Description of the project

The project “Enhance Health Research Skills in Western Balkans” is one of the winning projects of the 1st Call for Western Balkans Alumni Association Projects 2021.

The project aims to enhance the research capability and capacity among students in the health fields in the WB countries, through online training sessions on the basics of epidemiology and research methodology.

Students, currently enrolled in a bachelor or master program in the field of health, such as general medicine, public health, nursery, pharmacy, etc., will be eligible to participate. A total of 36 participants will be selected: six participants from each WB countries based on their curriculum vitae, motivational letter, reference letter, and an adequate level of English proficiency, paying special attention to the gender balance.

Online training sessions will be interactive, including a discussion part, questions, and answers, and at the end a practical exercise session. These sessions will be conducted in English by trainees with an extensive background in the field of research methodology, epidemiology, and public health. After every session, the participants will be asked to translate in their national language, the slides presented by the trainees, so the material could be available for a wider audience. In order to be accessible for the students in all WB countries these sessions will be recorded and published on the website dedicated to the project, after considering data privacy policies and taking the consent of the participants and trainees.

At the beginning of the training sessions, the participants are going to answer to a pre-test, which will evaluate their baseline knowledge. The acquired knowledge will be evaluated at the end of the online training sessions through a final test and the participants who will pass will obtain the training certificate.

The participants will have the possibility to interact in a workshop with field researchers, which will introduce them to the practical aspects of the health research, along with the theoretical knowledge given in the online training sessions and contribute at understanding the current landscape of health research needs, barriers, and facilitators in WB countries. In this workshop, field researchers, member of Associazione Medici Albanesi Italia will voluntarily discuss the main factors that could facilitate the implementation of research knowledge into practice, whereas the participants will present the barriers and challenges faced in WB countries in research.


The project “Enhance Health Research Skills in Western Balkans” aims to:
– Enhance healthcare research capability and capacity among students in health fields in Western Balkans countries
– Increase knowledge and literacy in epidemiology and public health concepts, biostatistics and data analysis, determinants of health, study designs
– Create a network between students to work together toward a shared goal of using research skills in the healthcare research
– Provide the region with a core group of students trained in the health research methodology
– Disseminate the knowledge in research methodology among students in health fields in Western Balkan countries
– Provide hands-on experience to students from the experts participating in a workshop, that could facilitate the use and implementation of the knowledge acquired into healthcare research.

Content of the trainings

The project “Enhance Health Research Skills in Western Balkans” will focus on healthcare research, the basics of epidemiology and research methodology.
The specific program will cover the following topics:
– Evidence-based research; Principles of epidemiology and public health.
– Statistics basic concepts.
– An overview of study designs; Descriptive epidemiology.
– Analytical epidemiology. Experimental epidemiology.
– Bibliographic research in the main scientific databases; Systematic reviews and meta-analysis.
– Translational research; Research application to healthcare practice.