Consortium partners

Get to know all the organisations involved in RIVER-EU project.

14 partners working together to reduce barriers to vaccine uptake in underserved communities.

RIVER-EU Consortium partners

Coordinator, Work Package 3 Lead, and country coordinator for the Netherlands.

The University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) is one of the biggest medical research- and education centres in the Netherlands (>10,000 employees). It is the academic referral hospital for northern Netherlands. The core mission is to support and improve healthy ageing with a multidisciplinary approach. UMCG has a long tradition in public health research with large cohort studies (e.g. LifeLines) both in general populations as well as in clinical samples. It has an extensive experience with management of big databases. UMCG participates in many EU funded research projects. Together with the RUG and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences they are partnered in the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health.

Within the UMCG, the department of Health Sciences/Community and Occupational Health conducts many large-scale R&D projects that comprise both social and epidemiological methods. The research usually occurs in close collaboration with partners working in both community settings, e.g. public health services, and clinical services, and with both national and international partners. The department has a structural cooperation with Central European partners, e.g. in Slovakia, Bulgaria and Poland and with various partners in the Baltic region and North America. The department is collaborating with private partners, and with practicing professionals.

The department of Health Sciences/Global Health is also involved in this project. It has a focus on international research and education. The unit collaborates with over 40 global health experts in clinical departments in the hospital and with experts in international health research in other faculties in the University of Groningen. Its education wing is responsible for training around 500 medical students in Global Health.

The Department of General Practice & Elderly Care Medicine is also involved in this project. It has a broad primary health care (including for example Elderly care and Midwifery) and has experience with organisation of care and health care systems in the Netherlands.

Main experts involved in the project

  • Danielle Jansen, Principal investigator
  • Hanneke Vervoort, Project manager
  • Janine de Zeeuw, Researcher
  • Bert van Enter, General Practitioner & PhD student
  • Maarten Postma, Global health economics
  • Cornelis Boersma, Researcher cost-effectiveness analyses

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) became fully operational on 1 October 2021, bringing together the health protection functions of Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace, including the Joint Biosecurity Centre. The new agency is responsible for planning, preventing and responding to health threats, including infectious diseases and chemical, radiological, environmental and other hazards, as well as providing scientific and operational leadership at a global, national and local level in partnership with our stakeholders. The Immunisation and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Division is responsible for the national surveillance of vaccine preventable diseases in England and supports the national immunisation programme through the development of health professional guidance, public information resources and provision of expert clinical advice.

Main experts involved in the project

  • Dr. Gayatri Amirthalingam, Consultant Medical Epidemiologist
Work Package 4 Lead, and country coordinator for Greece.

Prolepsis Institute, a civil non for profit organization, was founded in 1990 in Athens. With a strong belief in health being a fundamental human right, Prolepsis Institute has undertaken a leading role in the field of public health, by designing and implementing initiatives on various health issues and in different sectors (e.g. education, workplace) targeting a wide range of population groups, such as children and adolescents, women, migrants, and the elderly, and different types of occupational groups, such as health professionals, as well as policy makers, other NGOs and decision makers. Prolepsis Institute has participated, as a coordinator or partner, in approx. 70 EU co-funded and numerous national projects implementing research, applied and educational initiatives, aiming at health promotion and education of the public, policy change and tackling health inequalities. Human resources consist of a multi-disciplinary experienced team of physicians, health promotion and communication specialists, statisticians, economists, psychologists, sociologists, nutritionists, food technologists, each of whom undertakes distinct roles in the Institute’s projects. Moreover, the Institute has more than 20 external associates and more than 100 volunteers participating in various projects. Prolepsis has managed to create a large network of partners not only in Greece but also in Member States of the European Union, Eastern European Countries and the USA.

Main experts involved in the project

  • Professor Athena Linos President, Scientific Coordinator
  • Pania Karnaki, Project Manager
  • Dina Zota, Project ManagerPopi
  • Maria Mitsa, Research assistant
  • Valeria Vislevska, Financial Officer
  • Ioannis Koutelidas, Dissemination Manager
Work Package 7 Lead.

