Cross-cutting issues - WIDESPREAD - ESPRIT

The aim of the Twinning project ESPrIT (Strengthening the Occupational Health Expertise and Scientific Performance of Public Health Institution of Turkey ) is to strengthen the Public Health Institute of Turkey (PHIT) by bridging the gap on occupational health expertise between Turkey and the Netherlands/Belgium. The key challenges will be assessing the scientific and innovation capacity on occupational health expertise within PHIT and realising a major improvement in this field through transfer of knowledge and innovative approaches/instruments from the Netherlands and Belgium, next to assisting PHIT to get more connected to the international arena in this field.

The project is coordinated by Turkiye Cumhuriyeti Saglik Bakanligi (PHIT) which is an affiliated body of the Turkish Ministry of Health (MOH) and  will be realized with the assistance of 2 partners from The Netherlands – TNO Leiden, an applied research organization and the academic institute VU/VUmc (Amsterdam) - and Ghent University. The project will run from January 2016 till December 2018.

In June 2012 the new Turkish Act on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH Act Nr. 6331) was adopted by the Grand National Assembly in Ankara. Through this Act, a first giant step has been taken to bring in line Turkey’s current legislation on safety and health at work with requirements from ILO conventions and EU directives in the field. The Act immediately raised new challenges as regards the further implementation of the Act’s provisions, such as the need of employers and workers to receive assistance and expert support in their obligation to assess and improve their working conditions. This will be realised with the assistance of proven knowledge and innovations of the Netherlands and Belgium.

The approach of ESPrIT is to embark on an effective program for scientific capacity building for a basic scientific core group of 40 staff from PHIT (lead users). This basic scientific core group will first be trained along a programme on occupational health for 10 working days in order to lay a solid ground for common understanding and knowledge on occupational health and diseases.    

Subsequently, this group will be divided in two subgroups of 20 persons each and  participants will specialize either in a subgroup on scientific research skills & methodologies (Group A) or a subgroup on diagnosis and surveillance of occupational diseases (Group B). Finally, 10 persons from Group A and 10 from Group B will form a third group C which will follow a train-the-trainer program of 5 days.

Moreover, an exchange program will be implemented in which 3 persons from Group A and 3 persons from Group B will be further qualified and scientifically mentored in Belgium and the Netherlands on performing their research and to publish scientific articles in the front runner journals in the field.

The basic scientific core group of 40 PHIT experts will become the critical mass of upgraded employees to contribute to the growth of the scientific standing of PHIT and have the responsibility to further disseminate their acquired scientific knowledge and skills to the OSH professionals providing Basic Occupational Health Service all over the Turkey (end users).


The general aim is to strengthen the scientific and innovative capacity of PHIT in the research field of  occupational health and diseases.

  • Design and deliver several training programmes
  • Develop and execute a robust research roadmap
  • Provide scientific mentoring of the PHIT staff who have followed the training program
  • Plan an exchange program for 6 PHIT scientists to Belgium and the Netherlands for 3 weeks

Role of Ghent University

Ghent University is the leader of a work package on Scientific Capacity Building (to design and deliver training programmes) and is involved in all the other work packages  e.g. Scientific excellence, exchange and cooperation,  innovation.  PHIT scientists will be mentored and coached by Belgium scientists to improve specific research proposals and scientific papers.  


Prof. dr.  Lutgart Braeckman
Department of Public Health
Phone number:  + 32 9 332 36 91