Disability is a multi-dimensional phenomenon arising out of an interaction between the individual's health status and the physical and social environment. Disability data, and the instruments to measure it, must reflect this bio-psychosocial model of disability. Valid and reliable information are essential to design, implement or evaluate policies and legislation to combat discrimination and promote social integration, participation and enhance opportunities.

MURINET (Multidisciplinary Research Network on Health and Disability in Europe) was a 4-year (2007-2010), FP6 European Union-funded project coordinated by Dr. Matilde Leonardi (Foundation IRCCS Neurological Institute Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy) and a multidisciplinary consortium of 13 academic and research institutions and NGOs from 7 European countries. 

The main objective of the MURINET project was to create an European pool of experts in health and disability research and management, able to integrate several skills within the framework of the ICF classifications model. The ICF provided the theoretical foundation for this research by emphasizing the need to look at the lived experience of disability, and provided a common language that linked together clinical and rehabilitative services, population data collection, and other health-related services, such as education and employment.

The project objectives were:

  • to apply the ICF model in different settings toward improving health and disability research and policy across Europe
  • to reorient disability-related clinical practice and policy by exploring the validity of the continuum of functioning and disability
  • to explore the practical consequences of an ICF-inspired intervention strategy in which all interventions are designed to increase participation, by means of environmental facilitation or increased functional capacity

The research projects focused on four areas: 1) clinical and rehabilitative, 2) child health, psychology and education, 3) health and disability information for policy and 4) ethics and human rights.

General outcomes of the MURINET projects include participation of MURINET researchers at congresses, seminars, conferences, lectures across Europe, various networking visits, joint publications between researchers, expansion of international networks between MURINET researchers and other researchers worldwide, description of the MURINET project in the 2011 World Report on Disability, draft of a proposal for revising Annex 6 in the ICF, collaboration on the development of ICF training tools, publication on relevant information pertaining to the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disability, etc...

More more information, check out the MURINET website at A good overview of MURINET is available in the RIVM Newsletter from May 2011. Click here to access the PDF.

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