The EuroHealthNet partnership includes 64 members, associate members, and observers from 25 European countries. These members include national and regional public health authorities and institutes, as well as research centres, universities and non-profits who work on health promotion and disease prevention. EuroHealthNet has connections with and engages policymakers across different levels of governance and thus has a good understanding of how research-based policy recommendations can best be introduced in current policy making agendas. EuroHealthNet also has 20 years of experience participating (and leading) in European projects, developing policy tools and recommendations, as wells as facilitating knowledge transfer and translation to different contexts.

Main experts involved in the project

  • Alison Maassen, Programme Manager
  • Alexandra Latham, Senior Communication Coordinator
  • Lina Papartyte, Project Coordinator
Partner in Work Package 7.

Connaxis is a communication consulting company with fieldwork experience in more than 20 countries and a team of more than 60 professionals with diverse backgrounds in corporate communication, branding, digital marketing, advocacy, graphic design, web development, content generation and social media.

Connaxis has more than 12 years of experience helping companies and organisations to maximize their visibility and improve the positioning of their brands and projects. It carefully conceptualizes, develops and implements marketing and communication plans.

Connaxis has helped more than 100 clients to define and optimize their digital presence through contents, technology and creativity to achieve the maximum visibility and influence for their projects. Each assignment is considered a new opportunity to innovate using the most advanced technologies in a strategic and creative way.

Main experts involved in the project

  • Oscar Casanova, Marketing and Communication
  • Ekaterina Gómez,  Digital Communication Strategy
  • Javier Burgos, Project Management
Work Package 6 Lead.

The Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative (VIVI) is an international think tank and non-profit-research. organization focused on new avenues for the treatment, communication and prevention of infectious diseases. The VIVI team combines the innovation technique of Design Thinking with rigorous scientific research. VIVI developed new programmes and digital tools for clinical research and vaccine education. VIVI’s aim is to engage children and families actively through a human-centered design integrating infectious disease epidemiology with data standardization, patient empowerment, digital health/AI and advanced diagnostic capabilities. Members of the Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative Think Tank include experts in risk communication, medical anthropology, global health, population science, information technology, machine learning, data standards, health policy, bioethics and regulatory science. Partnering with the European Academy of Paediatrics VIVI launched the SEKI Program ‘Strengthening Education and Knowledge on Vaccination’.

Main experts involved in the project

  • Claire Romaine, BSc; SEKI content coordinator
  • Barbara A Rath, MD PhD HDR; PI (ViVI)
  • Lea Seeber, MD SEKI Education Coordinator
Task Lead in Work Package 3.

Maastricht University (UM) is the youngest university in the Netherlands. It is the most international university of the Netherlands and it is growing rapidly with currently approximately 18.000 students and 4,400 staff. UM has a strong international orientation with students and staff from all over the Netherlands and an increasing number of students from abroad. UM is known for its unique education system: Problem-based learning (PBL). UM ranks 10th place in the Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2019. UM has established itself as an attractive university and a prestigious centre of academic excellence. Researchers work in multidisciplinary teams in close cooperation with international institutes, business and industry.

The Department of International Health of the Care and Public Health Research Institute (CAPHRI) at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Science has a European outlook which is closely associated to topics on the EU agenda in general and the health agenda in particular, as well as to global streams impacting health. The department influences national and European policy. It offers bachelor and master programmes in European Public Health and collaborates with a wide range of other educational programmes to place local, regional, and national health developments into a wider European and global perspective.

Main experts involved in the project

  • Klasien Horstman, Prof. Philosophy and Sociology of Public Health
  • Tamara Schloemer, Public Health Researcher
Partner in Work Package 6.

The European Academy of Paediatrics (EAP / formerly Council of European Specialists in Paediatrics, CESP) was founded in 1961. Its members include national paediatric societies from over 41 countries across Europe (28 European Union (EU) countries, 4 European Economic Area (EEA) countries and 9 non-EU countries) as well as all 14 UEMS recognised European paediatric subspecialty societies and observer Countries. EAP also is the official Section of the European Union of Medical Specialists that is formally linked with the European Commission and Member States Institutions and is responsible for developing European training standards in paediatrics and paediatric subspecialties.

