Brussels, 20 Oct 2004
The European Respiratory Society (ERS) has called for respiratory diseases to be made a priority in European research.
In its position paper on the future of the European research policy, the ERS also proposes that basic medical research should fall under the European Commission's definition of 'basic research'. The society also states its support for the creation of a European Research Council (ERC), which, it has been proposed, would fund basic research on a competitive basis.
'Respiratory diseases are the second cause of mortality in Europe after cardiovascular diseases, and the annual estimated cost of respiratory diseases to society in Europe is estimated to be approximately 102 billion euro, mostly due to lost working days,' says the ERS position paper.
The ERS therefore calls for respiratory diseases to be considered within the major diseases group, and to be the object of a more targeted research strategy in order to contribute to the Lisbon process. Respiratory diseases are, after all, the second cause of mortality in Europe after cardiovascular diseases, and the annual estimated cost of respiratory diseases to society in Europe is estimated to be approximately 102 billion euro, mostly due to lost working days.
Commenting on the six major objectives outlined in the Commission's communication 'Science and technology, the key to Europe's future', the ERS supports the Commission's view that smaller consortiums should be given a major role in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), but expresses its concern that 'the possibility of launching technological initiatives may be limited to areas such as energy, transport, mobile communications, embedded systems and nano-electronics.'
'Medical research and more particularly respiratory research could engage in these types of initiatives,' states the ERS.
Welcoming the European Research Council initiative, the ERS calls for it to be 'independent, supervised by the scientific community and structured by subject lines, using a 'bottom-up approach' for the funding of projects. Medical research should be clearly identified.'
On the subject of making Europe more attractive to the best researchers, the ERS welcomes 'the concept of life-long learning and career development that has been included in this objective' and declares that it will aim to create synergies between the Marie Curie activities and its own research grants.
The ERS also embraces the idea of creating medical science databases with easy access for the European scientific community, as well as establishing links that would allow better coordination of national research programmes. To read the ERS' position paper, please visit: http:///www.ersnet.org/ers/show/default.a spx?id_attach=7479