As Robin Williams says spring is nature’s way of saying “Let’s Party”, but during this wonderful time the students from Norway and Georgia decided to attend the course in Register and Bio-bank Epidemiology at Lopota lake resort in Georgia in the beautiful Caucasus area. The course was full with statistics and epidemiology and the students, who were supervised by lecturers working on articles about scientific research, gained a lot of knowledge about registry based studies and in general, about health registries. In total, 36 participants attended the course including 10 teachers and administrate persons.
The course was organized and lead by UiT – The Arctic University of Norway in the frame of the project “Georgian-Norwegian Collaboration in Public Health“, financed by Diku (Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education). Additionally, Georgian participants were from Tbilisi State University, University of Georgia and National Center for Disease Control and Public Health. 10 PhD students from Norway and 16 Georgians had full time course during 6-10 May in one of the truly green and awesome places in the Eastern part of Georgia. Three of this are members of the Norwegian Research School of Global Health (NRSGH).
Excellent weather, beautiful forest surroundings and a magnificent green lake was perfectly aligned with the data management, critical appraisal of the scientific articles and overview of the studies from medical registries. The course is PhD level and especially designed for researchers who are working on registry or other big data. Since the lectures started from 9 in the morning and lasted until 6.30 in the evening the course was really intensive with a lot of group works.
Spending five days in the same place, away from daily life disturbances, is an excellent opportunity for people with different educational backgrounds and research interests to connect and make future friendships. Sharing experience and improving knowledge in epidemiology is the main aim of the course. It’s also one additional step forward to strengthen Georgian-Norwegian collaboration in public health and provide opportunities for students to travel abroad, visit countries with different cultures and meet new people working on the similar topics – just the kind of networking that’s so crucial for research projects to succeed.
One of the course participants from the research school described the course as really useful: ” – The course widened our perspective on registry research with the help of experienced scholars from Norway, Sweden and Finland. While enjoying Georgian hospitality we were able to discuss advantages and challenges when using registries for health research both in the Nordic countries and in Georgia. The presentation about linking registries with biobank data was particularly intriguing for planning my future research.”
In other words, Caucasus is not the worst place to start spring, even from an academic perspective.