October 2012

(Published in: ESRS Newsletter, October 2012)

ESRS EU Committee

Report on the activities: May 2012 - October 2012

Current Members (2012 – 2014):
Roberto Amici (Chair), Diego García Borreguero (Co-Chair), Marta Gonçalves, Damien Leger, Dieter Riemann

Previous Members (2011 – 2012):
Roberto Amici (Chair), Diego García Borreguero (Co-Chair), Marta Gonçalves, Damien Leger, Dieter Riemann, John Shneerson

The main aims of the Committee are: i) to bring the topics of “sleep” and “sleep disorders” to the attention of the EU in order to receive support for research and teaching activities; ii) to promote sleep-related issues from a political point of view at a European and national level.

In these past few months, the achievement of the EU Committee has been the meetings with Mrs Patricia Reilly, member of the Cabinet of the Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, and with Mr Philippe Cupers, responsible for Neuroscience within the Directorate General Research and Innovation of the EU Commission. The meeting with Mrs Reilly took place on July 16th 2012 at the Headquarters of the EU Commission in Brussels. An ESRS delegation, composed of the ESRS President and the two Chairs of the Committee, addressed Mrs Reilly regarding the need and urgency for EU investment in the fields of sleep research. The meeting was positive and interesting and Mrs Reilly gave a major contribution indicating Mr Cupers as the best target for our proposals and requests. Following this suggestion, the ESRS President and the Chair of the Committee met Mr Cupers on August 27th 2012 at the Headquarters of the DG Research and Innovation. The meeting was very positive and lasted for almost two hours. In particular, Mr Cupers was informed about the different research networks presently active in Europe on sleep-related topics and about the high degree of integration that has been reached among basic animal, basic human and clinical sleep researchers in the last few years. Finally, Mr Cupers was clearly addressed about the need of a specific call on sleep in the forthcoming Framework Horizon 2020, as occurred in the FP6 framework. Mr Cupers was very positively impressed by the presentation and declared to be available to support sleep-related initiatives in the near future. The powerpoint presentation which was shown in the meeting has been posted on the ESRS website under the heading Media/Presentations for the convenience of all ESRS members.

As future initiatives of the Committee i) a meeting with Mr Paul Harris, policy maker of the DG Education and Culture and responsible of the Marie Curie action within the FP7 Program, has been planned for October 25th in order to discuss with him about the need of more education and training in sleep in Europe; ii) thanks to the activity of the President of the Estonian Sleep Society, Erve Sõõru, contacts have been taken aimed at having a meeting with the EU Commissioner for Transport and Vice-President of the EU Commission Siim Kallas, in order to address him about the risks related to sleepiness at the wheel.

Finally, the project “Wake up Bus” is ready to be launched under the Coordination of Marta Gonçalves (President of the Portuguese Sleep Society and member of the Committee) with the EU Committee and the ANSS. The project is aimed at raising awareness among general public of the importance of sleepiness as one of the main causes of road accidents and should end with a one-day symposium on ‘sleepiness at the wheel’ at the EU Parliament. More detailed information on the project will be given in the next report.

Roberto Amici