BE: Hogeschool Gent
Hogeschool Gent, or University College Ghent (UCG), is the largest hogeschool in the country in terms of budget, staff and student population, with more than 17,000 students and 2,000 staff members. UCG’s academic provision is divided over 22 professional Bachelor programmes, 14 academic Bachelor programmes and 24 Master programmes. UCG also has a strong research tradition and boasts a number of research groups of international excellence. The number of researchers at UCG has been increasing ever since the Bologna Declaration and the start of the academisation process. Currently, nearly 450 researchers are actively involved in more than 250 research projects, 100 of which are Ph.D. projects. USG also undertakes a considerable amount of contract research for third parties (often SMEs). UCG also possesses considerable experience of working within the Lifelong Learning Programme and of promoting/encouraging Lifelong Learning. Within UCG, the Faculty for Education, Health and Social Work is an active contributor to public health and prevention. One of the dominant projects is the EU-DAP Faculty, has developinged a particular expertise in Prevention Science. The overarching goal of the EU-DAP Faculty is to ensure quality of efficacy tested school-based programmes based on a Comprehensive Social Influence model by Training Trainers. The interactive training of trainers is evidence based and an indispensable component in such prevention programmes. The Faculty also works closely (at an arm’s length from) the European Drug Addiction Prevention Network. The EU-DAP Faculty has worked particularly closely with the European Drug Addiction Prevention Network, to undertake a research study, entitled “Unplugged”, to examine the effectiveness of, and develop a Comprehensive Social Influence programme delivered during a school semester by the teacher to students aged 12 to 14. Unplugged has been tested during a robust Randomized Controlled Trial with 7.079 pupils in 2005 with results that include a decreased chance for recent drunkenness by 30%, for daily smoking by 28% and for cannabis use by 23%. A follow-up study one year later showed that effectiveness was sustained for most of the behaviours. It was concluded that “Unplugged” is an effective programme to delay the onset of drug use and the transition of experimenting to frequent drug use. The “Unplugged” programme and training model has been tested and is sound, the material is translated and available in several languages. UCG’s leading position in the EU-Dap Faculty paved the way for a prevention team, conducting practice-oriented research. Connection to the highest quality prevention and public health networks in the European Union and beyond, combined with a vast expertise and involvement in practice in Belgium and some European countries, is a solid base for the projects, programmes and networks the prevention team takes part in or lead of. The team has taken the lead in the Media Influence group of the Club Health Network, publishing recommendation on the influence of classical and new social media on healthy nightlife behaviour. This project tied demand reduction to harm reduction interventions. The UCG’s prevention team at the Faculty for Education, Health and Social Work was recently commissioned grants for projects regarding implementation quality in healthy nutrition programs and social network influence on youth. It signifies the opening from addiction-related prevention expertise to a broader scope.
Primary role in the project
UGC’s role in the project will be to lead WP3 of SPAN, coordinating the task of Mapping the European Tertiary Prevention Science Education and Training Sector. Because of this responsibility, UGC will sit on the overall Project Management Board and also develop strong relationships with the project partners. In addition, UGC will input into WP2 (helping to disseminate the results of the project in Austria and within their networks), WP6 (helping to develop an action plan for developing more consistent Prevention Science QA frameworks), WP7 (inputing into and attending the delivery of the Annual Conference/Young Researchers Network) and WP9 (implementing the Quality Plan). As part of their role in WP7, UGC will help source/provide a venue for the Event Kick Off Meeting and the 20014 Annual Confrence & Young Researcher Network and Dissemination event. In order to ensure this project is managed appropriately, UCG will establish a Education & Training Research Group (comprising, as a minimum, P1, P12, P14, P22 and P25). It will furnish the team with its expertise in combining Prevention practice with research, and lean on the Erasmus expertise of the Central International Services. In order to ensure WP3 is managed appropriately, we will establish an implementation plan for the package and assign clear roles and responsibilities for the partners. Having developed a research methodology, in consultation with partners, we will worlk with partners to implement the research and complete the report. The prevention team within the UCG-Faculty is particularly experienced in bringing evidence based programmes into practice. Research initiatives taken by the team are contributing to this wide area in which so many practitioners in the EU are participating. Exchanging good practice, enhancing the awareness for research and effectiveness studies, providing tools for quality control, enabling programme designers and developers to train trainers as a quality standard instrument are some of the focal issues UCG will advocate and establish in the SPAN project.