Dear European Biomedical Engineers and Scientist,
it is an established tradition that every year the President of the European Alliance for Medical and Biological Engineering & Science (EAMBES) addresses all European biomedical engineers and scientists affiliated to one of the scientific societies or research institutions that are members of EAMBES, with the so-called "State of the Alliance" message, where we try to summarise the activity of EAMBES in the last year. This paper covers a busy 1.5 years of the activities of the newly elected council of 2012. Because almost the entire executive board was replaces at that time we had to face some difficulty in getting up to speed with some of the organizational parts. That is the reason why this paper covers 1.5 years and the elections for the new members this year were delayed and will take place in October 2014.
Let me start by giving a brief reminder of what EAMBES is, since we have new member institutions, and established ones probably also have gained new members. Most societies and institutions involved with biomedical engineering and science worldwide are affiliated to the International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE). In discussions within the Federation it was agreed in the early 2000s that the increased importance of Europe-wide perspectives required increased coordination for Biomedical Engineering (BME) activities in our region. Thus in 2003 EAMBES was established as a not-for-profit international organisation according to Belgian law, whose members were scientific societies or research institutions active in Europe. Today EAMBES represents 25 national and 6 transnational societies and 26 academic and research institutions, and through them around 9,000 biomedical engineers and scientists working primarily in research and higher education.
According to our statute, EAMBES aims to:
- Serve and promote Medical and Biological Engineering and Science (MBES) at the European and International levels,
- Foster, co-ordinate and provide added value to the activities of member organizations in MBES and collaborating, where appropriate, with national and international organisations, particularly the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE),
- Support and promote MBES education, training and accreditation programmes,
- Support and promote MBES research and development,
- Establish recommendations for the general responsibilities, organizational relationships and roles of those engaged in the field of MBES,
- Establish and maintain liaison with national and European governments and agencies
- Improve intersociety relations and co-operation in Europe within MBES and related fields,
- Encourage and assist in the formation of organizations in MBES where such organizations do not exist,
- Recognize individual and group achievements and contributions to the field of MBES.
The need for EAMBES to act on behalf of MBES at the EU level is growing and EAMBES has remained the only voice aiming to represent all academic/research MBES at that level which became evident by a variety of consulting activities for HORIZON 2020.
Probably the most important element of EAMBES action continues to be the Policy Affairs Working Group (PAWG). This working group is working to ensure that policy makers understand the opportunities MBES represents and increase support for our field so as to create more opportunities for our community. The working group holds a telephone conference every month, which every representative of a member organisation is welcome to join. PAWG has set itself three objectives:
- Position Biomedical Engineering on the EU research and policy agenda, especially for HORIZON 2020
- Strengthen the presence of EAMBES in the opinion-leading environment at EU level
- Develop a dialogue between EAMBES and key policy makers in the area of biomedical engineering
The Working Group has been very effectively led by the new Councillor for Public Affairs, Jari Hyttinen. The work of this group has also been supported by Rohde Public Policy, a public affairs company specialised in health and research-related topics, initially through its consultants James Kennedy and Ailish Tierney. Professional guidance has proven essential in understanding EU policy developments and power structures, identifying key policy makers and effective strategies to place MBES on the agenda and ensure that our members are involved in shaping policies and EU leaders can take well-informed decisions. This is the on-going task EAMBES pursues as its primary objective.
Further new activities of EAMBES were in the field of contributions at scientific meetings and conferences in the field of MBES, Furthermore, EAMBES is willing to organize a EUROPEAN Scientific Conferences in a 3 years interval. In 2014, a MBEC meeting will take place in conjunction with IFBME in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2014, endorsed by EAMBES.
Here is a brief list of the principal activities, with links to the relevant documents:
1. On March 27th 2012 EAMBES organised the Expert Policy Workshop on Biomedical Engineering at the European Parliament, hosted by the European Parliamentarian Dr. Thomas Ulmer (EPP, Germany). The knowledge and guidance of Rohde Public Policy was fundamental in making this event a success. The outcome of the workshop is strong and clear: Biomedical Engineering needs better formal recognition at EU level in order to receive appropriate support. http://www.eambes.org/news/report-on-the-expert-policy-workshop-on-biomedical-engineering; http://www.eambes.org/news/event-parliament
2. EAMBES has been closely monitoring developments on the new Medical Device Regulations. These have entered parliamentary discussions and we will provide input to ensure safe and ethical practice without stifling research. We are working towards alerting our members of the potentially major impact this could have and engaging them in developing a well-informed response from our community. Any input from our members is highly appreciated.
