PDPC publishes knowledge agenda for health systems resilience research

Researchers from Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management and the Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness Centre publish a knowledge agenda on resilience in healthcare. ‘When we think of resilience in healthcare, we often think of systems and organisations, but ultimately, it is about how people in care can act resiliently.’

The knowledge agenda for research on resilient health systems brings together the key policy and science questions for a resilient Dutch healthcare system. In disasters and pandemics, healthcare institutions are expected to be resilient, but what is actually meant by resilience? And what else do we need to know to make healthcare systems more resilient?

According to researcher Robert Borst, resilient care systems must be designed in such a way that they serve practice and people. This sometimes still receives little attention in research and policy. Borst: ‘When we talk about resilient care systems, we talk about structures, rules and organisations, but rarely about work and people. But in practice, it is people who act resiliently. We need to create systems that are supportive of this.’


Borst worked on the knowledge agenda together with Karin van Vuuren, Bert de Graaff and Roland Bal. They conducted a literature review and analysis of policy documents, among others, related to the COVID-19 pandemic and flooding in Limburg in 2021. They also held qualitative interviews with experts from different fields of Dutch healthcare.

Disasters and crises

The researchers additionally organised a working conference. The emphasis here was to hear not only scientific experts, but also policymakers and people in the field: ‘We had people at the controls at VWS at the time of disasters and crises. And people on the ground who are actually facing viruses, floods or shortages. Our meeting went through all of the layers.’

Caring for Resilience

Download the knowledge agenda on resilience in healthcare systems ‘Caring for Resilience’ here.