Thematic axes & methodological approaches

Surpassing disciplinary cleavages, the IR-HEdS defined five thematic axes and three methodological approaches. Research projects rely on articulations combining the different thematic axes and methodological approaches.



What ?

Healthy aging

Within the context of an ever-older population, the “healthy aging” research axis aims to promote aging in a healthy manner, prevent risks of fragility, and propose adaptations to combat decline in physical, cognitive and social capacities. These objectives constitute priority dimensions for maintaining independence and well-being.

Women, family and health

The family constitutes the primary place for prevention and promotion of health through lifestyle and habits. Already in utero, the health of mothers influences that of future adults. Research in this field aims to understand the mechanisms that enable a smooth development for the child and the family, from pregnancy to the perinatal period and beyond.

Food, nutrition and health

Food can be the source of either pleasure, intoxication or chronic illness. Nutrition is a major determinant of health, growth and longevity. The “Food, nutrition and health” research axis aims to understand and balance individual practices with public health incentives, to prevent chronic illnesses and respond to nutritional and hedonistic needs of the organism.


Rehabilitation concerns numerous healthcare professions. It aims the reintegration and recovery of a person affected at a functional, physical, sensorial, intellectual, psychological, or social level. A complementary objective is the return to professional activity or to sports previously practiced, as well as the development of new activities or educational pursuits. Scientific advancements and the development of new technologies continually expand the possibilities for rehabilitation, enabling a greater number of people to recover adequate autonomy and better quality of life.

Professional practices

The field of health is in constant evolution. Within this context, it is important to find the right adjustment between the realities of the field and training of professionals. This acknowledgement implies not only integrating the latest scientific knowledge into professional practices, but also integrating the experience and knowledge gained in the field into educational programs. Scientific analysis of professionals’ practices and attitudes can reduce the gap between theory and practice. This process also offers a framework to evaluate the professions in terms of shortages, commitment and abandonment issues.


How ?

Health technology

Health technology involves all types of innovations (tools/equipment, procedures, medications, vaccines, systems, etc.) that evaluate and/or solve health problems and improve quality of life. This approach also includes digital medicine – which encompasses IT, e-health, nanotechnology, neurosciences and life sciences.

Clinical research

Clinical research involves an individual, a group of people, or human material (behaviour, tissue samples, etc.). It includes research oriented on patients including clinical trials, epidemiological, and behavioural studies as well as results of healthcare services studies (cf. the National Institutes of Health definition).

Knowledge transfer

Knowledge transfer in health involves the comprehensive grouping of knowledge and its dissemination among various actors in the healthcare arena, notably professionals and patients. This approach aims to integrate knowledge stemming from research into healthcare practices, promote exchange among researchers and improve training.