January 2015

In 2010, the European Cancer Association (ECCO), the European Respiratory Society (ERS), the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) co-founded the Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe (BioMed Alliance). The BioMed Alliance, representing 21 medical scientific societies, including the European Society of Radiology (ESR) aims to promote excellence in European biomedical research and innovation with the goal of improving the health and well-being of all European citizens.

One of the core goals of the BioMed Alliance was to establish a European Council of Health Research with the aim to facilitate long-term planning and optimise health care delivery across Europe. The European Council of Health Research should promote a common understanding of how health technology assessments (HTA) can increase the cost/benefit ratio. In addition, the Council should also aim to coordinate research funding beyond Horizon 2020 and to ensure coordinated use of national funding for research. The ESR was a member of the Core Working Group to establish the European Council of Health Research. 

During 2012, the ESR sought dialogue with a number of medical scientific societies on a bilateral basis and in 2013 held two meetings gathering representatives of many of these societies to discuss potential avenues of collaboration on various professional matters of mutual interest. These meetings revealed an overall interest in collaboration. In 2013, the BioMed Alliance leadership suggested that it could potentially provide a framework for such activities, which could be preferable to establishing a separate alliance.

At the BioMed Alliance’s annual spring meeting last year, the ESR introduced the idea of establishing a taskforce on professional issues focusing on activities related to training, certification, CME, inter-professional sharing of expertise and good practices within the BioMed Alliance. The ESR initiative was welcomed by several members of the BioMed Alliance and was thus joined by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), the European Federation of Neurological Societies (EAN), the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS), the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO), the European Respiratory Society (ERS), the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the United European Gastroenterology (UEG). The ESR-led taskforce on professional issues held its first online meeting in autumn last year and will provide a report with a proposal on the priorities and core activities of the taskforce to the BioMed Alliance Board of Directors in order to decide on the activities to be undertaken.

Moreover, the idea of a European steering board on research has gained momentum recently. The European Parliament’s call for the establishment of a Scientific Panel for Health (SPH) for the strategic coordination of health research and innovation across Horizon 2020 (the EU’s research framework programme) represented an important step for the advancement of the health research agenda in Europe.

After being proposed by the BioMed Alliance-led SPH nomination committee, Professor Gabriel P. Krestin (ESR) was assigned as a member of the European Commission’s Scientific Panel for Health, which was established at the end of 2014.

For more information, visit the Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe website.