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European Parliament Interest Group on Biomedical Engineering (EPIG BME)

Since 2015, the European Alliance of Medical and Biological Engineering and Science (EAMBES) started a stable collaboration with the European Institutions and in particular with the European Parliament through the establishment of the first European Parliament Interest Group on Biomedical Engineering (EPIG BME).

 

EAMBES is advocating for an increased involvement of biomedical engineers (BMEs) in defining European regulations and forthcoming research frameworks.

 

The EAMBES, together with WHO and EPIG BME, have organized a new meeting in the European Parliament to discuss those topics (European Parliament, 11th of October 2018). The draft agenda is here attached and the latest will be available at https://goo.gl/VMVbMG

This event will bring the BME community inputs, thought the most influential BME representatives form 4 continents (i.e., Europe, USA, Africa and Asia) via their scientific associations: the International Federation of Medical and Biomedical Engineering (IFMBE), International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP) and their umbrella organization the International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine (IUPESM).

The topics of the meeting will be two:

· How to maximally profit form the BME community inputs while design the forthcoming European framework for research (i.e., Horizon Europe)

· How to harmonise international regulation on medical devices and medical setting across these continents.

Five European Parliament Members will participate to the meeting, including Madame Neena Gill (S&D, West Midland representative at the Euro parliament for the Labour Party, UK), Lara Comi (EPP Vice-president from Italy) and Nicola Caputo (S&D, Italy), EPIG BME President.

From the European Commission, Mr Bernd Rainer (DG Research) will attend the meeting.

Ignatius Gomes, Secretary General of the “African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States Organization” will also participate to the meeting to discuss Africa-related BME topics.

The Warwick Biomedical Engineering (WEB) group, in the School of Engineering, is a proactive member of the EAMBES and had a key role in the organization of this event. Dr Leandro Pecchia, WEB member drafted the agenda as Chair of the EAMBES public affairs working group and General Secretary of the IUPESM.

 

This is another step in the ongoing discussion among the BME community, WHO and the European Institutions on emerging global challenges in healthcare.

In fact, EAMBES, IFMBE and WHO have been strengthening their collaboration with the European Parliament since 2016, when the EPIG on BME was created (https://goo.gl/ymSSWT). Since then, several actions have been pursued (e.g., parliamentary questions on BME, https://goo.gl/KJKZUu) and tangible results obtained. For instance, in 2015, as a result of EAMBES collaboration with the EESC (European Economic and Social Committee), for the first time the European Community journal stated that: “Biomedical Engineering is not simply a subset of modern medicine. Modern medicine predominantly secures important advances through the use of the products of biomedical engineering” (2015/C 291/07, https://goo.gl/873d2j). Other important exempla is the fact that, following EAMBES and European Parliament collaboration, BME profession is now officially listed as an occupation in the ESCO (European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations) database, while it was not in 2016.

Yet, a lot remains to be done. For instance, proper space could be given to BME, creating dedicated panels in European founding streams on excellent science (e.g., MSCA, ERC, FET etc.). Healthcare systems and patients would significantly benefit from giving BME and clinical engineers the proper recognition (e.g., recognizing BME as independent occupation in the ESCO database).

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