The EBC held its February Board & Industry Board Meetings in Brussels on February 18&19, 2015. On that occasion, delegates from EBC Board Members and industry partners had an opportunity to look into the proposed activities and projects for the organization on the basis of its Operational Plan for 2015.
These were presented as follow up of discussions of the Strategic Workshop conducted by EBC in January 2015. In particular, new guidelines for project management were agreed and will underpin the development of new projects.
- Among others, EBC Members and Partners discussed the following topics:
EBC’s involvement in projects should be subjected to specific criteria. For example, priority should be given to projects where EBC is the main partner, and all projects should involve patients in a meaningful way, in order to get a real capacity for impact. Also, great attention should be paid to the topics addressed by the projects in order to avoid duplications.
- Value of Treatment (vs.Cost of Non-Treatment): the EBC is moving ahead with this project, and will look to involve more stakeholders from EBC members and beyond.
- The visibility of the EBC on the European and national stages is crucial and this is notably achieved though the establishment of National Brain Councils. In this respect, the EBC is seen as an extremely valuable resource, as it tends to federate the many bodies working on brain topics on national levels. As such, it must assert itself as a preferred interlocutor on the “brain space”. It is EBC’s duty as a unique co-ordinating body to be proactive towards the stakeholders and the EU agenda regarding brain-related issues. It is for these reasons that a Toolkit for the NBCs was endorsed by the Board of EBC. It was also agreed to organise a Capacity Building Workshop mid-June in Brussels where all NBCs will be convened.
- Concerns were raised regarding the current implementation of clinical trials. First, protocols for therapy were seen as not preventive enough, and protocols for diagnosis procedures are missing. In addition, patient empowerment was seen as crucial for populations to understand and take part in clinical trials. Finally – and this is a major challenge to face, Academia should provide for better and proper solutions in this area. Working in closer co-operation with the European Medicines Agency was cited amongst the direct priorities to address this issue.
- At the initiative of the Federation for all European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), a new Consensus Document on brain research within the EBC will be endorsed soon. More than a basic research document, it will enclose comments from all EBC member organisations, and a panel of 20 scientists will also be consulted to identify the current and future challenges to be faced by all fields in Neuroscience. The first draft of this document should be ready by the end of March 2015 for consultation to EBC Members.
- The communication strategy of the EBC is currently subject to an in-depth revision. The objective is for the EBC to take advantage of its unique position to be regarded as a trusted partner for the Brussels community. A questionnaire is being designed and a workshop will be run to examine and act on the results.
- Improving awareness on the treatment and need for research for rare neuro-pediatric conditions
- Further advocacy on issues of importance for EBC’s constituency, such the UN ban on Ketamine or the Off-Label Use of drugs
The Executive Director of EBC was extremely pleased by the enthusiasm and positive feedback during these meetings. In particular, the high degree of interaction amongst Members and Industry Partners was very much appreciated.
More information is available on request and will follow in the next issues of the Newsletter as projects and activities unfold.