Flagship 1: Urban Health and Demographic Change

Projects and activities

Core projects and networks in Flagship 1

The development of the European Master’s program in epilepsy

The primary goal of the project is to set up the foundations for a permanent undergraduate educational EU program focused on epilepsy; the format could be extended to many other brain diseases. The Master’s program fills the existing gaps in academic education to promote broad multidisciplinary knowledge in epilepsy research areas that include clinical, neurobiological, social, and legal aspects. The graduates should be versatile scientists able to catalyze the integration of science and technology; they will acquire the ability to work in academia and industry, to bridge between basic and clinical research to develop a global vision of the problem epilepsy. The Master's program should enhance personal development in translational science and promote project development creativity. As a first step towards to program we will elaborate an International course on the Pathogenesis of Epilepsy followed by its expansion to the micro-credential program on Epilepsy.

Participating universities: CU, SU, UniMi, UW

Project leader: Prof. Přemysl Jiruška, Charles University,

Find out more on the project website

Resilient Cities: challenges, risks and response

A cross-disciplinary course explores and addresses risk processes and transformations that shape and threaten long-term urban and social development in European cities and require coordinated response and action by politicians, experts and citizens. Themes include social diversity, inequality and segregation; ageing and health; impacts of global environmental change; smart city, mobility and technological challenges; policies and planning for resilience.

Participating universities: CU, UHD, SU

Project leader: Prof. Luděk Sýkora, Charles University,

Find out more about the course


Resilient Cities: A diary from the workshop

Perineal Trauma Prevention, Evaluation, Education, Repair and Scanning Blended Learning (PEERS+)

PEERS+ is a blended learning course covering the topic of maternal perineal and pelvic floor trauma at the time of childbirth. It is suitable for different levels of students studying aspects related to women’s health. These include students studying medicine, midwifery, nursing and physiotherapy both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The course utilises blended learning methodology so it has online e-learning components as well as the opportunity to have face to face hands on training for those who wish so.

The online component is mandatory, while the other components are elective. This gives flexibility to students to tailor the course to fit their needs. This will depend on their personal preference, interest, time availability and level of experience.

Participating universities: CU, SU, UniMi, UW

Project leader: Dr. Khaled Ismail, Charles University,

Find out more about the course

Comprehensive and integrative educational program in oncology

Oncology with preclinical research (i.e. in silico, in vitro, in vivo) and clinical (early phase, late phases) becomes more and more complex with multiple and complementary fields of investigations. In addition, it becomes more and more cost- and time-consuming. This integrative educational program will give an overview of the different axis of research in oncology and different fundings of research.

Participating universities: CU, SU, UniMi, UW

Project leader: Prof. Ahmed Idbaih, Sorbonne University,


4EU+ Against Cancer Summer School 2023: call for applications

4EU+ Against Cancer Summer School in Warsaw

Smart cities for ageing societies

The aim of the on-line seminar is to analyze the concept of smart cities in relation to active aging. The rationale behind is that aging is the major challenge faced by cities today and onto the future, in particular in combination with the current and possible future pandemics and the climate change. We want to analyze interactions within the aging city, which is the first step for planning new policies of motivating and enabling elderly people to work and to remain an active part of a community. In order to do it, we offer a series of research seminars, in which students and scientists interested in ageing and smart city can meet and discuss problems they are investigating, show their work, identify potential research problems and listen to the presentations of invited experts.

Participating universities: UHD, UCPH, UniMi, UW

Project leader: Dr. Grzegorz Kula, University of Warsaw,

Cooperation in General Medicine, Nursing, Psychology and Allied Health Profession Study Programmes of 4EU+ Universities

First steps for future introduction of micro-degrees and establishment of the International Medical school in the 4EU+ Alliance

The project focuses on developing and fostering the use of innovative pedagogies in the General Medicine, Nursing, Psychology and Allied Health Professions Study Programmes. These principles should be shared across the Alliance making available and easily accessible for students to use various learning components across partner institutions Beyond that, the project aims at:

  • Making use of the experience gained during the COVID-19 pandemic – conversion of emergency teaching to the standard one.

  • Preparing stable foundations for cooperation leading to both, short-term outcomes (e.g. shared tools, methodologies, classes, courses) and long-term one (e.g. introduction of micro-degrees/microcredentials that to be integrated to the study programmes and establishment of the International Medical curriculum of the 4EU+ in the future).

