New Policy Brief: The Nordic Region as a Global Health Lab

25.02.2008
– The Nordic region has the potential to become a global role model in developing innovative, research-based solutions for preventing chronic diseases, concludes the new publication in the series NordForsk Policy Briefs The Nordic region as a global health lab. Order the publication here .
Recommendations
The analysis’ central recommendations for research and innovation initiatives within global health accentuate the importance of cross disciplinary approaches that involve new partners and arenas:

1. New Mindset and Science Agenda
A new science agenda that gives priority to preventive measures (over treatment) and intervention (over observation) needs to be developed and disseminated throughout the Nordic research communities. Underpinning the new science agenda there is also a need for an improved infrastructure, connecting the different fields of research relevant to effective action on prevention (e.g. behavioural economics, applied ethnography and consumer behavioural research).

2. New Partnerships
A wide range of sectors and institutions have significant roles to play in partnerships with researchers and academics, including the food industry, retail and catering industries, the biopharmaceutical industry, the health care sector, trade and consumer associations, patient organisations national and local government.

3. New platforms: Prevention labs
Prevention labs are institutional platforms that can act as testing ground and incubators for a broad range of prevention initiatives. The analysis sets out a number of key principles for the development and operation of the prevention labs.

A central suggestion in the report is that NordForsk set up a Nordic Centre of Excellence program on Prevention. Additional recommendations include a Nordic Action Centre for Prevention and a Prevention Monitor.

Nordic Advantages
The analysis points out significant advantages in the Nordic region when it comes to addressing the challenges of chronic diseases. These include well-established and publicly funded health care systems that provide access for public health research institutions, extensive population and health data registers, national initiatives for prevention, a strong research tradition within epidemiological science, competitive industries within the food sector, pharmaceuticals and ingredients, as well as a strong state, high degree of trust in societal institutions and populations that are relatively open to innovation and testing new approaches.

A previous version of the report was presented at the innovation conference New Trends in Nordic Innovation, organised by the Finnish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in cooperation with Nordic Innovation Centre, in November 2007.

Order the analysis The Nordic region as a global health lab here (free of charge)
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