SE: Disease research centre:…

SE: Disease research centre: 'Open Source statistics can increase number of users'

30/10/2008

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) based in the city of Stockholm, Sweden, says Open Source statistical models will help to increase the number of researchers using these models for analysis.

The institute is currently asking IT-suppliers to submit offers for Open Source mathematical modelling tools to be used in medical research and for making decision on public health. The institute will use one of the modelling tools to make HIV prevalence estimates per country. "The final product has to be a set of user-friendly models which can be applied by all EU member states", ECDC writes in its tender document.

It simultaneously requests offers for the development of an Open Source mathematical model, to be used to research the effects of vaccines on certain types of viral diseases, such as chickenpox.

Using Open Source tools will allow researchers in all EU member states to use the models, explains Beatrice Masoliver, who is responsible for software procurement at the Stockholm institute. All public health institutes in the EU are using statistical applications, she says, and many will also be using Microsoft Excel. Writing software programs for a specific statistical application will create problems for those institutes that do not run that application.

The research contract is worth 480,000 euro. Proposals can be submitted up to 4 November.

According to one of its earlier tenders, the institute also uses GNU/Linux servers. In the past weeks, ECDC did not respond to questions regarding other Open Source tools it might be using.

The EU's health research agency was created in 2005 to track threats to public health posed by infectious diseases.

More information:

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

ECDC's call for tender (pdf)

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