Folkhelseinstituttet - EUPHEM

acknowledged by EUPHEM available for next EUPHEM cohort
Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), Division of Infectious Disease Control, Department of Bacteriology and Immunology,
Lovisenberggata 8
0456 Oslo

Contact person

Didrik F. Vestrheim

Tel. + 47 21 07 64 65

Description of the institute 

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) was founded in 1929 as a governmental institution in microbiology, vaccine production and immunology. Later, NIPH has expanded with different scientific fields and has now around 1400 employees. The institute has four scientific divisions: Infection Control and Environmental Health, Health Data and Digitalisation, Mental and Physical Health, and Health Services. The Norwegian name of the institute is Folkehelseinstituttet (FHI).

The Infection Control and Environmental Health domain is engaged in control and prevention of communicable diseases. The main activities include surveillance of infectious diseases and infectious agents, outbreak investigations and response, specialised microbiological assays, recommendations and programs for vaccination and vaccine supply. The division provides advice to local and central health authorities, to health personnel and to the Food Safety Authorities, in all aspects of infectious disease prevention and control. Research constitutes an integral part of the activities and provides the basis for information and recommendations from the institute. NIPH runs the National Surveillance System for Communicable Diseases (MSIS), the surveillance system for hospital acquired infections (NOIS), the National Vaccination Register (SYSVAK) and the national epidemic intelligence activities.

NIPH has a clear public health microbiology profile with various departments covering bacteriology, virology, molecular biology and immunology, including National Reference Laboratories for a wide variety of pathogens, and the National Laboratory for Preparedness. Activities include verification, identification and further characterization of isolates received from clinical microbiological laboratories throughout Norway. The NIPH is responsible for a national quality assessment program in bacteriology and virology and are sending out samples six times each year to about 20 different microbiology laboratories in Norway.

NIPH has extensive international collaboration with representation in the ECDC surveillance networks both in epidemiology and public health microbiology and with research activities both within and outside EU, in particular with countries in Africa and Asia.

Training opportunities

The EUPHEM fellows will receive their training in a multidisciplinary environment in the division. The EUPHEM fellow will be trained in bacterial and virological methods used for characterization for microbiological surveillance and support of outbreak investigation. Training will also include serological methods for immunity to infections and seroepidemiological studies to monitor the national immunisation program. EUPHEM fellows will take part in the day-to-day work, including analyzing and publishing high quality surveillance data. There will be a close collaboration with infectious disease epidemiology and the EPIET program.

Training supervision

The EUPHEM fellows will be supervised by the EUPHEM NIPH coordinator. For specific tasks, the fellow will be supervised by the appropriate scientist/consultant for that particular project. A weekly meeting is held with the EUPHEM and EPIET fellows and their project supervisors to discuss current projects and to follow up the fellows’ progress.

Language requirements

English is widely spoken and understood by almost everyone in Norway. The EPIET fellows in Norway must speak and write English well. Conversational skills in Norwegian (or another Scandinavian language) would be an asset, but is not a requirement. Attending Norwegian courses is strongly recommended.

Training history

A total of 5 EUPHEM fellows have been or are being trained at the institute. 24 EPIET and Nor-FETP fellows have been trained at the institute since 1997.

The previous and current EUPHEM fellows at NIPH will be happy to answer your questions:
Didrik F. Vestrheim (2013-2015) – MS-track
Umaer Nasser (2014-2016) – MS-track
Natacha Milhano (2014-2016) – EU-track
Rikard Rykkvin (2015-2017) – MS-track
Lotta Siira (2016-2018) – EU-track