As the term of the Executive Committee is close to its end (there are three-year terms for each Executive Committee), we decided to present a “bird’s eye view” of the future of the College.
The consensus among almost all of the members of the Executive Committee was that we are on the verge of dramatic changes. The tightening up of regulations regarding the support that medical practitioners can get from the industry, along with the shutdown of many CNS pipe-lines, has had – and will have – a significant impact on the way we operate. Hence adaptations and innovations should be the rule rather than the exception.
One of the strengths of the College is its annual meeting, hosting about 6,000 participants from over 100 countries. Year after year it is one of the hallmarks of ECNP. Along the lines of adapting to change, questions have been raised about the future of international congresses in an environment that is becoming more price-sensitive and heavily regulated. In an attempt to make the ECNP Congress more compact and efficient – and save our participants time and money – we will introduce a new format in Berlin next year that removes the half day on Wednesday and reduces the congress to four days.
The basic concept of the College is that it is a multidisciplinary organisation – psychiatrists, neuroscientists, pharmacologists, psychologists, neurologists, epidemiologists and other disciplines are invited to join the College and to discuss together issues related to disorders of the brain and brain health. Many members feel that the current name – European College of Neuropsychopharmacology – does not properly reflect what the College is all about and think of it more as the European College of Neuroscience Applied. So while keeping the acronym ECNP, we will be referring to the College more and more with this tagline “neuroscience applied.”
The depth and extent of e-media on the consumption and spread of knowledge is yet to be fully digested. How to transfer the one-shot annual meeting, the one-shot annual Workshop in Nice or the Schools in Oxford and Venice to a sustainable long-term educational/teaching resource is considered by many to be one of the College’s major challenges in the years to come. The other side of this coin is how to foster a continuous social media platform which enables participants to extend and strengthen their network above and beyond the physical meeting.
Many members of the Executive Committee feel that the times when we isolate ourselves in the ivory towers of research and education have passed. It is becoming clear that we need to put the case for proper research, treatment and education of disorder of the brain on the agenda of the decisions-makers. Accordingly, open communication channels to the public need to be explored and developed.
These are some of the thoughts. There is much more that needs to be done. Your comments about the structure of future meetings, the new twist to the acronym ECNP (Neuroscience Applied) and other ideas that were mentioned here are very welcome.
On another note, there has been major progress in regards to the Medicine Chest. If you want to find further information about compounds that are likely to be available for you for research you can visit http://www.ecnp.eu/projects-initiatives/ECNP-medicines-chest
Wishing you a pleasant and swift return to work.
Joseph Zohar, ECNP President