The PDPC Academy

The PDPC Academy aims to catalyse, connect and share the PDPC expertise and philosophy through knowledge transfer and education, and an academic workplace.

Knowledge transfer and education

The PDPC Academy aims to facilitate postgraduate students working on theses on one of the key PDPC topics. Students will receive education and supervision in addition to their study programmes. We are exploring several education methods, such as interdisciplinary case-based learning and possibilities for post-academic knowledge transfer. You can find the first results here: the PDPC webinars.

Academic Workplace: policy, practice and research

With its academic workplace, the PDPC fulfills a deficiency by providing short-term knowledge on pandemics and disasters. External parties and PDPC researchers, can suggest research questions to the PDPC workplace. The short-term research projects will result in a knowledge agenda that leads to in-depth scientific research. Within the PDPC Academy framework, we work closely with stakeholders, such as the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs), the Port of Rotterdam and ministries. The Academic workplace unites questions and answers and strives to share them widely in an open-source format.

The academic workplace is intended for applied research that combines three key pillars: policy, practice and research. Examples of short-term research projects are listed below.

Targeted interventions

Information about disasters and epidemics can sometimes fail to effectively reach specific societal groups, or these groups cannot respond adequately due to circumstances. For instance, some people did not get the corona vaccine due to misinformation or because they found it difficult to reach a vaccination location, making these groups extra vulnerable. This project will apply a three-step approach to explore which targeted interventions can be developed to reach these groups.

The first step involves identifying the groups. Secondly, we will conduct qualitative research to identify the barriers and drivers that play a role in, for example, COVID-19 vaccination. In the final step, we will translate our research into targeted interventions. We use the Tailoring Immunization Programmes (TIP) approach developed by the WHO to develop customized vaccination programmes to achieve high and equitable vaccination uptake. This approach also suits other prevention measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic and other health challenges.

Investigating knowledge gaps

Lessons learned for an integrated assessment framework: a joint project involving the PDPC, UMC Utrecht, the Council of Public Health & Society (RVS) and the Netherlands Institute for Social Research.

The Dutch approach adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic was based on advice regarding infectious diseases, epidemiology and behaviour/society. In this project, we seek to identify knowledge gaps within these areas. We are working with different scientific experts to simulate several key decision-making moments in the COVID-19 crisis. What knowledge did they have at that time? How was this knowledge taken into account in decision-making? The outcome is an interdisciplinary research agenda (in Dutch) describing the knowledge needed to improve advice in the future.

Infectious disease factor model

Commissioning authority: City of Rotterdam

The City of Rotterdam is working on deploying interventions to prevent infectious diseases. The city identifies different factors that positively or negatively affect infection rates. Potential interventions are assessed in terms of prevalence, relevance and proven impact. The result will be a factor model for infectious diseases. The PDPC provides expertise and advice regarding infectious diseases.

Resilient healthcare systems

Tjebbe Hagenaars, Head of Emergency Department and Trauma Surgeon at Erasmus MC: ‘Healthcare should never be allowed to reach a crisis situation and should continue functioning effectively under all circumstances. For healthcare, that’s the overriding objective.’

Institutional healthcare systems are organized so that they only effectively function under normal circumstances. At times of crisis, this can prevent an adequate response. With this project, the PDPC aims to identify the questions we need to answer to improve the resilience of the healthcare sector, enabling it to continue to operate effectively even during a pandemic or a flood. The early detection of – and response to – risks plays a central role in this process. This project is led by Roland Bal, Professor of Policy and Governance of Healthcare at Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR).

Measures and passenger behaviour during Omicron flights

How we travel played an essential role in the spread of the virus during the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to understand the impact of passenger behaviour on the spread of epidemics and to explore whether the measures taken had the desired effect.

In collaboration with Schiphol and the GGD Kennemerland, the PDPC will study the proportionality of measures relating to the so-called Omicron flights at the end of 2021.

Long-term COVID-19 strategy

Doctor of Social Medicine and Health Anja Schreijer from the PDPC: ‘Structural changes with more trust and responsibility for citizens are needed to make our society more robust.’

If we want to avoid far-reaching measures in the battle against COVID-19, a long-term strategy is required. In January 2022, the PDPC facilitated a meeting with experts from (bio)medical and social sciences and social partners to draw up this strategy.

After outlining four scenarios (from cold virus to worst-case), a document (in Dutch) was drafted, exploring how to gain wide societal support and improve society’s resilience.

Get in touch!

If you have any questions regarding the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center, please contact us.

Eline Boezelman

Program secretary