December 2015

Published in ESRS Newsletter December 2015


Dear ESRS and ANSS members, Colleagues and Friends,

We are living in a difficult world exposed to various threats ranging from horrific terrorist attacks to dramatic climate changes, threats relayed and amplified by modern mass media. All these situations require pondered and appropriate decisions that neither underestimate nor overemphasize the problems at stake. As we all know in the sleep research and sleep medicine community, a well-rested individual makes far better decisions than a sleep-deprived one, whose brain efficiency is altered. As a European Sleep Research Society, our main aims are to better understand sleep and its functions, promote a better state of health and advocate the optimized treatment of sleep disorders in the general and clinical populations. We should probably also take further actions to promote a sleep-respectful lifestyle for the decision makers that are shaping the future of our societies. It is our responsibilities here to contribute to popularize the sleep field and our knowledge, and to try to give sleep the right place it deserves as the state that occupies close to one third of our lifetime!

We are now at the gates of the winter holiday season, with its traditional series of gifts and aspirations. The ESRS board offers its warmest wishes to all of you for a peaceful and successful 2016. And since nobody can avoid being aware of the last Star Wars movie release, let's be in the mood. May The Sleep Be With You!

As usual, the European Sleep Research Society has been very active since our last newsletter.

First, we have organized the "Sleep and Health" WorldSleep 2015 meeting hosted by the ESRS. In spite of the Election Day in Turkey, and unfavorable rumors, more than 1100 participants gathered in the beginning November in the beautiful city of Istanbul for a successful and scientifically high-level meeting. We warmly thank here all those of you who make the tremendous contributions that helped in making this meeting a memorable event. We especially thank the Turkish Sleep Medicine Society and its Board for their warm welcome. This meeting effectively finalizes the long-term challenge accepted by the ESRS nearly five years ago, with the organization of what became, in the meantime, the last world meeting of the World Sleep Federation. A new world society is now forming, gathering the World Sleep Federation and the World Association of Sleep Medicine. The ESRS wishes this new World Sleep Society good luck and success in its future activities.

The WSF2015 meeting just concluded, no leisure time is allowed. Indeed, we concentrate now on the organization of the main ESRS event, the 23rd Congress of the European Sleep Research Society in Bologna, Italy. It will be held 13-16 September 2016; mark the date! To prepare for this meeting, the Scientific Committee, the Local Organizing Committee with the Italian Association of Sleep Medicine, and the ESRS Board met in Bologna at the end of November. Capitalizing on lessons from past meetings, we have finalized a state-of-the-art program with parallel tracks that will ensure a fair representation of all sleep domains and make sure that your interest will be kept alive all throughout the day! Proving again the scientific dynamism of ESRS members, we received 55 excellent Symposia proposals, out of which only 26 could be accepted. As usual, it means pleasure for the speakers accepted in the Symposia but some degree of frustration for others. Please be aware that all proposals were much appreciated and that a refusal does not represent in any way a lack of interest in your work. Rather, we sincerely hope to receive your abstracts for consideration in the oral and poster sessions. And if you were present in the Tallinn or Istanbul meetings, you should by now be aware that our attractive snacks-and-drinks poster sessions are both enjoyable and scientifically productive!

Abstract submission and registration for Bologna will open soon, and the call for travel grants is already in this newsletter. Travel grants are aimed at helping early career researchers to participate in scientific events, gain knowledge and last but not least create new relationships with colleagues. You must know that amongst other activities, the Early Career Research Network initiated at the Tallinn 2014 meeting organizes a promising Early Career Day in the Bologna 2016 meeting, where all early career scientists are invited. Recognizing the important role that this group should and will play in our Society, I also invited a representative of the ECRN executive committee to chair with me the now traditional Young Scientist Symposium, which will take place at the Opening Ceremony. 

Other very important events for the future and development of sleep science and sleep medicine are the upcoming 5th Examination of the Certification in Sleep Medicine and 3rd Examination of Certification in Sleep Medicine for Sleep Technologists, to be held during the Bologna meeting. The organization of the sleep medicine examinations is now taken over by the ESRS Education Committee, headed by the ESRS assistant secretary Tiina Paunio, while the Sleep Medicine Committee, chaired by Thomas Penzel, now works on other missions toward the recognition of Sleep Medicine and accreditation of sleep medicine centres in Europe. The ESRS board wants to take the opportunity here to express its gratitude and deepest thanks to Thomas Penzel for his tremendous work over the past years and the exemplary way he set up and developed the ESRS Sleep Medicine examination. With 342 ESRS somnologists now certified at the European level, we demonstrate the unity and coherence needed to promote the recognition of sleep medicine in all European countries. Another way you can push the sleep domain further is to register yourself as an expert evaluator for the evaluation of the projects funded by the European Commission projects. Not only will you gain better insights on how to make a successful proposal, but you will also be in a good position to promote sleep-related projects, so do not hesitate!   

As for future events, it is also my pleasure to inform you that the ERS and ESRS decided to organize a 4th edition of the joint ERS-ESRS Sleep & Breathing conference in the March-April 2017 period (location to be determined). After the success of the Prague, Berlin and Barcelona meetings, the ERS and ESRS recognize the utmost scientific and educational interest of this joint meeting, and we are glad to continue this collaboration.

And in a few months, already before the Bologna meeting, we will hold the annual meeting of the ESRS Association of National Sleep Societies (ANSS) in Bruxelles in April of 2016. As usual, this meeting will generate fruitful discussions and exchanges between the ESRS board and the presidents of the ANSS. It will also be the opportunity for a meeting with EU officers, organized by the ESRS EU Committee and its chair, Roberto Amici. We also continue in this newsletter our spotlight focus on National Sleep Societies with an interview of Dr Michaela Gjerstad, president of the Norwegian Sleep Association (NSA).

In this newsletter, you will also find reports of the European Insomnia Network and of the European Narcolepsy Network. We are glad see that both are dynamic and in good shape! 

And last but not least, I welcome here the 54 new members who joined us since the last newsletter. You are more than welcome, and I sincerely hope you will find interest and support in your novel society!

I invite you to enjoy this December 2015 issue of the ESRS Newsletter. And do not forget to visit the ESRS website, which is continuously updated.

Do not hesitate to contact me, or any member of the board with any remarks and/or suggestions, which will be most welcome.

Sleep well and keep safe!

Sincerely yours,

Philippe Peigneux
ESRS President