With appropriate care and support, many people with schizophrenia may recover and live fulfilled lives in the community. In spite of this, recovery rates are still very low and people with schizophrenia live 15-20 years less than the general population, are often unemployed and show severe disabilities. A large number of variables contribute to this negative picture, including late intervention, poor adherence to treatment, primary and persistent negative symptoms, as well as cognitive impairment. The latter two domains are increasingly regarded as important unmet needs, predictors of poor functional outcome and key target variables for innovative pharmacological and non pharmacological treatments aimed at driving further change towards a more positive outlook for schizophrenia. The ECNP Schizophrenia Network aims at promoting research on both negative symptoms and cognitive impairment with the ultimate goal of improving diagnosis, treatment and outcome of schizophrenia.
The Schizophrenia ECNP network was created in 2009, by a pre-existing group of researchers named European Group for Research in Schizophrenia (EGRIS), which had already completed a large collaborative study, i.e. the European First-Episode Schizophrenia Trial (EUFEST) and had started a second even larger cooperative study on treatment in first-episode patients, i.e. the Optimization of Treatment and Management of Schizophrenia in Europe (OPTIMISE), funded by the European Community, and was in the process of designing a third large multicenter study, i.e. the European Long-acting Antipsychotics in Schizophrenia Trial (EULAST). Main achievements of the ECNP Schizophrenia network/EGRIS included the establishment of active collaboration among centers, dissemination of research instruments and methods, and a large record of publications reporting research findings from EUFEST and methodological aspects from OPTIMISE.
In 2014, the EGRIS group decided to continue as an independent research network, mainly due to difficulties in complying with some ECNP rules. Several EGRIS members, however, decided to keep the ECNP Schizophrenia network alive, to open it to several other researchers and design a distinct roadmap for the coming years.
Our Network actively seeks to have new member applications for the next year, when other members will be retiring.
In particular, we invited to apply Prof. Oliver Howes, who expressed an interest in joining the network, is involved in high quality research on schizophrenia and will enlarge our geographical representativeness (he is from UK, a Country which is not presently represented in our network).
We also wish to have new promising young members, particularly with expertise in preclinical (and clinical) research, and will invite other researchers, with a special attention to gender balance.