In February 2013, EFMC organised a workshop bringing together EFMC’s key stakeholders including the Council, the various committee members and the next generation of leaders, to engage in a dialogue about strategic initiatives EFMC needs to push, to best serve the medicinal chemistry community in Europe and across the world.
The stimulating discussions were very fruitful. Ideas came up, proposals were collected and working groups have been established, translating creativity and lateral-thinking into concrete actions.
As a result we established 8 working groups which were asked to come up with concrete proposals for implementation. The topics selected were:
The achievements of these working groups have been regularly reviewed. Good progress was made. Some working groups made proposals that were turned into concrete activities, some working groups are developing further recommendations, while others completed their mission and were closed.
Below is an update on the progress made in 2017:
1. Strategic themes
Influence on European science policy
EFMC started a collaboration with EuCheMS to be involved in political activities on an EU level. This collaboration took the form of a STOA Working Breakfast which happened on April 28, 2016 in Brussels and covered the topic: Solving Antimicrobial Resistance. Researchers and several Members of the European Parliament analysed the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance and weighted the pros and cons of possible solutions.
Following the success of this first STOA working breakfast, EFMC and EuCheMS have initiated the preparation of a second STOA Working Breakfast in 2018. The topic will be “Neurodegenerative diseases”, with a particular focus on Parkinson’s disease.
Visibility and recognition of medicinal chemistry
The working group was highly motivated to raise the visibility and awareness of Medicinal Chemistry to the broader community and to the general public. Several press conferences were held during the EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry. Despite some success stories, the impact of these press conferences was not as broad as initially hoped for, and it was decided to discontinue this effort. The working group also organized a video competition entitled “Why Medicinal Chemistry”, which was a success with multiple submissions. Medicinal chemists were invited to explain what they do and why it is important, in the format of an original video, and these are now available on YouTube. The Visibility working group is also planning to send a joint application with the European Young Chemist Network of EuCheMS, for the next European Researcher’s night.
The EFMC will pursue this effort and launch a photo contest for 2018, in connection with the 5th edition of the Young Medicinal Chemist Symposium. This activity will be driven by the newly created “Communication Team 2.0”.
Social media working group
EFMC expanded its presence on LinkedIn and Twitter (@EuroMedChem), with a specific LinkedIn group for the EFMC-ISMC Symposium series (EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry on LinkedIn). You are invited to join the group to stay updated with the latest news concerning the upcoming EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry in Ljubljana. To better link with the community, the EFMC is now also present on Facebook. Look for the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry page to stay in touch.
The social media presence of the EFMC being now fully established, the working group has been incorporated to the newly created “Communication team 2.0”. We thank Stuart Conway for his pioneering work in bringing the EFMC to the social media sphere.
Communication team 2.0
The Communication Team has recruited new members among the younger generation, via a call for volunteers spread through all EFMC communication channels, and during the Young Medicinal Chemist Symposium held in Vienna in August 2017. Several motivated candidates applied, and the 2.0 version of the Communication Team was officially established at the end of 2017.
In addition to running and developing the traditional communication tools of the EFMC (website, mailing, e-newsletter MedChemWatch, and the annual Yearbook), the Communication Team will now take over some of the tasks of the “Visibility and recognition of Medicinal Chemistry” working group, and run communication campaigns and actions to reach the scientific community and the general public. One of the campaign will be a photo contest, to be launched in 2018.
The EFMC anticipates that the Communication Team can also be the catalyst for a broader network for Young Scientists, which will be linked to the increasingly successful EFMC-Young Medicinal Chemist Symposium series.
Short Courses team
The team has selected topics for future editions of the EFMC Short Courses and ensures their organization. Info on the upcoming Short Course on therapeutic peptides can be found on the website www.efmcshortcourses.org
The EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ISMC), EFMC Young Medicinal Chemist Symposium (EFMC-YMCS), EFMC International Symposium on Advances in Synthetic and Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ASMC), and ACSMEDI-EFMC Medicinal Chemistry Frontiers will continue to be managed by dedicated organising committees. The President, Secretary and Secretariat oversee and coordinate the overall meeting planning.
EFMC supports the participation of young medicinal chemist to its symposiums with travel grants.
The EFMC Council decided in 2016 to increase and reshape the EFMC support to young medicinal chemist by offering grants covering the complete registration for the EFMC-ISMC, EFMC-ASMC and the ACSMEDI-EFMC Medicinal Chemistry Frontiers Meeting.
Links to other disciplines
Following the recommendations of the Advisory Board, the Executive Committee of the EFMC decided to reactivate this working group, transforming it into a task force that had the goal to evaluate opportunities and initiate contacts with neighboring disciplines.
The result of their analysis was that the closest discipline, actually already part of a broader definition of medicinal chemistry, is chemical biology. Both share overlapping interests in using synthetic tools to explore and influence biological systems. The working group advised the EFMC to focus its efforts on better recognizing the extended scientific community forming the continuum of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry.
A proposal was made to the Council of the EFMC, to formally include Chemical Biology in the scope of the EFMC, and to strengthen the interaction between the two disciplines. The support was unanimous and the taskforce is now implementing this recommendation.
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