A symposium on biomedical sciences cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and the European Union (EU) will take place on 30 - 31 October 2012 in Dubai.
The symposium will be opened by His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research, and hosted by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of the UAE.
The Symposium aims to encourage further dialogue on Biomedical Science Collaboration between the European Union and the United Arab Emirates. This is a great opportunity to open doors for many levels of government agencies, commercial enterprises, academic institutions, and professional societies, as well as individual scientists and students involved in developing scientific collaboration.
The goal of the Symposium is to raise awareness of the necessity of interactions between three levels of coordination at the international level: scientific, regulatory and political. To optimise synergies in research activities, all levels must work together.
The objective will be, furthermore, to develop the potential for exploitation and cooperation from the point of view of standards, regulation, legislation, policies, funding and programme operation. The aim is to raise awareness of the importance of collaboration and how both sides can profit from enhanced science research cooperation. One aim of the meeting is to develop showcases in the field of diabetes to demonstrate how investment in research exerts a stimulus for innovation in the biotech- and pharmaceutical industry, which will improve healthcare as a net result.
On 2 February 2012, the National Research Foundation (NRF) hosted a high-level meeting in Dubai to study the potential of cooperation between the European Union and the Gulf States in establishing Biobanking resources and capabilities in the region. Enhancing bi-regional dialogue through a symposium event was the main recommendation of the meeting.
Common ground was established over the following priorities:
> Developing a Gulf Biobanking Resource: It is proposed that such a resource should be modeled on the EU’s Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI). BBMRI collects and shares biological samples in association with standardised medical information on national populations. It is a long-term project with a focus on complex diseases, such as diabetes and cancer that are caused by multiple genetic and environmental factors, and can be understood only by studying large numbers of people.
>Personalised Medicine: It is proposed that collaboration between universities in the Gulf and the EU’s IT Future of Medicine (ITFoM) can exploit the unprecedented amount of detailed biological data for individual people, and turn this information into actual knowledge that aids medical and lifestyle decision-making.
Within the bio-knowledge sphere, the symposium will also examine the scope for alliance in:
> Clinical Trials: It is incumbent upon investigators, when conducting experiments on potential new drugs, to ensure the highest standards. It naturally follows that commonalities between regions (in information sharing and means of data collection) benefits end-users greatly. The EU’s Clinical Research Infrastructures’ Network (ECRIN) will seek to raise awareness of the latest clinical trials’ legislative proposal whilst informing attendees of its impact on practitioners in the Gulf.
The symposium will then address the global dimension of Science Research Cooperation and consider opportunities for the Gulf therein.
Promising, but currently unrealised, research cooperation scope exists in:
> Science Policy Evaluation: Common empirical infrastructure and conceptual framework for all global science agencies empowers the ways in which scientific ideas are transmitted and adopted. A shared global understanding of the social impact of scientific investments can empower decision-making in the Gulf; and
> The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – example for a Research Infrastructure in Africa as model for the Gulf Region: Africa will be the world’s highest performing radio telescope. When completed, it will be able to survey the sky more than ten thousand times faster than ever before. Whilst demonstrative of a project with opportunities for Gulf engineers and astronomers, SKA is more broadly indicative of a portal towards greater Gulf-Africa cooperation on research infrastructures.
> Patents: This segment will deal with the patent system in general, benefits to industry and in particular how access to the information contained in patents can support technical innovation in all technical fields.
The Symposium will bring together biomedical science stakeholders to explore how a Gulf Biobanking resource can be developed, which would assist in establishing a key resource for top biomedical research that will also lay the foundation for innovation and improved health care base on the EU’s Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) model.
A special focus will be on Biobanking and Biomolecular resources and relating research infrastructures. Changes in eating habits on the Arabian Peninsula have led to an increase in the prevalence of obesity and metabolic disorders commonly observed in Western Countries. Research cooperation in this field can be of particular interest for both the European Union and the United Arab Emirates.
Registration will be opened soon
For further information please contact:
Vera Hörmann (ISC Intelligence in Science)
Dr Husam Al-Ulama (National Research Foundation)