The Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management (SVT) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has a research profile that covers a wide range of subjects which allows cross-disciplinary collaboration and creative subject combinations.
The faculty has around 240 employees in scientific positions and consists of 11 departments: Health, welfare and technology. The faculty has been identified as a strategic focus area both at the faculty as well as for NTNU as a whole.
The Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management (SVT) became partner of EuroHealthNet’s European Centre for Innovation, Research & Implementation in Health & Wellbeing (CIRI) in 2014.
By Bard Li
What are the activities carried out by the Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management?
With regard to health and health promotion, the Center for Health Promotion Research takes part in the scientific exploration of what promotes, maintains and restores good health – in healthy, vulnerable and diseased populations. It identifies and measures the effectiveness of factors that can be used to achieve desired outcomes in the practice of health promotion, and communicates this knowledge in appropriate scientific and educational ways to research and health practitioner communities, to users (consumers), to ordinary people and to decision- makers at all political levels.
The department of Psychology has several research groups relevant for health promotion research: Adult Clinical Psychology Research Group, Childhood and Development Research Group, and Occupational Health Psychology and Health Promotion Research group.
Research lead by the department of Social Work and Health Sciences is based on an interdisciplinary staff of social scientists. The emphasis is on health and social welfare in all areas of society and the needs of a diverse population.
Health-research at the department of Sociology and Political Science focuses on socially determined conditions for health and health inequalities, organization and distribution of health services and health policy. The health module of the European Social Survey, Social Inequalities in Health and their Determinants, is headed by Professor Terje A. Eikemo.
In addition, there are a number of scientists at the remaining social science departments who are involved in health- and health promotion research based on approaches characterized by their specific disciplines: Economics, Geography, Anthropology, and Educational sciences.
What are the aims of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management?
The Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management shall develop and communicate knowledge relevant for addressing global and local societal challenges. Through research undertaken at the faculty, we want to contribute as a “premise-provider” when it comes to practice and policy-making nationally as well as internationally through cooperation with central actors in society. The research should be inter- and multi-disciplinary and results should be disseminated and communicated to and within relevant canals. When dealing with health- and health-promotion research, the faculty will emphasize the need of including all sectors and areas in society: kindergartens, schools, working life, neighbourhoods, safe and healthy food, families, housing, access to nature and social meeting places etc. They all play a prominent role in health and health promotion.
Why did you decide to become a Partner of EuroHealthNet?
The faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management is already involved in applications and is a partner in a project together with EuroHealthNet (H2020 and Norface ERA-Net). The faculty, on many occasions, attended international conferences where EuroHealthNet has played a role. The faculty wishes to utilize this network more substantially and by being a member, contribute in an even stronger way to the research community in CIRI, EuroHealthNet and beyond. To become a partner of EuroHealthNet (CIRI) seems to be a logic consequence of this. The faculty is internationally-oriented when it comes to research, and the membership would mean becoming part of an important and central network in Europe within a very important field for the faculty.
What is your vision (ideal scenario) for public health and health promotion within the EU? How can EuroHealthNet contribute to achieve this?
The health system as we know it today is not sustainable. Demographic change and the increase in non-communicable chronic diseases represents new challenges that ask for new solutions. Our vision is that EU and its member states realize that these massive societal challenges cannot be solved by an increase in medical knowledge and personnel alone, but has to be addressed in cooperation with a number of sectors. And as far as research is concerned, the challenges have to be approached in an inter- and multi-disciplinary way where the social sciences have to play a prominent role. We feel that this is much in line with the way EuroHealthNet looks at its role, and it is our hope that EuroHealthNet can make use of the members’ competence and influence on all arenas where the network appears; through lobbying, participation on conferences and seminars, being visible in the media, etc. As a research institution, it is obvious that we would welcome an increase in the sources for funding when it comes to health – and health promotion research. EuroHealthNet can contribute to this by coordinating input of research topics to the European Commission. Members of EuroHealthNet, and the numerous countries they represent, could give much more input with a much higher impact, and, hopefully, shift some of the focus towards health promotion on a coordinated, rather than on an individual and uncoordinated basis.