The VPH Institute General Assembly took place on September 28th 2011 by the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. The meeting was productive and well attended: a great kick off of the VPH Institute activities!
The Virtual Physiological Human Institute for Integrative Biomedical Research held its first General Assembly the day before the VPH NoE Strategic Consensus (September 29th, 2011), allowing the participation of a large number representatives of the VPH community.
The meeting was chaired by Marco Viceconti, the Executive Director of the Institute, together with other members of the Board of Directors, such as Peter Hunter, representative of the University of Auckland and Nicholas Ayache, representative of National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control.
The meeting was designed to officially introduce the Institute to the community at large, but also to take some important strategic decisions which will influence the future activities of the Institute. The General Assembly also offered the perfect scenario for opening a two way communication channel with its membership, which it is now composed by over 50 member institutions, between ordinary and supporting members. Many precious inputs were given by the Assembly participants on the role and activities the institute should carry out: the suggestions will be included in the business plan of the forthcoming years.
The meeting was kick-started by Peter Hunter who presented the statutory process which brought to the creation of the Institute, and introduced its mission, vision and governance model.
Martina Contin, the Institute Manager, gave a presentation on the membership and communication services the Institute plans to offer.
Followed a presentation by Marco Viceconti who proposed the business plan for the first two years of activities (2011-2013). One of the most important decisions taken by the General Assembly was the level of the fee the ordinary members will have to pay from next year. The Assembly decided to set this figure at €900.
Marco Viceconti also presented the next funding framework - Horizon2020, recently proposed by the European Commission, looking at where the VPH Institute could fit into. He further detailed the activities undertaken from the incorporation of the Institute, such as the contribution to ARGOS position paper– an initiative whose aim was to foster transatlantic integration of the VPH effort in Europe and the US – and to the VPH Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Support Action Roadmap.
He also discussed about the involvement in the support action coordinated by Vanessa Diaz,called Discipulus,whose aims is to map the territory of the so-called “Digital Patient”, a new term that indicates the translation and deployment of VPH technologies into instruments that can be used directly by medical professionals, and the involvement into the Information Technology Future of Medicine (ITFoM), one of the six Pilot Actions based on large-scale, science-driven and mission oriented initiatives that aim to achieve visionary technological goals.
To conclude Viceconti reported the submission of the Green paper in occasion of the recent EC public consultation “From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation funding”, whose original text can be downloaded from here.
Another important discussion topic presented by Nicholas Ayache was the elections of the member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute, which are currently taking place. It is with great honour that the Institute announces the candidature of Denis Noble for the role of President: Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology, he is one of the pioneers of Systems Biology and developed the first viable mathematical model of the working heart in 1960.
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