The European Board of Urology and the European Association of Urology recently unveiled the EBU-EAU Host Centre Certification. The certification is intended specifically for centres that already host or want to host participants of the European Urological Scholarship Programme (EUSP).
The certification is designed to ensure that centres objectively meet high standards of professional results, educational standards and the volume of their output. The centres have to work in line with the EAU Guidelines and practice a multidisciplinary approach to one of several urological fields. Most importantly, this information is documented and presented online for transparency. EUSP Scholars can then make the best-informed choice when investigating which centre they should visit. The full list certification criteria can be found here.
In essence, the EBU-EAU Host Centre Certification formalises the currently informal status of educational centres. Starting in 2018, EUSP Scholars will only be allowed to visit EBU-EAU Certified centres, so certification is essential to attract or keep attracting the best researchers.
Experiences as a Host Centre
We spoke to Prof. Jack Schalken (Nijmegen, NL) about his experiences at the EBU-EAU Host Centre-certified Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen. The Radboud UMC’s Urology Department has been certified since December 2015, as one of the first centres in Europe.
“I strongly support the need for a formal assessment and certification of host centres. The EUSP scholar commits one year to research and they should be able to choose centres that also commit to them in return.” Prof. Schalken also sits on the EUSP board, and understands both sides of the equation.
“I also recommend that fellows spend time at the host centre before they complete their application. As host, Radboud UMC pioneered the “matchmaking” between the host and fellow via a short visit. Prospective fellows and my team members are introduced and other administrative details can be taken care of. My goal is for the fellows hit the ground running and start experiments in the first week of their stay. It’s a simple win-win for the scholar and the centre.”
The Host Centre Certificate has received a prominent place in the Radboud UMC, leading to in-house awareness of the centre’s prestigious status. Other changes are set to follow, according to Schalken: “Right now the certification is optional but that is slated to change in 2018. Once that happens, we expect a significant increase in applications from EUSP Scholars.”
Schalken has a lot of experience hosting EUSP Scholars at his centre, acting as primary supervisor in many cases. “It is so gratifying to see these young ambitious fellows enter the lab. To watch them grow as a person, as a scientist and write papers based on their own hands-on work! This is the reason why I am directing translational research with and for urology.”
“Right now, the number of certified centres is too low. This is not a reflection of the quality of the centres in Europe, but that we have so far not been able to reach out effectively enough. From 2018, certification will become mandatory, so I warmly invite all of my friends and colleagues to get their departments certified in the coming year!”