Participating universities: CU, UniMi, UW

Project leader: Prof. Gabriella Cerri, University of Milan,

Cardiovascular Experimental Physiology Intro Course

Blended course of cardiovascular experimental physiology with introduction to wide range of experimental cardiac physiology techniques available within the 4EU+ network: from cellular to in vivo level, from mice to pigs, from lab to clinic. The course will consist of interactive online seminars on research methodology, good practice research examples and translational journal clubs for wider audience followed by on-site visits for small groups of interested students. The course should allow personalized learning pathway to cardiovascular research competences, thus attracting talented students to the field of cardiovascular research and forming common platform for cardiovascular research collaborations, networks and study programs.

Participating universities: CU, UCPH, UniMi

Project leader:

Prof. Milan Stengl, Charles University,

4EU+ Urban Health Case Challenge (UHCC)

On 23-27 November 2020, 4EU+ University Alliance and the School of Global Health at the University of Copenhagen hosted the first edition of the 4EU+ Urban Health Case Challenge. Due to COVID19 restrictions the case challenge was held fully online. 68 bachelor, master's and PhD students divided into 14 multidisciplinary teams representing the 4 EU+ partner universities and two Nordic guest universities, Uppsala University and Norwegian University of Science and Technology, competed to come up with the best solution to a challenge on community resilience in times of COVID-19.The case provider Gehl Architects - a people centered urban research and design consulting firm posed the case question: “In your city, design a community intervention that strengthens resilience among vulnerable populations to overcome negative implications of COVID-19 preventive measures.”Alongside the team work the programme included lectures on the topic, on innovation methods, and pitch coaching. On the final day the teams presented their solutions and received feedback from a jury of different experts on the topic.

The second edition of the 4EU+ Urban Health Case Challenge focused on how the quality of urban space and social interactions within it can help in the prevention and mitigation of mental health issues on an emotional, psychological and social level and thus to ensure the well-being of the inhabitants and the strengthening of social cohesion.

Participating universities: CU, UHD, SU, UCPH, UniMi, UW

Project leaders:

Morten Mechlenborg Nørulf, Bjørg Elvekjær, University of Copenhagen,

Christiane Schwieren, Heidelberg University,


The second edition of the 4EU+ Urban Health Case Challenge (2021)

 First edition of the 4EU+ Urban Health Case Challenge (2020)


An integrated 4EU+ Pharmacoepidemiology educational course

The course aims at developing the knowledge of students on fundamentals methods in pharmacoepidemiology, and gain an understanding of the structure of the French administrative health databases, the Danish registries, and the Italian National Health Service database, in order to develop multi-country research project in pharmacoepidemiology within the 4EU+ Alliance.

Participating universities: SU, UCPH, UniMi

Project leader: Prof. Julien Kirchgesner, Sorbonne University,

Find out more about the course

4EU+ PharmacoEpi Course, April 2022, Paris:


Urban Regulations and Political Memory: Towards understanding Spatio-Temporal aspects of Urban Development

Key topics of the UNREAD course are driving forces of urban changes, the development of smart cities and interdisciplinary methodologies of urban studies. The project concerns changes in the conditions of the urban development of smart cities in Poland, Italy and Czech Republic, according to three dimensions: past (history), present (law) and future (geography), emphasizing an integrated and interdisciplinary approach in order to understand the complexity of new urban centers in which real estate development must coexist with the protection of the environment and with thehistory and heritage of the local community.

Participating universities: CU, UniMi, UW

Project leader: Dr. Karolina Wojciechowska, University of Warsaw,

Find out more on the project website


Fifty participants meet at the UNREAD project conference in Warsaw

Building a network of student-led teaching of medical ultrasound

The ability to perform and interpret ultrasound examinations is a central skill in today's medical education. After teaching more than 3.500 Heidelberg students in ultrasound since 2006, we designed an English-language version of this curriculum called SASH (Summer School of Anatomy-based Sonography at Heidelberg) and invited international students to come to Heidelberg and learn this skill. In 2021 we extended our offer to students and colleagues from the 4EU+ Universities of Milan and Prague who participated in SASH-21 and will establish their local ultrasound curriculum. Key to the success of our local curriculum and SASH is the tutor-training program that allows us to rely on highly motivated and capable students in our student-led teaching of sonography. The curriculum and the tutor-training program can be used as a template to set up similar curricula in Milan and Prague – and at other 4EU+ universities and beyond. This way, we strive to build a European network of student-led, anatomy-based ultrasound curricula.