3. EAMBES position paper for Horizon 2020: Research in technologies for health and medicine: A comprehensive biomedical engineering approach for future personalized medicine and healthcare technologies (May 2013): http://www.eambes.org/news/eambes-publishes-a-position-paper-on-horizon-2020
4. Horizon 2020 is the EU research framework which will run from 2014-2020. Discussions on this began in 2011, where we submitted input from our community: Position paper on the "European Commission Green Paper - From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation funding". The draft papers were published by the European Commission and these are now coming to the period for Parliament for Discussion http://www.eambes.org/news/horizon-2020-budget-at-heart-of-eu-debate. We provided input in the form of suggested amendments to ensure the representation of BME in the documents, and await further news on their adoption.
5. BME as a topic is mentioned in HORIZON 2020 at the following parts:
• PHC 16 – 2015: Tools and technologies for advanced therapies
• PHC 11 – 2015: Development of new diagnostic tools and technologies: in vivo medical imaging technologies
• NMP 10 – 2014: Biomaterials for the treatment of diabetes mellitus
• NMP 12 – 2015: Biomaterials for treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
• NMP 3 – 2015: Manufacturing and control of nanoporous materials (u.a. for medical application) http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/opportunities/ h2020/topics/2530-nmp-03-2015.html
• FoF 10 – 2015: Manufacturing of custom made parts for personalised products (e.g. consumer goods and medical devices) http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/ portal/desktop/en/opportunities/h2020/topics/2189-fof-10-2015.html
• Not topic related: FET open (Future and Emerging Technologies):http://ec.europa.eu/ research/participants/data/ref/h2020/wp/2014_2015/main/h2020-wp1415-fet_en.pdf
6. There have been a number of meetings between EAMBES representatives, and EU policy leaders: Invitations to these and other meetings reflect the growing recognition that EAMBES is speaking on behalf of our community. Furthermore, EAMBES representatives have been invited to scientific and council meetings of member societies: (i) German Society for BME, Biomedical Engineering Translation in Brussels, June 26, 2013, (ii) European Society of Radiology, Vienna, March 9, 2014; (iii) Board Meeting of DGBMT in Graz, October 2013; (iv) Board Meeting of SLTB in Hannover, October 2013 and in London 2012.
During the last period there have also been a number of developments for EAMBES:
- At the IFMBE General Assembly in Beijing in 2012, the Council of Societies of the IFMBE (CoS) was established and is now chaired by EAMBES Secretary General, Andrel Linnenbank. The four regional group representative (RG-R) have been elected at the MEDICON 2013 in Seville: for (i) Europe-Africa Birgit Glasmacher, (ii) Larin-America Eric Laciar, (iii) North America Monique Frize, (iv) Asian-Pacific Yubo Fan. One of the tasks of these RG-R´s is to oversee that regional conferences are organized and of high quality. That our president is RG-R for EurAfrica and our intention as EAMBES to be responsible for the European Conference matches that. EAMBES looks forward to exploiting the synergies present and will continue to focus on its current priority in relation to EU policy affairs.
- An agreement between EAMBES and IFMBE has been reached, which clarifies the organizational relationship between our organizations, and we look forward to closely collaborating on our common aims. http://www.eambes.org/news/eambes-ifmbe
- EAMBES will be involved in scientific conferences in 2014. EAMBES will organize two sessions at the annual meeting of DGBMT in Hannover, October 8, 2014: (i) a session entitled EAMBES: Biohybrid Implants and Regulatory Affairs (Chairs: Birgit Glasmacher (Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany), Andrel Linnenbank (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)). (ii) A further focus session is dedicated to MDD with MEP Bernd Lange as speaker and chaired by EAMBES councilor Michael Imhoff (Bochum University, Germany). At the MBEC conference in Dubrovnik there will be a focused session in cooperation with the European Society of Radiology (ESR)
- EAMBES fellows have been elected and the Division of Fellows, planned in the Statute of EAMBES has finally become a reality in 2012. The presence of Fellows in EAMBES is bringing additional experience, insight and academic leadership into EAMBES, and will strengthen our work in representing BME across Europe. The next meeting including a fellows symposium and induction of new fellows is planned for October 2014 in Hannover, Germany.
