Prof. Monica Di Luca
President of the European Brain Council
Prof. Wolfgang Oertel (WO): Dear Prof. Di Luca I congratulate you with your new position and kindly ask you to illustrate your plans for EBC’s strategy and work in the years to come.
Prof. Monica Di Luca (MDL): Being elected as President of EBC is a great honour for me as well as an important challenge.
This is an important era for EBC. Thanks to the excellent work of the past President David Nutt, the last 4 years witnessed the consolidation of our Council in the European scenario as the ideal platform where all voices related to brain research could find an interlocutor and could merge. We are now in the privileged position to start new projects and bring EBC to a next step. Our vision, shared with all Board members on the occasion of the last Board Meeting in Brussels, is to articulate EBC’s strategic plan in the three main pillars that reflect our capacity for outreach and engagement, that is to say: Political, Public and Public-Private.
These core activities fully reflect in our opinion the mission of EBC to promote brain research and brain health in order to improve prevention, diagnosis, therapy and care and thereby improve the quality of life of those living with brain disorders in Europe.
Each of these pillars will be articulated in key projects. To mention a few of utmost importance for us in the coming months are, working on the priorities and the structure of the future EU framework programme for research (FP9) as well as on the second edition of the Value of Treatment project.
WO: The European neurologists are founding members of EBC. How do you see EAN’s role within EBC?
MDL: European neurologists played an essential role in EBC since the very beginning. They were active as founding members and represented a source of support and innovative ideas since ever.
This has not changed. They are a very active member of the organisation that remains strongly engaged with both basic science and patients’ vision.
WO: The new EC framework, FP9, is well underway. How do you see EBC’s involvement in this new framework programme and what is your opinion on the FP9 funding situation?
MDL: As mentioned before, this is, in this precise moment, something extremely relevant for all EBC members. We have been particularly active in opening a dialogue with main figures within the European parliament and the European Commission in order to put forward the relevance to include at the highest possible level brain research in the newly generated FP9. The reason for this is unmistakable when considering the major challenge that brain disorders impose on our society.
It will be EBC’s main goal to advocate for brain research at large and to have our discipline included in the main Missions of the programme. To this end, we already launched a consultation with our Board members, including EAN, to identify priority areas of brain research that still need ongoing attention and support.
WO: Over the years, EBC has delivered important projects and results at the European level. Which mainstream projects do you and EBC prioritise to address in the near future?
MDL: EBC projects delivered in the last decade have been instrumental to advocate for Brain research at the national and European level. The outcome of these main activities, now included in the core action “Political outreach”, have been evident for all of us, as the overall funding of Brain research has constantly increased over the past 10 years.
This is why the EBC Board pays close attention to those major projects that will keep attention focused on our discipline. For the coming years, we would like to consolidate the success of the Value of Treatment project by including more case studies thus completing the vision on both neurological and psychiatric diseases.
EBC also plans investing in the update of a Return of Investment study. This study will provide us an important tool to defend brain research at all political levels and will allow us to update parts of the Cost of Brain disorders studies. It certainly is an ambitious project that we plan to start and support in the coming two years.
Dear Prof. Di Luca, I wish you and EBC all the best for the year to come and look forward to working with you!
Prof. W. H. Oertel – EAN European Affairs sub-Committee