Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Encompassing Training in fUnctional Disorders across Europe

Project description

A new era in functional disorders research

Functional disorders (FD) comprise conditions with chronic somatic symptoms that cannot however be associated with specific pathophysiological mechanisms. Although FD affect nearly 7 % of the population, imposing a high socioeconomic burden, the way different medical specialities conceive these disorders leads to fragmented and insufficient health care for patients. The EU-funded ETUDE project aims to address this problem by offering a sustainable and structured training programme to early-stage researchers. By educating the new generation of scientists to work across disciplines, the project will provide the skills to develop products and services that improve care for FD patients.


Functional Disorders (FD) are clusters of chronic somatic symptoms that currently cannot be associated to reproducibly observable pathophysiological mechanisms. FD can affect every organ system, individuals of all ages, ethnic groups and socioeconomic strata, although the risk is increased in women and lower socioeconomic strata. Women are 9 times more likely to receive an FD diagnosis, even after adjustment for the severity of symptoms. Functional limitations are as severe in FD as in well-defined chronic physical diseases. Direct medical costs and indirect costs as a consequence of sick leave and disability are high. FD cause relevant annual excess costs in health care that are comparable to mental health problems like depression or anxiety disorders, and which may be reduced by interventions targeting physicians as well as patients. About 7% of the population is affected to such a degree that they qualify for psychiatric treatment. However, this remains hidden due to diagnostic practices that vary between fields. Psychosomatic medicine, clinical psychology and medical specialties all have their own and different concepts of FD having important consequences for patients. These challenges result in a lack of knowledge on FD, leading to fragmented and insufficient health care for patients with FD, and a society in which patients with FD experience stigma from both the society as well as from health care professionals. There is an urgent need to solve the fragmented and insufficient education and research landscape.
Therefore, the goal of ETUDE is the development of a sustainable and structured training programme in order to educate a new generation of interdisciplinary creative early stage researchers that are able to cross disciplines and to translate theory and experimental models to products and services that improve care for patients.


Net EU contribution
€ 265 619,88
Hanzeplein 1
9713 GZ Groningen

See on map

Noord-Nederland Groningen Overig Groningen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (11)