EU Projects

A new initiative to monitor proficiency in medical English: sTANDEM

EACH is proud to announce our partnership in this new project  to develop a Standardised Language System for Medical Purposes (sTANDEM). This system is intended to promote, assess and certify the command of professional English among health care professionals world-wide. It will enable  hospitals and other health institutions where English is the language of communication who plan to employ staff, research fellows or externs whose first language is not English with sound information about their English language proficiency in a professional context.

The Standem project is divided into two distinct phases: a ‘research’ phase in which a detailed needs analysis will be carried out, and a ‘development’ phase.

Research phase

The project will start with reviewing existing research in the area of testing linguistic competence for specific purposes, in particular in the field of medicine in compliance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The relevant outcomes of several EU-funded projects will be taken into consideration while developing the sTANDEM system. The first stage of the research phase, which involved developing language needs questionnaires, has already been completed and the questionnaires will be distributed among the target group in order to analyse what language and communication competencies are needed by health care professionals to be able to advance professionally in the working environment using a second language. On the basis of the language needs, analysis language profiles in the field of health care will be developed.

Development phase

Based on the research results and the description of language competence provided in CEFR, detailed descriptors of linguistic competence for the medical domain will be developed. Next, guidelines concerning the format of the exam and the item writing will be established. Finally, the first 24 examination sets will be developed. Each set will include reading, writing, listening and speaking papers. After the complex process of piloting and validating the papers has been completed, the examination sessions will be organised. The consortium plans to establish its own examination centres where the exams will be held on a regular basis, first with the partner institutions, then also in other countries.


The international consortium comprises seven medical universities—Jagiellonian University Medical College (Poland), Innsbruck Medical University (Austria), University of Burgundy (France), University of Pécs (Hungary), University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Targu Mures (Romania), Edinburgh Postgraduate Dental Institute, The University of Edinburgh (UK), Tokyo Medical University (Japan)—and three partners responsible for promoting the sTANDEM initiative: EASE, the European Association for Communication in Health Care and the Elanguest Language School. The project has been granted financial support by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme for the years 2011 – 2014.

All institutions interested in the sTANDEM initiative are welcome to learn more about the project at

Also read the brochure

National representatives