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mviceconti63
05-06-2002, 02:04 AM
Dear Biomch-l members:
The BioNet project aims to give the diverse and multidisciplinary facets of
European biomechanics enhanced coherence and thus make a significant impact
on the important current issues. This will be achieved by establishing
Working Groups to concentrate on the biomechanics problems that are agreed,
by consensus, to be of the greatest contemporary significance.
http://www.mk.dmu.ac.uk/bionet/

Central to the project was the BioNet Event, "Biomechanics in the Decade of
the Bone & Joint", which took place in Brussels on 27-29th April 2002. The
Event was a "one-off" forum for the strategic development of biomechanics
in Europe, and it was specifically designed to be different from a
conventional conference and to provide a unique contemporary view of
biomechanics in Europe.
http://www.mk.dmu.ac.uk/bionet/event_description.htm

The event was opened by welcome remarks of Prof. Franz Burny, on behalf of
the Free University of Brussels, and of Bernard Smith, Head of Cultural
Heritage Applications Unit, on behalf of the European Commission. These
opening addresses were not ritualistic, as Prof. Burny has been one of the
founders of the European Society of biomechanics and Mr. Smith voiced the
attention that the EC has for our community, also expressed in the reply we
received from the Commissioner for Research, Philippe Busquin.
http://www.ior.it/multimod/MBE_Europe/

The event was opened by several plenary lectures aimed at establishing the
cultural background. John Paul and Rik Huiskes reflected on the past of
musculo-skeletal modelling, while John O'Connor and Herbert Hatze
illustrated some of the possible future challenges. Because of the
differences in research interests, age and cultural background among the
speakers, this opening session was really useful in setting a basis on top
of which to build up the event.

In the afternoon we split into two parallel sessions with invited lectures
on musculo-skeletal modelling in 'Education and Clinical Practice' and in
'Medical and Industrial Design'. You can see the detailed list of the
speakers in the program on the BioNet web site. What I can say here is
that the quality of most presentations was impressive, and the two sessions
really set the state of the art of biomechanics research worldwide in the
area of musculo-skeletal modelling.
http://www.mk.dmu.ac.uk/bionet/event_programme.htm

The second day started with the 'Get it Off Your Chest' session. 15
statements were briefly presented by 15 speakers, and constituted the basis
of the discussion for the rest of the day. Most of the statements
originated from the discussions we had on BIOMCH-L in the past few months.
However, the list of statements was left open until the end of the first
Event day, to let all delegates to contribute to it with very basic aspects
that for some reasons had been ignored in the preliminary discussion. See
the link below for the final list of statements.
http://list.cineca.it/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind02&L=bionet_vrlab&F=&S=&X=28131918693C0E3
1F3&Y=viceconti@tecno.ior.it&P=256

In order to simplify the discussion, and to ensure that it would develop in
the most effective and inclusive way, we decided to group the statements in
the (more or less) homogenous discussion groups. Workgroup A collected all
statements related to the musculo-skeletal modelling and more in general on
research in the biomechanical modelling. Workgroup B focused on the
infrastructures that would make biomechanics research more effective and
useful. It collected all the statements on the sharing of research
results, as well as those on the need of establishing a virtual community
for biomechanics. Workgroup C collected statements related to several
specific contexts of biomechanics research, in particular ergonomy-safety
and biomechanics of biomaterials and tissue analogues. I have been told
that all discussions were heated but constructive. I chaired WG-B,,
together with Serge Van Sint Jan, and it was perfect. For sure, all topics
that had been discussed in BIOMCH-L proved to be easier to sort out. If
needed once again we got the confirmation of the usefulness of this mailing
list. The BioNet delegates acknowledged the work of the BIOMCH-L
moderators with a long applause during the final plenary session.

All delegates got back together in a plenary session in the late afternoon
and one reporter for each workgroup summarised the main conclusions. It
was agreed that the work done should progress by drawing multiple consensus
documents to be prepared soon after the end of the event. We shall keep
you posted when they are available. The Event was concluded by John
O'Connor, who provided a European perspective, and by Steven Stanhope, who
elaborated an American perspective. Steven made a terrific contribution to
our Event and provided us some very useful directions for the future work.
Steven, Tom Kepple, Krystyna Gielo-Perczak, and a few other colleagues
working in the USA had a key role in the success of the Event.

It was late when the Event was formally closed. I was tired and my brain
was spinning at 3000 rpm for the huge amount of information I got in two
days. But above it, most of the late attendees expressed a sense of
accomplishment, an impression that something of useful had been laid down.
Only the future will tell us if this is true or not. What I can tell you
right now is that I belong to a fantastic community, made of free souls and
positive thinkers (dreamers?). We just need more BioNet events to make
this evident.

Also, I realised that separating biomechanics in European, American,
Japanese, etc. does not make sense. We may be forced to play on separate
tables for research grants, logistic issues, and possibly for political
problems. But in the long run the only thing we should care of, as
researchers, is the excellence we can achieve as global community.

With sympathy

Marco Viceconti
on behalf of the BioNet consortium


ps: there are many follow-up activities starting up! We shall keep you posted.


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MARCO VICECONTI, PhD (viceconti@tecno.ior.it)
Laboratorio di Tecnologia Medica tel. 39-051-6366865
Istituti Ortopedici Rizzoli fax. 39-051-6366863
via di barbiano 1/10, 40136 - Bologna, Italy

Tiger! Tiger! Burning bright in the forest of the night,
what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?
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Opinions expressed here do not necessarly reflect those of my employer

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