Research for better aid
We are involved in ongoing research and continually seeks to establish a scientific basis for the techniques and practices involved in all our activities. We don’t rely solely on tradition, intuition or goodwill but rather seek to identify a proven, effective approach. Our work is therefore based on scientific data and we encourage all our volunteers and staff to play an active role in research & development.
Experience has shown that high-quality, independent research into what are our core activities is extremely thin on the ground. Our involvement is at the ‘pre-hospital’ stage and very little research has been done in this field. To plug this gap and establish a solid link between theory and practice, we undertake our own research.
Research is crucial
We believe research is crucial for a number of reasons:
- Performance: we want to be able to provide assistance as efficiently and effectively as possible, and use the available resources to help as many people as possible in as many places as possible.
- Responsibility: we want to be able to evaluate the work we do from a critical standpoint. Every step we take needs to be a useful one, be it in the context of blood supply or international cooperation in the field of first aid. We don’t just want to talk about what we do: we want to actually do it well and evaluate our work critically.
- Reform/innovation: We are constantly looking to improve what we do. We don’t want to be passive bystanders but provide support wherever we can, even with activities into which there has been very little research. Fresh insights help us not only to think innovatively but also to apply knowledge directly. Contributing to this approach also provides motivation for our staff and volunteers.
Focus on four priority areas
We conduct research into all our activities, although we tend to focus first and foremost on four priority areas: our Blood Service conducts research in the field of blood components and donors, while our Humanitarian Services focus on first aid, water and sanitation, and emergency preparedness.
Research in a number of ways
We conduct research in a number of ways, from running practical tests to gathering basic information. It is this diverse range of activities which makes our research strategy so effective.
- For all our activities, we first carry out a basic assessment of existing research and knowledge and use this to draw up practical guidelines (CEBaP). We have taken this approach for a number of activities, such as providing assistance at events, supporting learners within the framework of the Bridging the Gap project, improving selection of blood donors at blood drives and so forth.
- We also conduct our own operational and quality-oriented research. This is an ongoing exercise and helps us to improve all our activities on a daily basis. For example, we look at how long someone can retain what they have learned at a first-aid training session. Having a clear understanding of how long people can retain what they have learned helps us to deliver more effective training sessions.
- We also carry out fundamental and translational research, in other words research into collating basic principles (TReC). For example, how do platelets behave during component manufacture/production? What does this mean in physiological terms? Answering these questions will help to enhance our knowledge – and therefore our work – in the long term.