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“Abemus President”: a short interview to the new President of EAMBES

During its last meeting on March 14th, 2011 the General Council of the European Alliance of Medical and Biological Engineering and Science unanimously elected Marco Viceconti as President. In the next lines we will try to discover something more about our newly elected President, his ideas and goals for the future.

Prof. Viceconti, who has a PhD in engineering, works since 1989 at the Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, where he is currently the Technical Director of the Medical Technology Lab. Since the beginning of his career he has always been very active in the international scene: he served as President of the European Society of Biomechanics, he is the Ambassador of the Virtual Physiological Human initiative, and he is the promoter and animator of community initiatives, such as  Biomed Town.

  •     When did you start to get involved with the Alliance activities?

I participated to part of the constitution process, so from the very beginning.  If I remember correctly, I attended the second meeting of the Protem group in Vienna, and then the constitution meeting in Ischia in 2004.  But my involvement became more serious in 2009, after I completed my mandate as President of the European Society of Biomechanics.  At the General Council held in Brussels in late 2009 I presented a proposal to restart the operations of EAMBES, called the “Resuscitation plan”. This plan was approved and the Council gave me for 12 months extraordinary powers as Executive Director. Since then EAMBES became a very important part of my professional life.

  •     Why did you candidate for the EAMBES presidency?

At the 2010 General Assembly many members’ representatives voiced the need to mark the re-launch of the Alliance with a new President, which would impersonate this new course.  As Executive Director with extraordinary powers, I was the most natural candidate. At the 2011 elections I was re-elected to the Council with a very large number of votes, and this confirmed me that I had the trust of our members, and that I had to return this trust by embracing my responsibilities. I am glad that also the newly elected Council shared the same trust, and elected me unanimously.

  •     What would you like to achieve during your mandate?

The first goal is to put EAMBES back on its feet.  The role and the prestige of this Alliance are unquestioned, and it is unconceivable that in 2009 we risked to disappear.  The Manager, the new Council, the work groups we established and myself are working hard to make sure that EAMBES returns to be a professionally managed organisation, with reliable operations, solid finances, perceived by its members as a collective asset.

Then, we need to position Biomedical Engineering in the European policies for healthcare and research.  The next framework program focuses on innovation and this gives us a great opportunity to pursue this goal, if we all work together.

  •     What are your personal strengths the Alliance can benefit of?

I am stubborn, and I am a fighter.  I am used to work under unfavourable conditions (all my Italian colleagues know what I mean) making the best out of them.  I also really care about what my peers think about myself.

  •     What are the main challenges you think the Alliance will have to face in the next year? What do you plan to do to make it succeed?

Now that the business operations are back to normal, the biggest problem we have is financial.  In the last two years we used most of our reserves to sustain an intense policies activity that is paying back, but that now we need to sustain with new financial resources.  At the first Council after my election I asked every Councillor to come back in six month with a proposal on how we can improve the financial profile of the Alliance in the next 12 months.  We are in the middle of an intense discussion, and I am optimist.

  •     What potentialities do you see in the new Council?

I think the seven colleagues that serve with me in the 2011 Council are probably the best possible team I could imagine.  They represent the diversity of our Alliance, both professionally and geographically.  They are very experienced and smart.  They also express quite different styles, which in my experience is the best possible condition, once we learn to work together, which is already happening to a large extent.

EAMBES is back: professional operations, an excellent Council, some strong ideas for the future.  With the support of our members, this is all we need to succeed!

Marco Viceconti, EAMBES President

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