Research to ensure better aid
We are involved in ongoing research and are continually seeking 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. As such, our work is based on scientific data, and we encourage all our volunteers and staff to play an active role in research and development.
Experience has shown that high-quality, independent research into 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 to use the available resources to help whoever we can wherever we can.
- Responsibility: We want to be able to evaluate the work we do from a critical perspective. 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 make a critical evaluation of our work.
- Reform/innovation: We are constantly looking to improve what we do. We don't want to be passive bystanders but to provide support wherever we can, even when performing activities into which there has been very little research. Fresh insights help us not only think innovatively but also apply knowledge directly. Contributing to this approach also provides extra 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: blood components and donors (research performed by our Blood Service) and first aid, water and sanitation, and emergency preparedness (the focal areas of our Humanitarian Services).
Research in a number of ways
We conduct research in a number of ways, from running practical tests to gathering basic information. This diverse range of activities is what 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 (Centre for Evidence-Based Practice (CEBaP)). Activities for which we have adopted this approach include providing assistance at events, offering support to learners as part of the Bridging the Gap project and improving the selection of blood donors at blood drives.
- We also conduct our own ongoing operational and quality-oriented research, helping us 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 such information helps us deliver more effective training sessions.
- We also carry out fundamental and translational research, in other words research into collating basic principles (Transfusion Research Center (TReC)). For example, how do platelets behave during component manufacturing/production? What does this mean in physiological terms? Answering these questions will help enhance our knowledge – and therefore the quality of our work – in the long term.