Prof Marco Viceconti steps down from role of Executive Director of the VPH Institute.
Dear colleagues, dear friends:
In early 2005 some of us started to discuss a new idea that would then become the Virtual Physiological Human initiative. I find highly symbolic that at the turn of the 10th birthday of the VPH, I decided to step down from the role of Executive Director of the VPH Institute.
The VPH Institute itself is five years old; seems like a lifetime. In late 2009, the “VPH NoE vision and Strategy 2009” document described in detail the process for the establishment of the institute, process that started soon after.
I would like to share with all of you a private memory. When I was a kid, the book that had the greatest impact on me was “The Paul Street Boys” masterpiece of the Hungarian writer Ferenc Molnár. It was a classic children book in those years, many around 50 years old I am sure remember it. The book narrates of the epic battle between two groups of children over the grund, an abandoned lot. The part that I loved was the preparation for the final battle, where the whole group led by János Boka, the Paul Street Boys, work together very hard setting up traps, cutting lances, etc. What fascinated me was the idea that if we work together we can achieve the impossible; somehow that idea forged my personality, and now I realise it influenced all my adult life.
Those who know me well might remember the ISB Mesh repository, the BEL Repository, the BioNet network, all collaborative initiatives I promoted in the 90s. I served in scientific societies, I started Biomed Town, and I lost the count of the consensus meetings I run in the last ten years, between STEP, VPH-NoE, ARGOS, VPH-FET, Discipulus, and Avicenna. Looking back it was always the same: let us work together, so we can achieve the impossible.
The VPH Institute was my biggest collaborative effort: with many of you we planned, argued, worked hard, passed through euphoria and depression, but I am happy to say the grund is won, and today the VPH Institute is a solid reality.
A reality that now needs a much greater attention that I could possibly give it. It is time for the institute to have a professional management, and I am glad to say we found it. From January the VPH institute will have a new director, under whose lead I am sure the institute will grow and flourish.
And what will happen to me? I do not know; as a perfect Peter Pan, I will probably look for another Neverland, another grund to win over working together.
But if you come to a General Assembly of the VPH Institute in a few years time, I bet you will see Peter Hunter and me sitting in a little balcony, heckling “those youngsters”, and laughing between us, like Statler and Waldorf, the disagreeable old men of the Muppet Show.
A big collective hug, a Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.