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Challenges of harmonising medical education in Europe

The present project submitted under the leadership of Humboldt University Berlin, represented by the Charité Medical School Berlin (Applicant and Coordinating Institution) envisages developing joint strategies for the modernisation of the medical curriculum in order to make them more transparent, more comparable, more compatible and (most importantly) more responsive to the needs of the 21st century labour market and society in general. The project’s ultimate goal is for European doctors to be better prepared for the profession in a rapidly changing globalized environment. To this end, the relatively small project partnership has developed a solid project valorisation (dissemination and exploitation) campaign.This project is the fruit of two working meetings that were held among the partners mid-October 2007 (Berlin) and mid-January 2008 (Rome).During discussions it became clear that while the BA/MA/Doctorate structure in medical education has been adopted at different speeds and with different levels of enthusiasm across Europe, all of the project partners are highly concerned about employability and societal needs.Indeed, the medical profession is undergoing constant change and this project will investigate (at a multi-country level) the ways in which universities adapt their curricula accordingly, identify examples of appropriate practice, suggest measures for improvement and widely disseminate and share the project outcomes with other interested parties. The tool used for the purpose of the present project will be a targeted benchmarking exercise focusing on medical education curriculum reform and employability.The following outputs are scheduled for this two year project:- Detailed questionnaire (+ accompanying handbook) on curriculum reform approaches in view of labour market/changing profession needs.- Detailed assessment reports (and scores) on practices used in each partner university.- Assessment workshop (I) (Antwerp) for partner universities in view of collaborative learning, future goal setting and measures of improvement.- Publication on identified best practices.- Assessment workshop (II) (Stockholm) 1 year after the benchmarking exercise to look into follow-up given by partners and monitor further changes.- Valorisation conference at the end of the contract period (Berlin) for a large audience.- A series of articles to be published in medical education and professional publications.The impact envisaged is the following:- Improved comparability, compatibility and transparency regarding the medical curriculum across Europe as a result of the exercise.- Improved mobility facilitation thanks to the new insights gained through the study.- Capacity building for partner universities in view of curricular reform.- The creation of a community of medical curriculum reformers.- Valorisation of project results among other interested parties (via Medine Network, DEAN, etc.) in the long run.- Impact on national policies regarding curriculum reform in the partner countries (and others).- Extrapolation of expertise gained through the project towards other disciplines.- Awareness raising and improved dialogue among stakeholders (universities, students, professional organisations …).- Better doctors who are prepared for the challenges that the profession will be facing in the first decades of the 21st century.
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