Savonia Article: Collaborative work within the ENPHE research working group: aiming to excellence.

This work is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The ENPHE Spring Seminar took place in A Coruña, Spain – Universidade da Coruña. Seminar brought together physiotherapy teachers to work together in ENPHE working groups. The theme of the spring seminar was “Physiotherapy education: aiming at excellence through collaboration”. The seminar offered keynote speakers, activities and workshops had been handpicked to help ciltivate that excellence. The Research Working Group (WG) of the European Network of Physiotherapy in Higher Education (ENPHE) is dedicated to advancing scientific inquiry and promoting Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) engagement among its members. The research group wants to promote both teachers’ and students’ knowledge of evidence-based physiotherapy. In recent years, new members have joined the research team, allowing new ideas to be conceived and implemented. The research group has published blog articles about their work (Äijö et al 2023a and 2023b). Below is a brief description of the ongoing projects that were taken forward during the Spring Seminar. More information and outputs you can find from ENPHE’s website.

Current Projects

Over the past year, members of the research group have been working on with the different topics.

Systematic review

Following our exploratory review published in 2023 (Boshnjaku et a. 2023) on the types of educational sequences for teaching EBP, the question of using a relevant tool to evaluate an “EBP clinician profile” arises. Indeed, in order to be able to identify the best teaching methods promoting the learning of EBP, it is imperative to first know the most relevant outcome. A recent systematic review updated an old one on this subject. However, beyond a low AMSTAR-2 score, the new one only focuses on publications subsequent to the first and its search strategy does not include keywords that could be useful in reducing the search silence. We decided to carry out a systematic review with the objective of identifying the best tool for evaluating an “EBP clinician profile” by constructing a method with the best methodological quality achievable. This tool should focus at least on the “knowledge” and “skill” dimensions of an “EBP clinician profile”. Other dimensions (attitude, behavior and self-efficacy) will be discussed regarding their incorporation.

ERASMUS+ Blended Intensive Programme (BIP)

Last October, a group of lecturers of the ENPHE research group carried out a BIP program to approach Evidence-Based Physiotherapy to physiotherapy students in Europe. With this focus, a group of 40 international students met in the University of Savonia and followed an intensive week program in which more than seven lectures participated and provided their expertise to analyze the evidence in the different fields. This experience has shown very positive outcomes and satisfactory attitudes beyond students and lecturers. That is why, a second edition is being planned for next autumn which will be held in Prague, coordinated by Prof, Dagmar Pavlu.

Iso joukko opiskelijoita Savonian kampussydämen lavalla.
BIP course students and teachers in Savonia-UAS, Autumn 2023.

More Life to Your Years

The “More Life to Your Years” research and innovation project is a joint collaboration between ENPHE members spearheaded by Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen en Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands. The project aims to identify frailty and factors contributing to human vulnerability using a mixed methods approach of qualitative research design, as well as comprehensive questionnaires. The topic of population aging is a current phenomenon, with an overlap in the demographic, economic, social and political spheres. Including issues encompassing a wide range of aspects, factors that intertwine with each other.

We live in an ageing society where the average population is increasing, with The Lancet predicting that by 2050, the world’s population aged 60 years and older is expected to total 2 billion (GBD 2021 Demographics Collaborator 2024). Poor /reduced muscle function and muscle depletion are common changes with ageing, and constitute an important component of frailty in older adults, a condition resulting in decreased autonomy with advanced age. Inactive lifestyles increase the onset of frailty. Physical activity can increase muscle strength and function as well as reduce the risk of falls, however too many older adults do not exercise regularly. Understanding how people aged 60 and over perceive their physical health and what they think they should do to prevent (physical) frailty and age healthily can provide insight into the strategies to be developed to stimulate older people to live a (physically) active life.

