Big bridge over the sea.

Work Disability Prevention – Bridging research and practice

14th – 18th of June 2021
Online course

About this course

This course presents “The Best Of” the highly valued 3-year course on Work Disability Prevention. Work disability occurs when a worker is impaired in performing his or her job. Work disability is expressed by continuing working but performing less, i.e. presenteeism, or by reporting sick, i.e. absenteeism. As such, it imposes large individual, social, and economical burdens. It is also a major concern to workers, their families, employers, policy makers, insurers, and occupational health service providers.

Main topics

Three different Work Disability Prevention topics will be addressed and integrated:

  1. Introduction to Work Disability Prevention (including transdisciplinarity)
  2. Intervention research in Work Disability Prevention (including organizational interventions and health promotion aiming at both individuals and workplaces)
  3. Sociopolitical challenges with Work Disability Prevention (including implementation of evidence-based practice)

Price information

The price of the course is EUR 75.
It is possible to pay by invoice and credit card.

Course objectives

The objective of the course is to disseminate transdisciplinary knowledge with focus on theoretical, methodological, ethical and practical challenges in relation to work disability prevention. The target audience is PhD students, post-doctoral fellows and practitioners with a master’s degree who are linked to the work disability field.

Target groups

  • PhD students
  • students at post-master level
  • occupational health professionals (physicians, ergonomists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, etc.)
  • rehabilitation professionals
  • representatives of insurance companies and social insurance.

General course fee and cancellation information

The courses and workshops vary in price. The course fee is invoiced after the registration deadline.

The confirmation, which will be sent after the registration deadline, will include detailed information on the payment of the course fee, as well as information on practical arrangements. Please note that you are not insured by NIVA.

Cancellation policy

Cancellations received by May, 18th 2021: full refund
Cancellations received by May, 19th 2021 or later: no refund

The total price of the course will be invoiced after the registration deadline.

The price is subject to minor changes.


Subject background

Evidence indicates that work disability results from complex interplays involving several stakeholders (workplace, family, insurer, healthcare providers) interacting with the patient/worker in the disability process. Addressing this systemic and multidimensional disability problem requires adopting a transdisciplinary perspective. The focus of work disability prevention (WDP) is helping workers stay productive at work, or return to a healthy productive work life. In this course, we will pay specific attention to mental health problems (burnout, depression and anxiety) as they are prevalent and not yet tackled (sufficiently) in most countries.

Most researchers and practitioners entering the field of WDP come from a specific discipline (e.g., medicine, rehabilitation, biomechanics, psychology, social sciences). Based on their discipline and training, they often have a relatively narrow perspective on work disability and are not well prepared to address the complexity of WDP. For researchers, this may lead to difficulties in developing and implementing research projects and interventions and may discourage some researchers from continuing in the WDP field. For practitioners, it may be difficult to get access to ongoing research and debates, and thus to use the newest insights from the field in their daily work.

Transdisciplinary exchange of research and practice at academic level and building bridges between these areas seem to be of high importance for professional development and to move the field forward by building a transdisciplinary ‘body of knowledge’. Opportunities to train researchers and practitioners in the full spectrum of WDP and work and health issues are rare as are opportunities for exchanging insights from research and practice. Our transdisciplinary training program in Work Disability Prevention helps researchers and practitioners develop transdisciplinary knowledge, skills and attitudes regarding WDP by using the trainees’ own disciplinary knowledge and research projects to contribute to the transdisciplinary experience. The Transdisciplinary WDP Program presents “ The Best Of” the recent 3-year NIVA course Work Disability Prevention (2016-2018), which was modelled in line with the earlier WDP Strategic Training Program in Canada.


Contact person

Course leaders

Ute Bültmann,
University of Groningen, NL
email: u.bultmann@umcg.nl

Angelique de Rijk,
Maastricht University, NL
email: angelique.derijk@maastrichtuniversity.nl

Emilie Friberg,
Karolinska Insitutet, SE
email: Emilie.Friberg@ki.se

In practical matters, please contact:

Project Manager

Cecilia Weckman
NIVA
mobile: +358 40 1258 748
email: cecilia.weckman@niva.org

Course leaders

Angelique de Rijk 3

Angelique de Rijk

  • PhD, Professor, Maastricht University, NL
Emilie Friberg

Emilie Friberg

  • Senior Researcher, Karolinska Institutet, SE
Ute Bültmann

Ute Bültmann

  • Professor, University of Groningen, NL

Course lecturers

Christian Ståhl

  • Associate professor, Linköping University, SE

Gunnel Hensing

  • Professor in Social Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Institute of Medicine, University of Gothenburg, SE
Kari-Pekka Martimo 3

Kari-Pekka Martimo

  • MD, PhD, Docent, Director, Foresight and Research on Work Ability, Pension Insurance Company Ilmarinen, FI
Silje Endresen Reme

Silje Endresen Reme

  • Professor, University of Oslo, NO
Ulrik Gensby 1

Ulrik Gensby

  • PhD, Senior Scientist, Team Working Life, DK

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