The EU-Policy working group was formed at the EFMC workshop held in Frankfurt in 2013. Soon after its creation, the working group started a collaboration with EuChemS in order to jointly work on information activities towards European institutions and to increase the visibility of EFMC.
In partnership with EuChemS we organized the workshop “Solving Antimicrobial Resistance”, held in the EU Parliament in April 2016. In 2018 we organized a second workshop “Cause and Cure for Parkinson’s Disease” that was also held in the EU Parliament. The value of hosting these types of events is that it enables the discussions between the scientific community and policy makers. It also allows us to put the spotlight on challenges that EFMC believes are important and where Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology can play an important role in shaping the future.
The work in the EU Policy group took a new direction in 2019 when we joined the newly started European Science for Health (EurSci4Health) platform. This initiative started by EUFEPS aims to synchronize the activities of scientific societies at the European level and to strengthen and intensify contacts with the EU commission in heath related matters. This was a very good fit for the EFMC and together with EuChemS, APV, EPHAR, EUROTOX and FEBS, that together represent close to 200 000 researchers in Europe, the EurSci4Health platform was established. To promote its mission and to establish it as a platform a one-day workshop with the title “Science for Health: the Agenda for 2021-2027” was organized on October 16, 2020. This was a very successful workshop bringing together key lecturers from the European Commission, European Parliament, Innovative Medicines Initiative and EFPIA. Five parallel sessions on different topics were also arranged with invited speakers. This was followed by a discussion and a written report indicating some key priorities for EurSci4Health to work with going forward. Personally, I believe this is the right way to influence EU Policy. A large platform such as EurSci4Health representing many researchers in Europe can speak with one voice which is very important. Unfortunately, it is very reliant on a strong leader that has the energy and background to work on these matters and the right connections into the corridors of power. When the leader of EurSci4Health left for another job, much of the work slowed down in order to find a new person that could replace him.This has not happened yet and at the EFMC Executive meeting on September 2022 it was decided to close the EU Policy group and to continue monitoring the development of the EurSci4Health initiative.
Goals of the EU-policy group:
EFMC represents a research community that plays an important role in society. By providing tools to better understand the biology of human diseases and developing new drugs, chemical biologists and medicinal chemists can address issues that represent a huge burden to patients, families and social welfare. In particular, there is an enormous need for improved treatments of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.
Our recent workshop in Brussels “Parkinson’s disease: understanding the causes to find a cure” was co-organized with EuChemS, alongside Members of the European Parliament, and representatives from the European Commission and the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA). The workshop aimed to increase awareness of both patients and researchers needs, as well as review the latest understanding of the causes of the disease. Further information on this event is available in the press release, and all presentations can be viewed at https://www.euchems.eu/parkinsons-disease-causes-and-cures-workshop/
By participating in such activities, EFMC both supports the cause of patients and helps increase awareness of the need for research funding, and for policies facilitating the task of our scientific community to address these complex issues. Please take advantage of this event to share our efforts within our network, and let people know that EFMC really cares.