Research conducted by the BGs is closely co-ordinated with other prevention activities such as consultation, monitoring, standardization, training, testing, etc. This ensures on the one hand that topical and relevant issues from the field are addressed by research, and on the other that the results of research activity find their way quickly and smoothly into (company) practice by exploitation of this close co-ordination.
Specific example research projects conducted in the area of prevention were to be used to demonstrate the process, from identification of the problem, addressing it by research, through to implementation of the results in practice.
The objective was to present the working philosophy behind BG research in an illustrative and comprehensible manner. Any deficits were to be identified, and suitable strategies for their avoidance followed in the future.
30 projects were selected at random from a total of 90 BG Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BGIA) projects completed in the years 1999 to 2002. For each of these 30 projects, a semi-standardized interview was conducted with the head of the project. Assessment criteria were identified with the aid of a comprehensive literature survey and of particular features of BG research and development projects. Altogether, 59 assessment criteria were integrated into the questionnaire. They concern transfer to practical application, public interest, quality, cost/benefits, testing and standardization, and co-operation/dissemination of knowledge. The heads of the projects answered the questions on a scale from -3 to +3. In addition, the interviewees were asked to explain their assessments and to indicate measures for improvement for future projects. Besides this information, organizational data relating to the projects were recorded such as the title, initiator of the project, project duration, project cost, objectives, results, and publications. For the purpose of the analysis, the sum of all individual assessments was formed for each of the above six assessment criteria, and a comprehensive analysis performed of the two worst and two best projects for each evaluation criterion. In the analysis, evaluation focused upon the qualitative statements of the interviewees. This procedure enabled a total of approximately 50 indicators to be identified which have a positive bearing upon the success of research and development projects.
The initiative of a BG or a BG expert committee and the involvement of the initiator in the early stages of the project and in guiding its course appear to be particularly important for the success of a project. The cost/benefit ratio is enhanced by clear project leadership and by planning from the outset of the implementation of the results. This is particularly evident in the case of the projects funded by third parties, which frequently exhibit close adherence to deadlines, good exploitation of the results, and clear project guidance. The requirements for a project to be of high quality are adequate prior research, openness to the results, objectivity, and reproducibility. Projects involving collaboration with academic institutions and other research bodies and with international partners are generally easier to incorporate into international regulatory activity and into training measures. Close contact with users (for example through contacts in industry), appropriate adaptation of the results to a customer target group, the topical relevance of the subject, an integral approach to project management, and an interdisciplinary approach are aspects with a particular influence upon transfer.
Future research and development projects should pay particular attention to the identified indicators. Altogether, measures for assessment of the effectiveness of the targets should be set out from the outset and evaluated systematically upon completion of the project. The experience gained in the project is to be incorporated into assessment of the quality of the research and development results as part of the BG Institute Work and Health - BGAG project 7600100700 "Quality in Prevention". In this project, the BG prevention managers are to be surveyed regarding their expectations of the parties conducting the project. This is to be followed by a survey of the initiators of research and development projects.
-cross sectoral-Type of hazard:
Wirtschaftlichkeit und Arbeitsschutz, QualitätssicherungDescription, key words:
implementation of research projects, efficiency, company practice, efficacy of research