The Faculty of Physical Education and Sports at Charles University has for many years been contributing to the issue of aging population by implementing projects in the Czech Republic aimed both at finding the consequences of the population aging process and at finding options, especially the negative impacts which affect aging. Both for this reason as well as the opportunity to get involved in an international project which deals with the given topic and tries to advance research in the given area further has led us to join this project. We very much welcomed the opportunity to involve our students – students of the field of physiotherapy, for whom this possibility of cooperation is a great experience for the future performance of their profession. The project we are implementing together will allow us to exchange experiences between individual European countries, compare research results between individual countries, but also provide a greater and more comprehensive contribution to enabling the population to age healthily.

Charles University joined the project last year and together with other countries has implemented a qualitative study. Materials have been translated to be used as part of the investigation at our workplace. Approval was given, in November 2023, by the ethics committee to conduct the investigation. The project is currently running with an evaluation to follow. Both Rotterdam and Hanze University of Applied Sciences are also running the project with further evaluation to take place during 2024.

The project took place from November to March 2024 in Prague (Czech Republic). Dagmar Pavlů introduced the research group to the first results of the project of Jana Pojerová, a master’s student in physiotherapy, who conducted a guided interview with seniors as part of her diploma thesis, with the aim of evaluating how the senior population in the Czech Republic perceives physical activity and also how they know the concept of frailty. The results obtained by the student document large differences in the perception and position of physical activity among seniors, very surprising results were obtained for the term frailty, where none of the seniors were familiar with this term. We will continue the study we have started and plan to compare our results with results from other countries.

A student from Hanze University presented her bachelor thesis, a pilot scoping review, which explored the different definitions of prefrailty in physiotherapeutic literature across Europe. The findings suggest that the current definitions lack the multidimensional aspects of prefrailty by only focusing on the physical aspects. This pilot can be used as a preliminary research for writing a definitive scoping review on the definition of prefrailty together with members of the research working group. Members interested in contributing to this scoping review are requested to contact Anne Griet Brader

More life to your years project, Paula School present the results of her thesis.

Facilitating teaching of research and scientific methods. Survey for the teachers

We have reflected on a survey of teachers. This survey revolves around the contents of the curriculum related to evidence-based physiotherapy, teaching innovation, teaching methods and how to evaluate them. Based on a collaborative work methodology in small and large groups, we have identified items, sections and questions on which our research work can continue through the survey. Important discussions took place within each working group which facilitated the identification of key points from the survey. Based on these contents carried out in the Seminar, we will continue with the research plan and the specification of the survey questions.

The research team continues its active work!


Marja Äijö PhD, principal lecture of rehabilitation and gerontology, Savonia University Applied Sciences, Finland.

Zeltia Naia-Entonado. PT, MSc, PhD. University of a Coruña, Spain.

Verónica Robles García, PhD, MSc, PT, OT. University of a Coruña, Spain.

Dagmar Pavlů, physiotherapist, associate professor, Charles University, Czech Republic.

Anne Griet Brader, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Netherland.

Paula School, physiotherapy student, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Netherland.

Adrien Pallot, Physiotherapy Department, CEERRF and dInstitut d’Ingénierie de la Santé, UPJV, France.


Boshnjaku A, Arnadottir AS, Pallot A, Wagener M, Äijö M. 2023. Improving the Evidence-Based Practice Skills of Entry-Level Physiotherapy Students through Educational Interventions: A Scoping Review of Literature. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(16), 6605;

GBD 2021 Demographics Collaborator. 2024. Global age-sex-specific mortality, life expectancy, and population estimates in 204 countries and territories and 811 subnational locations, 1950-2021, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: a comprehensive demographic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2021. Lancet. 8:S0140-6736(24)00476-8. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(24)00476-8.

The European Network of Physiotherapy in Higher Education (ENPHE). 2023. In available:

Äijö M, Boshnjaku A, Pallot A, Griet Brader A, den Ouden I, Schoo P, Naia Entonado Z, Pojerová J, Pavlu D. 2023a. Educating Physiotherapists for a Global Mindset – ENPHE and research groups results. Published: 18.10.2023. In available:

Äijö M, Wagener M, Pallot A, Pavlu D, Arnadottir SA. 2023b. Evidence-based Practice – Experiences from Teachers and Students. Savonia article. Published: 27.1.2023. In available: