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford on Thursday 28 February and Friday 1 March. The event will see the 32 institutions finalise the work plan.

 

    Last changes: 06.06.2013