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Scientists need to adopt interdisciplinary approaches in view of the ongoing cross-sectoral and global developments in the healthcare sector. To better meet these challenges the Centre Virchow-Villermé is developing internet-based and freely accessible online courses, so-called MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).


17 MOOCs were produced in 2014-2016 for the public health sector and reunited 44,845 participants. The first four MOOCs have been developed in cooperation with French IT specialists from INRIA (National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control). The courses are offered publicly via the FUN platform (France Digital University), Coursera and Iversity. The curriculum covers core public health disciplines: biostatistics, epidemiology, history of medicine, demography, health management, public health policy and social sciences in the healthcare sector.

With its MOOCs, the Centre Virchow-Villermé is pursuing two objectives: (1) providing freely accessible education in the public health sector, thereby also addressing underserved regions (e.g. French-speaking Africa) and (2), actively contributing to innovation within the European university landscape.


The “MOOC Factory” of the Centre Virchow-Villermé receives dedicated support from excellent international guest researchers, who in context of the Sanofi Chair contribute their expertise to the conception and production of MOOCs.



The #MOOCLive project undertaken by the University Paris Descartes – Centre Virchow-Villermé of Public Health Paris – Berlin, a joint initiative of the University Sorbonne Paris Cité and of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, was rated A +, placing it thus in second in the ranking established by the project evaluation committee, being under the call for Idefi-N projects/being under the umbrella project of Idefi-N of the National Research Agency (ANR), whose results were made public in late June.

  • MOOCLive will allow the production of MOOCs in global health and public health, on issues such as addiction, human rights and health economics.
  • In addition to these courses meant for the wider public, a unique training will be made available to states and their representatives. This will be in sight of/for their evaluation and certification, namely/especially on topics such as the respect for international treaties, i.e. the International Health Regulation.
  • These activities will be articulated through an innovative research and development program based on the collection and on the analysis of the data from the participants of these online courses. This is corresponding with an original strategy of development and of dissemination of these MOOCs, which will furthermore allow the contribution to research in the field of public and global health, along with its implementation.

This project, whose requested support, amounts to 1,150K euros for a three-year funding period, involves several public and private partners: (École d’Économie de Paris (PSE) with Hospinnomics (Hospital Innovation Economics ; PSE et AP-HP) and J-Pal (PSE) ; l’INSERMANEO a company specialized in big data and data analysis, and with the support of the Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP) ; the Charité Universitätsmedizin – Berlin ; the Université de GenèveSanofi and the civil society with What Health.


The #MOOCLive team at the Fondation Brocher in Geneva. January 2016.