Our external collaborations

We regularly appeal for external expertise – including that of patients – to support us in the design and execution of certain parts of our studies. We also call upon external experts for the validation of each report.


Despite an in-house team with many skills, the KCE does not always have the necessary internal expertise or the time to perform all of the studies itself. This is why some studies are fully or partially outsourced by public tender to, for example, university teams, specialised consultants or other public services. However, in these cases, KCE always retains responsibility for the coordination, the supervision and the final results of the projects.

External experts and stakeholders

KCE doesn’t work in an ivory tower. For each project, field experts are called in. These people, mostly specialists on the study subject, provide feedback on the research questions, the methodology and the key points to be taken into account for a better acceptance in the field.

Similarly, in each of its studies, KCE also invites interested stakeholders for consultations to gather their opinions on the subjects concerned. Stakeholder opinions are always taken into consideration, but are identified as such and are distinguished from the research results.

Each external participant is requested to sign a declaration of a potential conflict of interest (see below).

Thanks to these external collaborations, the communication between researchers and caregivers, patients and decision-makers in health care can be improved and professionalised.

Patients increasingly involved in our studies

In 2019, KCE is explicitly committed to involving patients more systematically as partners in its research. They can be involved as ‘experts in experience’ because their personal experience (or their eventual collective knowledge) of the health issues addressed gives them a complementary view to that of the researchers on how to conduct the research and on the relevance of the results. They may also be invited as stakeholders, to represent their interests as patients and users of health services.

The validators

All KCE reports are subject to internal and external scientific validation.

Internal validation is carried out by two KCE experts not involved in the research, and by the management. 

For the external validation, KCE invites three external experts, at least one of whom is foreign. In this way, the KCE benefits from critical, constructive external views on its work, and this contributes to the relevance and the scientific rigour of its reports.

Over the course of the years, these external validations have enabled KCE to build a very rich network with highly specialised national and international experts in a wide range of fields.

Conflict of Interest Policy

KCE is absolutely committed to its independence and neutrality.

Therefore its policy on conflicts of interest is clear and transparent:

  • KCE researchers are not authorised to engage in other professional activities that may give rise to a conflict of interest;
  • All external experts, subcontractors or validators who are involved in a KCE study have to fill in and to sign a declaration of interests. The declared interests are mentioned in the colophon of the corresponding report.