VPH meets with European Commission

On 26 August 2014, members of the VPH Policy Affairs Working Group (PAWG), met in Brussels at a crucial meeting with the European Commission’s DG connect and DG Research.
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The purpose of the meetings was to discuss how the European Commission intended to respond to the European Parliament’s motion for resolution on the eHealth Action Plan which recognised VPH as a successful eHealth initiative and called for its continued support.

Over the past year the VPH Policy Affairs Working Group has engaged with the European Parliament, stressing the importance of in silico medicine and the need for support for the VPH institute in European Parliament Policy.

  • In June last year, an event hosted by two influential Members of the European Parliament, Seán Kelly and Vittorio Prodi, introduced the concept of in silico medicine, reaffirmed the importance of research funding at a time when the entire Horizon 2020 budget was being called into question and stressed the need for recognition of the VPH institute as an example of a successful eHealth solution.
  • In the coming months, the European Parliament stood their ground on the budget for Horizon 2020, called for the budget to be increased to 100 billion euro and would not accept the Council’s proposal of a budget of 56 billion.
  • In January 2014, the European Parliament in an overwhelming majority, voted in favour of policy that would specifically recognising the VPH Institute as an example of a successful eHealth solution and called for the continued funding of related activities in the next Horizon 2020 work programme.
  • In July of 2014, 3 Members of the European Parliament, Seán Kelly (PPE), James Nicholson (ECR), Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu (S&D), representing different political groups questioned the Commission how they would respond to this political demand.

The purpose of the outreach with the European Commission was to explore how this demand could be reflected, to update the Commission on the work done so far by the institute and to seek their support in the next work programme. The first meeting of the day was with DG Connect.  A large delegation of DG Connect, composed by 12 representatives, was present, including the Directors Paul Timmers and Peteris Zilgavis. 

The outcome of the meeting with the European Commission was extremely productive. It was not limited to just the need for funding for in silico medicine in Horizon 2020, but also covered issues such as the Data Protection Regulation and the threat it poses to health research in the EU, the lack of validation of in silico models by the EMA, and the need for greater collaboration to ensure that EU funded initiatives such as VPH can reach their full potential. 

After one and half hour of discussions, Paul Timmers concluded the meeting by stating that DG connect believes in VPH and summarizing the action points for VPH that should allow DG connect to play a more active role in the support of VPH on all fronts. In particular the VPH Institute was asked to provide further inputs on:

  • The current activities and the strategic plan for industrial outreach
  • The VPH Institute view on the data streams, in particular the main barriers and rives to enter the big data field
  • Examples of success stories where in silico can replace certain in vitro/in vivo tests
  • Examples of how data protection regulation can threaten research
  • Information on strategy in pursuing validation
  • Examples of cases for policy where DG connect can weigh in on behalf of VPH

In addition VPH was also invited to participate in the online survey on the next work program (http://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/SC1_2016-2017).

The second meeting of the day was with the representative of DG Research Karim Berkouk. Karim Berkouk was also shown the Parliamentary Question, which questioned the EC plan to further support the development of ‘in silico’ models and methods in Horizon 2020. Berkouk confirmed DG Research was willing to help with a call for clinical validation of in silico tools, VPHi will now work on a draft call text on this subject to propose to DG research. 


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Date: 24/09/2014 | Tag: | News: 305 of 689
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