Work in the Sun

Guest post by Paul Carlin of South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust

Dissemination is a key output from any project, be that research, service evaluation, service improvement or service development. With that notion in mind I took flight literally, initially to Vienna, followed in quick succession by Athens, to present the ideas and current progress around the MIDAS project.

I presented in Vienna at the 2nd International Annual Congress on Clinical Trials. This audience consisted primarily of companies active within the pharma and technology spheres, allowing me to offer some insight into how MIDAS is creating technologies, frameworks and environments that meet regulatory, good practice, user design and operational needs within a policy setting environment. There were other topics that offered information on regulatory need and methodological approaches, so the MIDAS project, whilst perhaps focused around Government policy outputs, clearly contributed to the conference and proceedings.

The environment and audience in Athens was certainly different, and perhaps, more closely aligned with the outputs of MIDAS.  The 6th Hellenic Forum For Science, Technology & Innovation, held at the National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”, brought together an expert audience drawn from academia, politics/policy and industry to explore Precision Medicine, with sessions targeted at the PM 18 call within Horizon 2020, with contributions from industry, politicians and senior academics. As a member of the MIDAS team I presented both the project overview and outputs to date, as well as, on ethics governance and good practice, particularly with regards to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

What was noticeable was the openness of all those involved to learn and understand from each other’s work, and the obvious enthusiasm that attendees had for looking beyond simple organisational need or indeed national need,  in utilising large heterogeneous data sets to understand and meet the health needs of European citizens going forward.

It evidenced the strength of the H2020 program, and also the collaborative drive that senior academics, politicians and industry have to meet the demands of health care delivery systems within this type of program.

Across nations we appear to face similar, if not the same problems in regards to health care needs and provision, and the idea of a core approach, that offers the chance to explore, create evidence and develop meaningful solutions that can be adopted by our citizens speaks to a wider vision, rather than the narrow ideologies that focus on the individual national interest above all else, Brexit anybody?

One wonders how citizens of the UK will fare if we have limited access to H2020 in the short term and Horizon Europe in the longer term?

I would like to offer my gratitude to all those who helped me at both of these presentations, but in particular my European colleagues at the Greek event, who created an environment that encouraged dissemination and understanding and will, I hope lead to ongoing collaborations.