HomeNewsOver a million euros for healthcare system research

Over a million euros for healthcare system research

European grant scheme Interreg awarded a grant of roughly €1.5 million to the UT research project BRIDGE. The UT-led research project focuses on cross-border cooperation in healthcare. BRIDGE will map ongoing initiatives and analyze and decrease barriers to resource pooling. The project will start in spring 2024.

Hospitals close to the border face the challenge of providing high-quality care with limited resources. These range from lower capacity in sparsely populated regions and associated staff shortages to the scarcity of intensive care beds or medicine shortages. Public health does not stop at the border, as the COVID-19 pandemic showed. 

Resource pooling

That is where resource pooling across borders becomes crucial. Resource pooling is a set of tools and strategies to coordinate and share resources between health institutions. The aim is to reduce gaps in the provision of resources and services while minimising waste through duplication of resources and unnecessary transport costs. Through resource pooling, hospitals in the German-Dutch border region quickly have the resources they need in case of a sudden emergency, without having to store them. For patients, this means shorter distances and faster access to specialised care. 


Currently, exchanges are already taking place across borders in the region with regard to helicopters and ambulances, emergency care and acute paediatric care. These projects are organised separately and cooperation is based on individual agreements. Also, the projects experience huge administrative burdens. BRIDGE identifies opportunities for coordinated cross-border resource pooling, develops and implements a digital platform to facilitate this, and provides input for relevant policy decisions.

 Interdisciplinary team

Researchers from UT: Caroline Fischer and Le Anh Long from Public Administration and Gréanne Leeftink from Industrial Engineering, are collaborating in this research project with Vincent Hofbauer (UKM University hospital Münster), Manon Bruens (Acute Care Euregio), Oliver Treib (University of Münster), and Vittoria Chimisso (NovioQ). This interdisciplinary team of social scientists, medical professionals, engineers and computer scientists aims to help improve the quality of healthcare in the region. At the same time, they want to gain insights that will enable healthcare policymakers and managers to make better decisions. These actions will support a more robust and resilient healthcare system in the region. The mutual cooperation coincides with the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the cross-border parties.

From left to right: Prof. Dr. Oliver Treib (U Münster), Dr. Caroline Fischer (UT), Dr. Vincent Hofbauer (UKM Münster). They are standing in the Ministry of Economics in NRW, where they needed to pitch the BRIDGE application for the funders.

See also this article: Safeguarding healthcare in the EUREGIO (utwente.nl)

drs. J.G.M. van den Elshout (Janneke)
Press relations (available Mon-Fri)