The European Academy of Paediatrics coordinates the only European Research in Ambulatory Settings Network. With over 2000 members and several papers published EAPRASnet (European Academy of Paediatrics Research in Ambulatory Settings network) is a practice-based research network that was established in 2009. It consists of paediatric practitioners from practices in European and Mediterranean countries and research consultants from Europe in collaboration with the EAP and AAP PROS. The EAP Vaccination Working Group (VWG) consists of representatives from all European regions, who are involved in their national immunization programs, with the intention to build an effective and interactive network. The major goal of the EAP VWG is to support activities leading to better harmonization of vaccination programs within the European region and to optimal coverage with recommended vaccines.

Main experts involved in the project

  • Assoc. Prof. Adamos Hadijpanayis, MD, PhD, Cyprus, EAP President
  • Assoc. Prof. Hans Juergen Dornbusch, MD , Austria, Chair Vaccination EAP Advisory Group
  • Assist. Prof. Lukasz Dembinski, MD ,PhD, Poland
  • Sian Copley, MD UK, Young EAP member, Researcher
  • Nora Karana, MD Germany, Young EAP member, Researcher
  • Loraine Lugasi, EAP Secretariat
  • Stefano del Torso, MD, Italy, EAP Executive Director, EAPRASnet Chair
Country coordinator for Poland.

University of Zielona Gora (UZG) is an international research university, based in the vibrant and multicultural city of Zielona Gora, in Poland. Its faculties – the Collegium Medicum, Faculty of Computer Science, as well as Faculty of Education, Psychology and Sociology are strongly involved in research to analyse vaccination coverage and its determinants. The UZG research group members are scientists with recognizable experience in the various aspects of infectious diseases, including vaccination. They collaborate intensively with other researchers in Poland and abroad. Results of their scientific work have enabled decision making regarding population health, as well as the planning of preventive strategies. This novel research has been oriented to the epidemiological assessment of vaccination coverage in the Polish population in different population groups, as well as factors responsible for vaccination. In addition, post-vaccination immunity has been assessed, together with serological markers regarding selected infections. Most studies are multi-centered, and conducted on randomly selected population groups, which allows the results to be generalized for broader populations.

Main experts involved in the project

  • Maria Kowalska, PhD; Researcher
  • Paulina Dubiel, Md; PhD candidate & Researcher
  • Daniel Biesiada, Md; PhD candidate & Researcher
  • Assoc. Prof. Pawel Kalinowski, MD, PhD; Researcher
  • Prof. Maria Ganczak, MD,PhD; Country coordinator & researcher
Country coordinator for Slovakia.

Pavol Jozef Safarik University (UPJŠ) ranks among the significant and recognized educational and scientific establishments not only in the Slovak Republic but also in Europe. One of its priorities is to strengthen the creative and organizational background of science, research and innovation with the support of quality research founded on broad international cooperation in the form of scientific projects or bilateral and intergovernmental contracts.

The Faculty of Medicine consists of approximately 70 units – institutes, departments, scientific research and experimental workplaces, and special-purpose facilities. The faculty is an agile institution that enjoys its unique position in the development of medical science and in education of physicians in the field of human medicine not only for covering the societal demand of Slovakia, but also in many other countries of the world – Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Australia.

Main experts involved in the project

  • Prof. Pavol Jarčuška, infectologist
  • Prof. Andrea Madarasová Gecková, social psychologist
  • Dr. Ingrid Urbančíková, paediatritian
  • Prof. Monika Halánová, epidemiologist
  • Ing. Slávka Šimková, project manager
  • MSc. Daniela Fiľakovská, social work & PH
Country coordinator for the United Kingdom.

