Steering Group meeting

ESF EuroCleftNet Meeting – 4 July 2012

Venue: Intercity Hotel, Bonn, Germany

Present: Elizabeth Mangold (Germany), Gareth Davies (ECO), Sarah Jones (UK), Jayne Wright (Syngenta), Carine Carels (Netherlands), Concha Martinez (Spain) Mike Dixon (UK), Michele Rubini (Italy), Peter Mossey (Chair).

Apologies for absence: Steering Group members unable to attend were: Annette Lohmander (Sweden), Bill Shaw (UK), Borut Peterlin (Slovenia), Rolf Terje Lie (Norway), Mario Merialdi (WHO, Geneva).

Correction: Firstly it was noted that a date on the agenda was incorrect with the next EuroCleftNet meeting being 21 September 2012, as opposed to 14 September 2012, preceding a Cleft Lip Palate Symposium in Glasgow on the 22 September 2012.

1                    The report from the Manchester workshop meeting of December 2012 was tabled and Gareth Davies described the progress with website development since the Manchester meeting. It had been agreed in Manchester that Gareth would pursue a website development strategy of mutual benefit to EuroCleftNet and ECO. This entailed the recruitment of an individual to revamp the EuroCleftNet website (and build on the previous Eurocran website) by hosting this as a prominent feature on the ECO website, and pursuing additional cleft teams and potential future collaborators. Using a revamped questionnaire appropriate information on their research activities and expertise will be collected, and participation in any future EuroCleftNet research initiative will be encouraged.

Gareth Davies, in consultation with Peter Mossey, Bill Shaw and Youri Anastasov (Bulgaria), have drafted the questionnaires which will be sent out from EuroCleftNet to all potential collaborators across Europe. The steering group approved this as being an appropriate approach to build up a comprehensive database of research skills.

2                    Bonn Workshop Report and feedback

Peter Mossey briefly summarised the value of the workshop in Bonn as being a very useful initial interaction between clinical and laboratory based EuroCleftNet scientists, and counterparts in industry / SMEs / user organisations. The meeting was held in the spirit of collaboration with positive endorsement of the idea that we should continue to work with partners in industry as we strive to pursue grant funding opportunities in Europe and beyond.

While a number of industrial partners had expressed an interest in advance, not all were able to attend the meeting and the feedback from the meeting will be sent to them and in conjunction with the above mentioned website development and building up of a directory of resources in research across Europe, it would be appropriate to pursue the objective of submitting a pan-European collaborative research grant application.

3                    Opportunity to engage with MEPs in Brussels Workshop 9 October 2012

It was noted that there will be an opportunity in October to host a workshop in Brussels and while the format has yet to be finalised, there would be an expectation that the agenda would be sufficiently wide ranging to appeal to MEPs across Europe, but would also be of value to our interests in oral facial clefting. We have approached a number of high profile speakers / personalities and a broad manifesto type statement should be produced by EuroCleftNet to underpin our mission and maximise impact. A mention of our desire to work with industry to optimise economic benefit for the EU may also be useful.

4                    Forthcoming EuroCleftNet Meetings

The next projected meeting of the EuroCleftNet Steering Group is 21 September 2012, the day before a major one day cleft symposium hosted by the Scottish Association Cleft Lip & Palate (SCALP). The outline programme for this symposium is attached and any of the EuroCleftNet delegates who participate in the meeting will also be invited to the Saturday evening ball.

The first EuroCleftNet conference will be hosted by Youri Anastasov, (in Plovdiv), Bulgaria between 12-14 June 2013. EuroCleftNet members were asked to put these dates in their diaries and this will be another opportunity to progress our agenda and continue our pursuit of including scientists from Eastern Europe.

5                    Finance Update and March 2012 correspondence

Extracts were read from the letter received from the ESF in March 2012 regarding the financial constraints within the ESF and the knock on effect this will have in administrative costs on all of the funded ESF networks, including EuroCleftNet. Our response was well received by the ESF and the implications of this will be to plan the budget carefully, and if so we should be able to fulfil the programme of events that we had planned. It should be noted that we do still have budget for scientific / research exchanges between units and discussions / applications for such exchanges can be sent at any time. It appears as though we will be able to deliver the Bonn workshop under budget, and Gareth Davies was optimistic that we could make savings on the (Plovdiv) conference.