As you can see, EAMBES has had a very active year. The growing need for EAMBES to make the voice of Biomedical Engineering heard by European policy makers requires the voluntary contribution by its member institutions and its representatives. There will be new elections to the Council at the Hannover Meeting in October this year and we are especially keen to add new members to the Policy Affairs Working Group, which leads in ensuring that the voice of BME is heard loud and clear in Brussels. All EAMBES members can join this working group: please get in touch with our new manager, Marijke Lensing-Kooiman, who will be able to provide details on how to engage.
I am looking forward to your continued support on behalf of the Biomedical Engineering Community in Europe.
Birgit Glasmacher: President of EAMBES
EAMBES 2013: facts and figures
- 2014 delayed General Council elections: The call for candidate shall close on August 15st, even though late nominations may still be considered as the list of candidates will be finalized at September 7th. For further information, please contact the manager ([email protected] ). The election will be held by electronic ballot from the14st of September to the 1st of October 2014. (Only the representatives of the Institutions in good standing will have the possibility to vote, so please make sure to renew your membership in due time.) At the General Assembly meeting in Hannover 7th or 8th of October the new elected members of the General Council will be formally announced.
- 2015 General Council elections: The call for candidate shall close on November 15st, even though late nominations may still be considered as the list of candidates will be finalized at the end of January. For further information, please contact the manager ([email protected]). The election will be held by electronic ballot from the1st to the 28th of February 2015. (Only the representatives of the Institutions in good standing will have the possibility to vote, so please make sure to renew your membership in due time.) On the 2nd of March 2015 the new elected members of the General Council will be formally announced.
- Management: Marijke Lensing-Kooiman was confirmed part-time manager in March 2014 and she will take care of the day-by-day business of the Alliance. She will take over from the former manager Martina Contin. For any queries please consider the manager as your first point of contact: [email protected] or [email protected]; phone +31 757715071
- Public Affairs: Rohde Public Policy’s contract was renewed in 2014 with the goal of further positioning biomedical Engineering (BME) and health-technology on the EU agenda. Some important strategic initiatives will be developed during the next months in close collaboration with the Policy Affairs Working Group (PAWG), one among the others, the identification of BME success stories. Another initiative is the organization of an “EAMBES Multi-disciplinary Meeting to promote Biomedical Engineering Research for Medical Technology of the Future” at the European Commission. A clinical event at Parliament level highlighting the impact of BME for an advancing current clinical practice to the benefit of patients and health care demands.
- Web-site: SCS was re-contracted in 2014 to further implement the EAMBES portal in both its graphics aspects and operatives tools. The website is our first communication channel and the face of the Alliance to the public. If you have not done it yet, please register as soon as possible by contacting the Secretary General [email protected] If you face any problems with our web-site, please do not hesitate to contact [email protected] or [email protected]
- Newsletter: From May 2011, an EAMBES newsletter has been distributed on regularly bases to all the EAMBES representatives and EAMBES web-site users. If you wish to be included to the distribution list, please contact the Secretary General [email protected]
- Events: EAMBES governing bodies had several meetings during the course of the year, and the interactions will be maintained regular and assiduous also in the future:
- March 12th 2013, and March 11th 2014 in Brussels, Belgium: General Council meetings of the newly appointed president, councillors, executive board and General Assembly 2013.
- September 26th 2013, Seville, Spain: Informal Council members meeting at the XIIIth Mediterranean Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing 2013 (MEDICON 2013).
- June 2014 General Council meeting (held via teleconference)
- October 7th or 8th 2014 Hannover, Germany: General Council meeting, General Assembly, EAMBES Fellows Meeting and Symposium (planned)
- March 12th 2015 Brussels, Belgium: General Council meeting and General Assembly
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