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By Biocat

A group of parliamentary advisors on science and technology from around Europe met at the Parliament of Catalonia on 22 and 23 October for the yearly European Parliamentary Technology Assessment (EPTA) meeting, which was organized this year by the Advisory Board of the Parliament of Catalonia for Science and Technology (Capcit) in collaboration with the Department of Health and the Directorate General for Research. Catalonia is presiding over the EPTA in 2012.

The event began with a meeting of the EPTA board, which among other issues chose Finland to take over the presidency of the network next year.

Yesterday, at the inaugural conference From genes to jeans: challenges on the road to personalized medicine, President of the Parliament Núria de Gispert told participants that “they have come to Barcelona at an exceptional time.” The event also featured Secretary of Universities and Research Antoni Castellà and Head of Research and Innovation for the Department of Health Marta Aymerich.

Castellà highlighted the importance of the Parliament having an advisory institution in this area and framed this in “Catalonia’s desire to have our own state structures.” Catalonia has a research model that has been in place for fifteen years now, with positive results, “not only do we publish 3% of all scientific articles while only making up 1.5% of the population of Europe, but we are also ranked third in the EU in terms of number of distinctions from the European Research Council per million inhabitants and have received 2% of all funds distributed through the 7th Framework Program. Now the challenge is for us to transfer this stock of knowledge to the economic system,” Castellà stressed.

Before giving the floor to the speakers, Marta Aymerich pointed out the need to address the issues, challenges and expectations generated by personalized medicine, the real possibilities for applying it, its impact on medicine in general and aspects like bioethics and sustainability.

The conference, which lasted all day, featured several figures from the science and research arena in Catalonia including Biocat CEO and President of the Council of European Bioregions Montserrat Vendrell, Dolors Batalla (Capcit), Josep M. Borràs (Catalan Institute of Oncology), Manel Esteller (Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute), Joan Rodés (August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute), Miguel Beato (Center for Genomic Regulation), Eduardo Salas (Gendiag), Manolis Kogevinas (Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology), Alicia Granados (Genzyme/UAB), Jordi Camí (Pasqual Maragall Foundation and Barcelona Biomedical Research Park), Ingrid Geesink (Rathenau Instituut), Oriol Solà Morales (Pere Virgili Institute for Health Research), Anna García-Altés (Agency for Health Information, Assessment and Quality), Antoni Plasència (Barcelona Institute for Global Health) and Pere Joan Cardona (Archivel Farma).

The EPTA brings together the science and technology advisory bodies and offices of the European Parliament and of the Parliaments of Denmark, Finland, Flanders, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, in addition to that of Catalonia. The European Council and the offices of the Parliaments of Austria, Poland and the United States are associate members.

The Parliament of Catalonia, with Capcit that was created in 2008, is the only one in Spain to have a body of this type. Catalonia and Flanders are the only two non-state bodies to be members of the EPTA.

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