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Microfinance in emergency medicine research or how much research can you get for 500 Dkr?


Research is essential for improving emergency care but it is often difficult to obtain funding. Microfinance (small grants for minor projects) could be a method of initiating research in overlooked areas [1] but may be difficult to carry out [2].

We describe how a microgrant (500, -Danish Kroner (Dkr)) facilitated a research project in emergency medicine.


A grant of 500 Dkr was provided by the Danish Society for Emergency Medicine towards a research project on acute admissions.

Hospital departments in Denmark with acute admissions (internal medicine) were contacted. The doctor on call was asked to fill out a questionnaire on the internet. Costs of distribution, collection and registration of questionnaires were virtually zero.

The grant was used to buy a gift certificate that doctors completing the questionnaire could win. Monetary incentives combined with mail and telephone is known to increase response rates of questionnaires [3].


Responserate was 94.4%. The study has so far resulted in three manuscripts accepted for publication and one abstract.

  • Doctors on interhospital transfers. Training and level of experience. Abstract at EuSEM 2009

  • Supervision og arbejdsfordeling ved modtagelse, og videre behandling, af akutte medicinske patienter*

  • Level of training and experience in physicians performing interhospital transfers of adult internal medicine patients.**

  • Visitation og triage af akut indlagte medicinske patienter.*

* Ugeskrift for Laeger, ** Emergency Medicine Journal


The microgrant was vital for the conduction of the study. The study has resulted in three articles and an abstract. Microfinance can be used to initiate research.


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Correspondence to Peter Hallas.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Hallas, P., Folkestad, L. & Brabrand, M. Microfinance in emergency medicine research or how much research can you get for 500 Dkr?. Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med 17 (Suppl 2), O2 (2009).

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