Data and Facts
Research on the promotion of health and the prevention of illnesses was previously situated within the subsidisation focus of “Public Health”. However, additional research needs exist with regard to directing prevention measures toward specific target groups in society that are increasingly affected by unequally distributed health prospects. Precisely these population groups are not only affected particularly severely by (chronic) illnesses, they also exhibit underdeveloped health behaviours and attitudes. Yet another deficit in the area of prevention lies in the fact that to date only very few results are available regarding the effectiveness of prevention programmes. Whether the performance of prevention measures really prevents or at least delays the occurrence of illnesses has not been conclusively answered yet in the case of many measures. However, this is necessary for expanding the position of prevention and the promotion of health as the fourth pillar of the health care system at the level of health care policy.
What Does the BMBF Do?
In 2003, the BMBF established a new funding measure focusing on prevention research. This funding measure arose from a programme called “Future Process” within which experts from science, business and non-governmental organisations as well as interdisciplinary experts had identified future research fields. “Healthy and active for life through prevention” was one of the four recommended topics.
The first announcement within the funding measure “prevention research” was published in 2003. It comprised the subsidisation for innovative projects of interdisciplinary, application-oriented prevention research that aimed at both the development of prevention measures/ programmes and their evaluation and quality assurance. Target groups for the measures and analyses were children and adolescents as well as middle-aged adults. While the second announcement that was released in 2005 focused exclusively on children and young people between the ages of 3 and 25, the third announcement in 2006 aimed at people above the age of 50. Both announcements concentrated on the evaluation and quality assurance of existing prevention measures and programmes. In 2007, the fourth announcement was released that comprised both the development and evaluation of prevention measures/programmes with regard to people of all ages in difficult social circumstances. In addition, the starting of a coordination project for the development of an overall coordination and communication structure within the funding initiative “prevention research” is planned for spring 2009. Key organisations of primary prevention and health promotion are participating in the research projects to guarantee the performance of the measures and their broad implementation.
Altogether, the BMBF will be providing a total of about 20,5 million EUR within the funding initiative “prevention research”.