Last week, the ECNP Executive Committee met for two days in Copenhagen to discuss new initiatives, to follow up on already established initiatives, to build strategic plans for the College’s future and to establish the composition of our committees.
This year, as part of our strategy for establishing more transparency within ECNP, we launched the possibility for members to self-nominate to conduct work in the different committees. To our great pleasure, we found that a large number of members had chosen to self-nominate, leaving us with the difficult task to select the ones needed. Many aspects need to be taken into consideration for such a choice, e.g., area of expertise, representativeness of career stages, nationality, gender, etc. For those of you who self-nominated but were not elected on this occasion: we were extremely pleased by receiving your self-nomination and hope that you have not been discouraged to re-apply at subsequent occasions. Formal notifications will go out in the New Year.
A theme that was particularly scrutinised at ECNP Executive Committee meeting was the value of the ECNP scientific networks. The ECNP Networks initiative started in 2008 and has grown since then; there are currently 14 networks and 5 transnosological working groups. The goal of the Networks is to foster European applied neuroscience by encouraging ECNP scientists to form active European research networks. Among other activities, the Networks collect, share and analyse clinical, psychological, biological and therapeutic variables throughout Europe in a standardised way, creating platforms for successful European grant applications. They serve to foster translational neuroscientific research in a specific area, obtain grants, and interactions with stakeholders and ECNP community. The Executive Committee feels that the Networks represent a highly valuable asset to the College and that more should be done to promote them, as well as to include relevant scientific areas that are not currently covered.
Whereas the current networks and working groups have been established bottom-up, it is believed that a more strategic and transparent approach would be to announce open calls. As a consequence of this, you will find the first open call for a new ECNP Network, 'Digital Health applied to the clinical research of brain disorders'. You can read more about it here.
Additional topics that the EC considers for Open Calls in the near future include the topics neurodegenerative disorders, epilepsy, depression and clinical data sharing.
Finally, let me take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who in 2019 tirelessly worked on ECNP committees. Your work is hugely appreciated and ECNP would not be the same college without your effort and enthusiasm.
I wish all our readers and members a relaxing, peaceful holiday season and a very happy New Year.
Gitte Moos Knudsen