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United European Gastroenterology (UEG) is a non-profit organisation which provides services
for all healthcare professionals and researchers in the broad area of digestive health.
Members include pan-European specialist societies and national gastroenterology societies
which represent countries located within Europe and the Mediterranean area.
UEG's overarching research aim is to encourage innovation and excellence in research by
supporting research facilitation and cooperation in the field of digestive health.1 Identifying
research gaps and priorities in the field of digestive health is fundamental to achieve this aim
and to inform the development of a comprehensive research support agenda. Establishing
research priorities and setting research agendas can support research efforts by helping to
reduce duplication of work, encourage collaboration and improve the quality of research
proposals and subsequent likelihood of obtaining research grants. Gaining a better
understanding of priorities and unmet needs can also assist UEG in developing strategies for
advocating for resources for digestive disease research amongst policymakers and funders.
Member involvement in the identification of priority areas is of great importance for
umbrella organisations like UEG and can confer several benefits. For example, engaging with
stakeholders to gain insight about research priorities can help to ensure research agendas are
relevant, feasible and meet critical evidence gaps.2 Furthermore, stakeholder participation in
research priority setting exercises can foster a sense of ownership of the priorities amongst
those involved, thus increasing the likelihood of implementation.3 In an effort to realise
benefits such as these and provide evidence to European Union (EU) funding bodies on
priority areas, in 2018 a survey of UEG's specialist society members was conducted to collect
information on the most urgent research needs as perceived by each society.4 Topics that
were of common interest to at least two societies were identified and sorted into 10 priority
research areas.4 However, due to the diverse research interests of UEG's members,
identifying a harmonised set of research priority areas was not without difficulty. This
highlights the need for wide consultation to obtain a range of perspectives on priority areas.
Gaining a balanced view will enable UEG to develop credible research agendas and advocacy
strategies which are aligned with the research needs of its members.
In addition to stakeholder perspectives, information gathering to capture areas where
research attention and funding has been focused can also help to ascertain gaps and unmet
needs to inform decisions regarding avenues for further research. For example, identifying
areas that are under-researched in relation to need may encourage increased activity and
stimulate targeted funding. A previous analysis of European Commission research grants
White Book 2: Part 2


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