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Research findings

Centre of Excellence for Fertility and Health established at Norwegian Institute of Public Health

The Research Council of Norway has awarded the status of Norwegian Centre of Excellence to the Centre for Fertility and Health. The international selection committee ranked the centre as one of the ten best applicants.

Illustrasjonsfoto: Colourbox.com

The centre will study how changes in parental age, number of children, infertility, new family structures and lifestyle affect both society and the individual's health. The researchers will study these issues from both the child and adult perspective.

“This is fantastic news. The Centre of Excellence means we can gain new knowledge about a topic of fundamental importance for the health of the entire population. This knowledge is important not just for Norway but also for other countries where we see similar demographic and social trends,” says Camilla Stoltenberg, Director-General at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Why Norway?

“Norway has a significant advantage over many other countries when it comes to this type of research. We have reliable health registries, large population studies like the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, plus quality-assured biobanks,” says Per Magnus, who will lead the centre for the first five years.

Per Magnus has led the world's largest family study, the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa), since its inception in 1998.

He explains that researchers in the future will be able to study trends over several generations in MoBa.

“The oldest children in MoBa will turn 18 this year. Soon they will have their own children who we hope will participate in the study. We can then study how family structure affects lifestyle and disease in the long term,” says Magnus.

“Many countries are experiencing the same social changes and have the same challenges as Norway but they do not have the same opportunity to find the answers,” says Siri Eldevik Håberg, who will take over as head of the centre after the first five-year period.

Why the Norwegian Institute of Public Health?

There is fierce competition to become a Centre of Excellence. 150 applications were submitted in this call for proposals, of which 34 went on to the second round of the application process. Ten centres have been granted status as Centres of Excellence.

The Centre of Excellence for Fertility and Health will collaborate with researchers in the Norwegian Institute of Public Health who have expertise in social sciences, psychology, medicine, genetics, epidemiology, statistics and demography.

“This will be an interdisciplinary centre. In addition to resources within the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, we will also co-operate with other Norwegian and foreign researchers at a high level. In addition, we have colleagues with expertise in administration, IT and communication that make it possible to operate the centre,” says Magnus.