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EPINOR - National research school in population based epidemiology

Tildelt: kr 23,8 mill.

EPINOR status 2020/populærvitenskapelig framstilling 2020: EPINOR continues with a substantial activity level and after eight years our student numbers have plateaued somewhat and we were 135 by the beginning of October 2020. The number of students defending their thesis is slightly higher than the number of applicants and our aim is to continue with a steady 120 students even after funding has ended. There are currently 116 alumni members registered. Of the 135 students registered with EPINOR their affiliations are; UiT (45), UiO (32), NTNU (24), UiB (18) and other partners FHI 9, KR 3, STAMI 2, in addition to 1 UiA, 1 SUS. Key activities planned this period was the EPINOR Summer School organized by UiB. The topic was set to be -The Art of Scientific Investigation: Imagination is more important than knowledge. Due to the korona situation the summer school has been postponed to June 2021. The EPINOR annual meeting in November 2019 was back to back with the NOFE Conference in Oslo. The topic was Missing Data and Multiple Imputation and the lecturer was Jonathan Bartlett from the University of Bath. 46 EPINOR members attended the course. The majority of these students also attended the yearly NOFE meeting. We have made agreements with NOFE that they will continue to organize a PhD day prior to the NOFE conference, in collaboration with the PhD students. At each of the partner institution, the Students are organizing monthly meetings; either as journal clubs, with invited speakers or where the students present their work. This August we also intended to organize a national career workshop for all members held by the PhD career counseling advisor from the University of Aarhus - the event was cancelled due to the korona situation. We will continue our efforts to coordinate the teaching of epidemiology at the Universities, and we are supporting attendance at a European conference on the teaching of epidemiology.

Epidemiological research has gone through an enormous development during the last decade, from being a independent field of research to a truly multidisciplinary and complex area of research. The need for bringing together different fields of research has been especially evident in the search for biomarkers of disease/effects, and in the rapidly growing field of systems epidemiology where basic science and epidemiology is merged. The challenge also lies in exploring the full potential of the unique bioba nks recently concluded to be of uttermost importance for human health research, by the RCN evaluation in 2008. In order to best meet the challenges of the growing complexity of this multidisciplinary field the research communities need to be integrated o n a national level and students educated in a broader network than today. The best way of achieving this is through establishing a national research school in epidemiology where students have access to the best competence nationally and internationally as well as networks of biobanks. The scientific focus of this proposal will be on population based studies and lifestyle related diseases, systems epidemiology and environmental factors in relation to health. The use of the internationally unique biobanks and different registries forms the basis for this research. Unique longitudinal and on-going population based studies and availability of bio banks make epidemiological research in Norway attractive to international partners, but would indeed benefit furt her from a national integration. The students of the national research school will be offered coordinated courses nationally, international courses, higher quality supervision, workshops and summer schools nationally and internationally as well as easier access and support to/for research stays abroad and international lecturers at courses and workshops. This way they will achieve a better quality PhD, on time and being part of larger networks