Participating universities: CU, UHD, UniMi

Project leader: Dr. Ralph Nawrotzki, Heidelberg University,

More information and news:


Designing, implementing and analyzing online questionnaires on career

In the winter semester 2021, we organize a blended hands-on course. Students learn the basics of how to (1) design, (2) implement, and (3) analyze new online questionnaires. These new questionnaires assess the career development of healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Activity 1 “design:” Students and lecturers design a new questionnaire aimed at assessing how other students estimate their career development in general and during/after the COVID-19 pandemic. Both PIs in Heidelberg have expertise with questionnaires about career development (FB) and the COVID-19 pandemic (CK). Students adapt existing qualitative questionnaires into a quantitative questionnaire. Students translate the questionnaire into their respective languages and adapt it for organizational particularities of their countries. Educational outcome: Learning to design empirical experiments that answer scientific questions.

Activity 2 “implementation:” Students and lecturers (a) implement the questionnaire into online platforms (soscisurvey, limesurvey; PIs and partners have experience with these platforms), (b) identify online platforms and associations for recruiting participants. Outcome: Experience with online data acquisition and research in education.

Activity 3 “analysis:” Students and lecturers analyze previously acquired data (i.e., data preprocessing, calculating statistical measures such as averages, standard deviations, regressions, robustness checks, testing for differences between countries, etc). Outcome: Learning to use statistical software (R, Python). Reasons for sustainability: First, the project can be easily adapted for new questionnaires and complex online experiments including “gamification.” Second, varying the complexity of the questionnaire allows adaptation for BA, MA, and PhD students. Third, lecturers from all sites and from different disciplines can contribute their scientific expertise—and use the collected data for their own research, which may enhance long-term motivation for cooperation.

In the summer semester 2022, we organize a blended hands-on course, which students and lecturers from Paris and Milan attend in person. The general outline and the activities are very similar to the procedure for the winter semester detailed above. The crucial novelty is that we broaden the topic to the wider field of “computational psychiatry” with a specific focus on reinforcement learning models regarding social learning.

Participating universities: UHD, SU, UniMi

Project leader: Dr. Christoph Korn,

Find out more about the course

Other initiatives related to Flagship 1


Education and Research Joint Initiative in Acid-Base Physiology and Homeostasis

4EU+ BLOOD-GAS is an initiative with overarching aim to reinforce and boost the cooperation among the participating universities in acid base research and education. In 2023, team meetings and exchanges of PhD students will be organized and new research questions and ideas for joint educational events examined. The second edition of the 4EU+ Summer School of acid-base and homeostasis will be held in Prague in September 2023 with the aim to establish a tradition and organize the event annually in Prague, Milan or Copenhagen.

Participating universities: Charles University, University of Copenhagen, University of Milan

Project leader at CU: doc. MUDr. František Duška, PhD. (Third Faculty of Medicine)

Emerging new concepts and approaches to target diabetes pandemic in urban areas: from physiology to successful implementation

The project aims to identify ways to effective prevention and early treatment of disabilities from non-communicable diseases and to support the resilience of the European population, namely those vulnerable, living in urban environments. The aim is in line with Flagship 1 dealing with the interconnected issues of an ageing population, increasing urban density and environmental impacts on healthcare demands and its accessibility. The project will bring together leading European scientists for a symposium combining interactive talks and educational workshops, spanning from basic research into the multi-omics predictive patterns, energy balance and host-microbiome interactions, over the diet and exercise intersection to epidemiology and policymaking.

Participating universities: Charles University, Sorbonne University, University of Copenhagen, University of Milan, Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse (external partner)

Project leader at CU: doc. MUDr. Jan Gojda, Ph.D. (Third Faculty of Medicine)

The programming power of the placenta: A short-lived organ with a long-lasting impact on global health

This network will exploit the expertise of European research units and set up synergistic collaborations of experts in the fields of placental (patho)physiology, reproductive sciences and computational biology. Utilizing the opportunity of staff and student exchange mobilities, the project intends to employ a unique set of placenta models and computational methods to gain insights into the impact of the intrauterine environment on long-term human health. Such knowledge is expected to assist in identifying susceptible individuals at risk for adult disease and contribute to the discovery of therapeutic approaches to prevent or ameliorate long-term effects.

Addressing the global implications of early-life exposures in research and medicine could efficiently promote healthier lifelong trajectories across generations. On a universal scale, the synergism between partners of this project, led by in-depth biological knowledge and cutting-edge computational analysis, is expected to promote long-term health and lower healthcare costs.

