The EU-funded 'Coordination action for reinforcing the health national contact points' network' (HEALTH-NCP-NET) project was established for this purpose. It targeted European NCPs, as well as several non-EU networks in Africa, Asia and Europe. Project members focused on improving NCP support services in Europe, simplifying the process of becoming an NCP through knowledge transfer, and improving access to information from the EU. The basis was that better NCP support will lead to higher quality research proposals. To achieve this, several successful training courses, a mentorship programme and staff exchange opportunities were organised. In addition, a number of networking and research brokerage events were held in order to bring NCPs and researchers closer together. HEALTH-NCP-NET also developed and distributed an NCP handbook, which includes practical guidelines and standard operating procedures. A virtual training facility for new NCPs and a data repository for all NCP training materials and standard operating procedures were set up as well. Successful project outcomes have laid the foundation for better health research in the EU. Less experienced NCPs in particular will derive benefit as they can now rapidly acquire the knowledge already accumulated in other countries.
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