Although the permanent offices of the European Union are based in Brussels, Belgium and Strasbourg, France, the Presidency moves around the 27 Member States, with each member country holding the role in rotation for a six-month period. From January to July 2013, it will be Ireland’s turn to do so.
In conjunction with the Irish Presidency, a European Epilepsy Forum – a collaborative research conference funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission, and organised by the IBE/ILAE Joint Task Force Epilepsy Advocacy Europe – will take place in Dublin from 25th to 27th May next year. The event also coincides with the European Month of the Brain in May 2013.
This will be the first conference on epilepsy research to be sponsored by the European Union and will, therefore, be a highly significant occasion. It will bring together, for the very first time, the key European stakeholders – including researchers, clinicians, epileptologists, neurologists, primary care physicians, basic neuroscientists, social workers, epilepsy specialist nurses, medical & postgraduate students, healthcare professionals, lay organisations, persons with epilepsy, health policy makers and government representatives.
The forum will have 3 key goals:
- more focused research funding
- the reduction of stigma associated with epilepsy
- pan-European access to optimal standards of care across Europe.
Six million people in Europe have epilepsy and approximately 300,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. This conference will build on the European Written Declaration on Epilepsy, which was signed by 459 Members of the European Parliament in 2011, in the promotion and co-ordination of research in this still much misunderstood chronic condition.
With Horizon 2020 – the 8th European Union Framework Programme – due to be announced in 2013, the forum will present the opportunity to highlight the need for increased funding for epilepsy research in Europe.
Details of the programme are being finalised and further information will be available at www.epilepsyresearcheurope.org.