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is a world-leading centre for research and postgraduate education in public and global health. LSHTM’s mission is to improve health and health equity in the UK and worldwide. LSHTM co-leads the NIHR funded Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Immunisation with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). The HPRU in Vaccines and Immunisation provides publicly funded and independent research on the English vaccination programme and supports national policy making. The HPRU in Immunisation explore the differences in uptake of vaccines in different groups and research the factors driving these differences in order to improve vaccine coverage and generate an equitable health protection system through immunization.

Main experts involved in the project

  • Sandra Mounier-Jack, Associate Professor in Health Policy, Project Lead
  • Sadie Bell, Assistant Professor in Public Health Evaluation, Researcher
Work Package 2 Lead, and country coordinator for Israel.

The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, Bar-Ilan University, was established in 2011 in the Galilee as a response to a severe physician shortage in Northern Israel. While the primary Faculty campus is located in Galilee’s capital city of Safed, the Faculty’s core activities, staff, students, and infrastructure extend throughout the medical centers and ambulatory clinics of the entire Galilee region of Israel. Thus, the potential influence of the Faculty of Medicine on societal health and well-being of the region through scientific discovery and implementation research, innovation and education are proportionally greater than is the case traditionally for many faculties of medicine throughout Israel and worldwide.

Main experts involved in the project

  • Prof. Michael Edelstein; Epidemiology, Country Lead, Co-PI
  • Dr. Jumanah Essa-hadad; Health Promotion, Lead Researcher
  • Yanay Gorelik; Social Psychology, Research Coordinator
Country coordinator for Finland.

THL is a government funded public health institute with statutory duty of surveillance of vaccine preventable diseases and vaccine programme performance (effectiveness and safety) in Finland. THL is in charge of providing guidance to the clinical and public health community on national vaccination programme and to the Ministry of Health in developing the national vaccination programme. In addition to its statutory functions, THL has long term experience in sponsoring and coordinating clinical vaccine trials (phase II and III) and post licensure studies, several of which in public-private partnership (GSK, sanofipasteur, Merck, Pfizer). THL leads a work package in DRIVE (Development of Robust and Innovative Vaccine Effectiveness), I-MOVE+ (Integrated Monitoring of Vaccines Effects in Europe) and was an associate member in ADVANCE (Accelerated development of vaccine benefit-risk collaboration in Europe) projects. THL staff serve as experts to Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea), National Regulatory Authority (NRA), and European Medicines Agency (EMA), as well as to the Ministry of Health of Finland. THL represents Finland in the Advisory Forum of ECDC, serves as ECDC national focal points of vaccine preventable diseases (VPD) and provides expert services to WHO (GACVS and SAGE) and other international organizations (CIOMS, IVI).

Main experts involved in the project

  • Idil Hussein; researcher, PhD student, Main researcher in charge of the study
  • Hodan Ahmed; research assistant, medical student, 
    Responsible for data collection
  • Taneli Puumalainen; MD, PhD, DTM&H, Senior researcher
Partner in Work Package 7.

The European Public Health Association (EUPHA) is an umbrella organisation for public health associations and institutes in Europe. EUPHA is an international, multidisciplinary, scientific organisation, bringing together around 14,000 public health experts for professional exchange and collaboration throughout Europe. EUPHA encourages a multidisciplinary approach to public health. EUPHA was founded in 1992 and now has 86 members from 47 countries: 41 national associations of public health; 24 institutional members; two global members; and seven individual members.

EUPHA publishes the European Journal of Public Health (EJPH), the leading peer-reviewed academic journal on public health. The impact factor of the EJPH is 2.234 and the 5-year impact factor is 3.069, which puts the journal amongst the most highly cited health journals in Europe. Regular EUPHA publications include the monthly newsletter, sent electronically to over 14,000 public health professionals; statements, providing the public health perspective; and e-collections. EUPHA e-collections are published on Urban design and health, fighting antimicrobial resistance, actions taken across Europe, and Health promotion and the need for a multisectoral approach.

Main experts involved in the project

  • Maaike Droogers, Deputy Director EUPHA
  • Floris Barnhoorn, Deputy Director EUPHA, EPH Conference