Tag Archives: FEAM

EU Directive ‘cannot be implemented in isolation’ Brussels roundtable agrees

At a roundtable discussion on the use of animals in scientific research there is overwhelming agreement that Europe has appropriate and detailed legislation regulating the use of animals in scientific research, that adapts to and encourages scientific progress.

Conclusions also show that successful implementation of the Directive is a shared responsibility. The round table identified opportunities to join forces and work together, as the Directive 2010/63/EU cannot be successfully implemented by organisations or individuals working in isolation.

At the meeting in Brussels, representatives from the diverse sectors within the biomedical community (academia, industry, research organisations, medical charities, etc.) and policy-makers discuss the recommendations of the European Commission review report of the Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

The objective of the roundtable was to  inform policy discussion in EU institutions and to identify recommendations for the users’ community on this basis. Topics under discussion were: the implementation of the Directive; improving openness and transparency; ideas for further areas to be tackled.

While the Directive represented progress the meeting agreed that focus is required on ensuring it is implemented in a way that focuses on welfare impacts, avoids duplication or unnecessary processes and shares good practices, in particular on issues where the scientific community can do more to deliver on 3Rs and quality of science.

The meeting was also attended by EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, who called on scientists to play a greater role in openness.

The meeting was chaired by Professor André Parodi, Honorary President of the French National Academy of Medicine and of the French Veterinary Academy.

About the FEAM European Biomedical Policy Forum
The FEAM European Biomedical Policy Forum provides a platform for discussion on key policy issues for the biomedical community.

The Forum is an initiative from the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM). It aims to bring together representatives from academia, research charities, industry, European and national trade associations and professional bodies, regulators, public health bodies, and patient and consumers groups. If you would like further information on the FEAM European Biomedical Policy Forum or becoming a partner, please contact silvia.bottaro@feam.eu

Supporting excellent biomedical science in Europe

The first FEAM European Biomedical Policy Forum annual lecture took place in Brussels, in March, dedicated to the topic Biomedical and health research: developing a vision for Europe.

The Forum is an initiative from the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) and aims to bring together representatives from academia, research charities, industry, European and national trade associations and professional bodies, regulators, public health bodies, and patient and consumers groups. Among the topics discussed were: thematic priorities for future research; linkage with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); research missions; current gaps in support; and how to improve coordination and consolidation of research programmes across Europe.

This  is  an  important  time  for  European  health  policy  and  for  sustaining  biomedical  research  and innovation. The forthcoming EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, FP9, provides a critical opportunity for stakeholders across the biomedical and health sectors to discuss their research vision and priorities for Europe, linkage with global goals, and defining approaches to closing gaps in support and to promoting coordination of effort.

Dr Line Matthiessen of the European Commission (DG Research and Innovation) provided valuable insight into the drivers for prioritising biomedical and health research objectives in FP9. These drivers include: the challenges facing society, for example in terms of health and care costs, inequalities and environmental factors; and the need to  promote  innovative  industry  competitiveness.  There  is  also  the  opportunity  to capitalise  on  previous  achievements  in  funding  programmes  associated  with  the  development  of human capital (including in cross-sectoral collaborative initiatives) and the paramount requirement to deliver impact.

Recent proposals to increase mission-oriented approaches in FP9 are very relevant to health research: successful characteristics of a mission orientation were illustrated by the work of a consortium on rare diseases in Horizon 2020 (i.e. the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium – IRDiRC). Increased impact can be anticipated if the scientific community and other stakeholders are mobilised to address shared goals.

High-level experts from academia, industry and patient groups then responded with their perspectives on the vision for  FP9.  For example,  there  were  suggestions  for  other  health  research  missions  with potential  for  EU  added  value  to  address  unmet  medical  needs  in  the  fields  of  dementia,  infectious diseases/antimicrobial  resistance,  and  mental  health.  Among the  many  significant  issues  arising  in discussion was an emphasis on the importance of:

  • Continuing the use   of   animals   in scientific   research.   Despite   progress   in   developing alternatives,  well-regulated  animal  models  are  still  needed  to  provide  biological  insight  and help to tackle unmet medical needs.
  • Continuing commitment to basic, discovery science (investigator – driven, bottom up ideas) at a time of increasing attention to translational science: ensuring a balance between mission-oriented and fundamental research.
  • Addressing the challenges of transdisciplinary in a culture where many academics still work in silos: this may require new incentives but is essential to enable innovation and deliver more integrated approaches to health management.
  • Harnessing the combined skills of academia and industry in partnerships that will also include health services and patients. There is considerable scope to facilitate all stakeholders working together to identify research   priorities and clarify research design, increasing patient representation throughout research. Scientific and clinical communities must augment their efforts to engage with patients and the public to understand their priorities for unmet medical needs.
  • Exploring how to improve collaboration  across  the  large  part  of  health  research  that  is currently organised and funded at a national level. The proposed European Council for Health Research may help in underpinning coordination and synergy,  and act as a single point of entry for all health research. There is a broad agenda for co-ordination in addition to funding. There  will  be  new  challenges  for  maintaining  the  essential mobility of scientists and  their families  and  for  building  multilateral  partnerships  in  Europe. Education  and  training  must incorporate   the   acquisition of  new  complementary skills for researchers and health professionals,  for  example transdisciplinary and  the  capacities for interpreting and  using large data sets.
  • Developing future healthcare systems for people-centred quality care with the focus shifting to health rather than disease and entailing new understanding of multimorbidity and of early pathogenesis. Among the requirements, this transformation calls for renewed commitment to digital health and digital infrastructure, with implications for training and research.

End