Message from Prof Carmen Sandi, FENS President, to Neuroscience Ireland:
The 20th anniversary FENS Forum of Neuroscience in Berlin was by all accounts a great success. Gathering close to 7,400 attendees, and with more than 4,000 posters, the Forum in Berlin surpassed any previous FENS meeting. On these grounds, I would like to acknowledge the excellent support and partnership from the Neuroscience Ireland. A high number of European delegates attended the Forum and the FENS office will soon provide more information about the precise breakdown of FENS members per country that attended the Forum.
As discussed in Berlin, I would like to draw your attention to some important recent developments related to the preparations of the new European framework programme (provisionally entitled Horizon Europe). The most recent budget proposal from the European Commission disappointingly proposes a decrease in the proportional allocation for the health cluster in the Framework Programme. With a 12% allocation under FP7, and 10% in Horizon 2020, the proposed allocation in Horizon Europe is now only 8%.
Reductions in the budgetary allocations to the health cluster will affect all biomedical sciences, including European funds for brain research. FENS, in collaboration with the European Brain Council (EBC), has therefore signed a strong message to European policymakers calling for a redistribution of the budget with the aim of strengthening the health cluster that is part of the “Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness” pillar.
I warmly encourage you to share this statement, which is available on the EBC website and, if relevant, to reach out to your national members of the European Parliament in order for them to raise this issue with the European Commission. FENS, in collaboration with the EBC, is currently approaching other European stakeholders to address this issue as broadly as possible. Your help at national level is very relevant and important.
On a related note, as discussed during the Governing Council meeting in Berlin, the EBC Brain Mission ‘Understand, Fix and Enhance‘ is a document that has been developed by the EBC in order to encourage a special focus on the brain as one of the approximately 8-10 special missions under the new framework programme.
I am pleased to attach this brain mission here and warmly invite you to also use this document in your national advocacy efforts during the remainder of 2018 and early 2019.
Again, I would like to thank you for your support of FENS and I look forward to working with you during the coming years.