The COST Action “DEterminants of Physical ActivitieS Settings” (DE-PASS) is a Knowledge Transfer Platform, unique in focus, extent and constitution. This four year COST Action, is funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) programme and is approaching the final phase of its first year.
COST Actions are spaces where ideas can grow through a flexible and open approach, where researchers from academia, industry and public and private sector can work together in open networks to advance science, stimulate knowledge and share resources. DE-PASS comprises of an international network of multi-disciplinary, Pan-European established, young and Early Career Investigators (ECIs) and policymakers. The aim of DE-PASS is to identify and measure the specific factors that promote, maintain or inhibit lifespan physical activity behaviours (PABs) across the lifespan and in different settings. This knowledge will subsequently be translated into user friendly outputs to assist policy makers and practitioners to achieve greater health impact.
The DE-PASS COST Action is co-Chaired by Dr. Ciaran MacDonncha (PESS Department, University of Limerick) and Prof Laura Capranica (University of Rome Foro Italico). The co-Chairs are supported by up to thirty Action members in leadership roles, e.g. Work Group (WG) leaders, Deliverable Leaders, Coordinators or Managers. University of Limerick members include: Prof Alan Donnelly (Deliverable Leader in WG 4), Prof Catherine Woods, Chloe Forte, Dr. Christine Cross, Dr. Elaine Murtagh, Dr. Matt Herring, Dr. Grainne Hayes, Padraic Rocliffe, Prof. Patricia Mannix McNamara, and Rhoda Sohun (Grant Manager).
My role as the Grant Manager, is to act as the main contact point between the Action Co-Chairs, Action participants and different representatives within the Grant Holder institution (University of Limerick). I provide administrative and financial support to the DE-PASS Chairs, Local Organisers of events where appropriate and to Action Participants, to ensure implementation of planned activities. It is my responsibility to verify that each expense is in compliance with the COST financial and administrative rules. Therefore, I work in direct contact with the Co-Chairs and liaise frequently with the COST Administrative Officer and COST Science Officer assigned to the DE-PASS Action (external contacts).
DE-PASS research capacity and research coordination objectives are achieved through specific planned activities: e.g. Meetings, Short Term Scientific Meetings (STSMs, Inclusiveness Target Country (ITC) Conference Grants, Training Schools and Virtual Networking Mobility Grants.
Year one for DE-PASS has been busy, despite the challenges of COVID-19 which restricted all travel and therefore prevented face-to-face interaction of DE-PASS members with each other. Nevertheless, work in DE-PASS forged ahead with those in leadership positions driving the activities of the network. (See summary in infographic below).
To date the DE-PASS Action comprises of 236 participants, across 38 nations that are engaged in up to 4 WGs or specific committees. A Management Committee (MC) is charged with representing the management and implementation of the COST Action, while a Core Group Board (CGB) of fifteen members, also undertake responsibility for Science, Growth and Sustainability, Capacity, Training and implementation and Communication, Dissemination and Exploitation of the Action (on behalf of the MC).
Numerous meetings at MC, CGB and WG level were held in year 1 to agree and implement the overall budget plan, WG plans, Communication, Dissemination and Exploitation plan and Capacity, Training & Implementation plan. Two Short-Term Scientific Mission have been undertaken by Action Members and hosted in the UK, three DE-PASS members were awarded Inclusiveness Target Country Conference Grants to support their attendance at international conferences and six Virtual Mobility Grants were awarded to DE-PASS members to support activities relating to Capacity Building or Research Coordination.
The first Training School “Consensus, concept mapping and best evidence statement (BESt) methodologies” was delivered between June and September 2021 and was co-hosted with the Physical Activity for Health (PAfH) Research Cluster and included four separate training events targeted at DE-PASS and PAfH members, and especially Early Career Researchers.
We look forward to Year 2, where the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions will enable greater networking and interaction between our Action Participants.
Rhoda Sohun is a Senior Technical Officer in the PESS Department and is the Grant Manager for the DE-PASS COST Action. Contact Rhoda on firstname.lastname@example.org