Participating universities: Charles University, University of Copenhagen, University of Geneva

Project leader at CU: PharmDr. Rona Karahoda, Ph.D. (Faculty of Pharmacy)

Dual Antiplatelet Therapy For Shock Patients With Acute Myocardial Infarction - DAPT-SHOCK-AMI study

The DAPT SHOCK AMI randomized study aims to provide yet completely missing evidence of optimal antiplatelet therapy in patients with AMI complicated by CS. Antiplatelet therapy is an essential part of pharmacological treatment to restore flow in the infarct-related coronary artery and is crucial for the prognosis of patients affected by this event. The study purpose is to compare the efficacy of intravenous and direct-acting cangrelor versus recommended therapy with orally administered ticagrelor on the incidence of major cardiovascular events in patients with AMI initially. complicated with CS who are undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention. The results of this study will significantly contribute to optimizing antiplatelet treatment in patients with CS caused by AMI.

Participating universities: Charles University, Heidelberg University, Sorbonne University, University of Warsaw, Harvard University (external parnter)

Project leader at CU: prof. MUDr. Zuzana Moťovská, Ph.D. (Third Faculty of Medicine)

4EU+ Master in Urban Studies

The objective of the project is to develop a first outline of joined 4EU+ Master Program in Urban Studies. The focus of the effort will be on thematic division of urban studies fields between partners, lecture/seminars composition, time schedule in relation to the compatibility of curricula, definition, scheduling and time allocation for core study activities, development and use of plug-in modules, options for the study program final accomplishment.

Participating universities: Charles University, Heidelberg University, Sorbonne University

Project leader at CU: prof. RNDr. Luděk Sýkora, Ph.D. (Faculty of Science)

Visual teaching in challenging themes for teacher practice

Universities play a central role in building society's capacity to address some of the most pressing societal challenges we face today. Even if this statement is generally true, universities play an irreplaceable role in preparing future teachers and educated EU citizens. Teachers and people who are able to educate others are seen as agents of change who put into practice important topics such as i.e. the development goals of the European Union. Teacher education for current challenging topics important for the development of the EU and the transformation to the educational society is thus a desirable innovation in the education of not only teachers. Such education can be described by five types of problems that need to be solved – designing the learning environment, understanding learner attributes, measuring learning outcomes, promoting systemic change and advancing visions in the field.

The project aims to prepare an/or newly develop examples of good practice in selected topics important for the EU (e.g. energy sources vs. green energy sources, healthy lifestyle, healthcare, sustainability, catalysis, etc.) and to discuss them (and in general as well) during online and face-to-face workshops. It can be considered as a possible way to effectively prepare future science teachers and potential educators to teach the mentioned topics with the effective use of up-to-date innovative teaching methods (IBSE, hands-on experiments, gamification, etc.) and modern technical means, especially virtual reality (VR), 3D printing, etc. We see it as one of the possible ways to transition to an educational society.

Participating universities: Charles University, Sorbonne University, University of Warsaw

Project leader at CU: doc. RNDr. Petr Šmejkal, Ph.D. (Faculty of Science)

Teaching Excellence at 4EU+ universities

It is said that teaching was the main function of universities until the late 19th century; however, the Humboldtian education ideal significantly increased the relevance of research, regarding teaching as a second-class activity. Nowadays with an increasing number of higher education institutions reassessing this model and emphasizing the relevance of quality teaching, a need for defining such concepts as “teaching excellence” and “quality teaching” seems to be of crucial importance. Therefore, within the framework of the proposed project, the team will carry out comparative qualitative research that will aim at mapping the understanding of the above-mentioned concepts within selected 4EU+ universities. It will also aim at collecting data on teaching skills programmes and trainings that are offered to their academic staff. Relevant data will be obtained through document analysis, and interviews and focus groups with key persons from the selected consortium universities. The collected data will be presented at the last meeting of the partners. It is believed that the analysis of the collected data will help us to deepen our understanding of the above-mentioned concepts, lead to defining 'good quality teaching' at Charles University, and prepare the basis for a new pedagogical skills enhancement programme to be designed at Charles University. The project is also believed to help develop shared standards at consortium universities, which will improve cooperation, course exchange and support student mobility and virtual mobility.

Participating universities: Charles University, Heidelberg University, Sorbonne University, University of Copenhagen, University of Warsaw

Project leader at CU: Mgr. et Mgr. David Hurný