View Full Version : Crossposting ------- Fw: [mbe_europe] A Letter to Mr. Busquin

Manuel Sotelo
12-12-2001, 07:38 AM
----- Original Message -----
From: Marco Viceconti
To: mbe_europe@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2001 7:06 AM
Subject: [mbe_europe] A Letter to Mr. Busquin

Dear All:
please find attached (bottom) to this message a first draft of a letter we
in my opnion, send to Philippe Busquin, Commissioner for research in the
European Commission.


I would like to discuss the opportunity of such letter and its general
content with the list core members (now 83 persons). If we agree on the
basic idea, after a first revision we may involve other colleagues.

I am not a native english speaker, so I shall not be offended if some of
you fix the language.

I look forward to hear your comments.


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Marco Viceconti
MBE_Europe moderator


Subject: An open letter from a group of biomedical engineers

To: Philippe Busquin

Commissioner for Research

European Commission


Dear Prof. Busquin:

We, European researchers and scientists in the area of Medical and
Biological Engineering, would like to express our disappointment for what
appears a lack of specific actions on biomedical engineering in the Sixth
Framework Program.

The Fourth framework program included a specific action for biomedical
engineering. This disappeared in the Fifth framework. However, it was
replaced by various key-actions in which the role of technology was clear.
And once again we found ways to give our contribution. Many of us are
playing fundamental roles in FP5 Quality of Life projects, on topics such as
citizens with disabilities, the ageing population, etc. We also saw many of
our proposals on the use of information technologies in biomedical
applications accepted under the IST action, and we expect that many of them
will produce a dramatic impact not only on the scientific knowledge but also
on the biomedical practice in a few years. Our involvement in the Growth
action was more difficult, as no specific calls were made toward the
biomedical industry. However, some very interesting projects on innovative
biomaterials and on measurement and testing of medical devices were
supported. Although we were initially confused, as most of our colleagues
from other fields, as biomedical engineers we are familiar with the
problem-solving approach of the FP5. We focused on the indicated priorities
and identified various scenarios in which biomedical engineering could play
a relevant role. As biomedical engineers we were already used to
multidisciplinary research; thus, it was not too difficult to establish
important collaborations with scientists from other disciplines, on a base
of parity and mutual respect. Thus, we did not complained too much for the
loss of the BIOMED II action.

Many of us were confident that the role of biomedical engineering would have
been acknowledged in the new framework program. Biomedical research is one
of the few research fields that easily conjugate social and economical
goals. The conflicting request of better healthcare at a lower cost has
more chances to be fulfilled by the adoption of innovative technologies than
by any other option. The truly European biomedical companies are struggling
under the competitive pressure of American and Japanese companies, whose R&D
efforts are very well supported by huge array of grant opportunities for
biomedical engineering research available in those countries.

Standing on the information currently available such great expectations will
be deserted. The whole Quality of Life action is bounded to disappear
replaced by a key-action specifically focused on genetics research. No
specific actions for biomedical applications were introduced in the IST new
key-actions. No specific RTD and TT actions in support of the biomedical
industrial were defined so far. The chances we have to leverage our
collective knowledge in the genetics-related research are much smaller than
in the Quality of Life. We are also concerned that in most key-actions we
could only play a support role to projects that must necessarily be leaded
by a genetics expert.

Yet, since the definition of the Sixth Framework Program is still a
work-in-progress, we hope that it may be possible to modify this situation.
Although what has been already decided cannot be changed, we call for an
increasing the attention to biomedical engineering in everything has still
to be decided. In particular we recommend the Commission:

- To establish a European Institute for Biomedical Research and
within it a Medical and biological Engineering Unit.

- To extend the concept of biotechnology to all technologies related
to biomedical research.

- To consider Biomedical Engineering one of the key-topics around
which to develop the European Research Area.

- To include biomedical technology outcome studies with the
so-called policy-oriented research, in the area Anticipating Scientific and
technological needs.

- @@

As Medical and Biological Engineers we shall purse in the next few months a
public and positive lobbying action in order to inform the European
Commission officers, the Members of the European Parliament and the public
at large of the important role Biomedical engineering is playing in the

We consider this as an obligation, not only toward our own scientific
community but also toward Europe. Biomedical Engineers may be able to live
without the European Framework Program, but we doubt Europe can live and
prosper without biomedical engineering.

Many of us see the European Commission and its research grants as
fundamental opportunity to have our work and our ideas acknowledged for its
inherent value, outside the logic of power lobbies and asphyxiating academic
traditions so common in some of the member states. We look forward to
continue this positive collaboration between our scientific community and
the European Institutions.

Best Regards

Follow signatures of all colleagues expressing support via e-mail

Marco Viceconti - Moderator of the MBE_Europe mailing list

Istituti Ortopedici Rizzoli, Bologna - ITALY

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