Science has no borders
As a European research organization the European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS) supports skeletal research throughout Europe, as outlined in its mission statement:
Our mission is to promote excellence in research into the field of calcified tissues within Europe, and to ensure the findings are disseminated to enable benefit to patients with metabolic bone disease.
Since its inception in 1963 the European scope of ECTS has never been limited to the member states of the European Union and actually ECTS welcomes members from all over the geographical boundaries of Europe and beyond. In fact, the first meeting of the ECTS was held in 1963 in Oxford, 10 years before the UK joined the European Community. Several Annual Congresses in non-EU countries followed and amongst our Affiliated Societies we have several from non-EU countries – as we have individual members from non-EU states. Thus it is clear that the decision of the UK to leave the EU does not directly affect ECTS strategy to pursue its mission throughout geographical Europe.
With Roberta Mugnai’s appointment as ECTS Executive Director the ECTS office has moved to Brussels but legally ECTS remains a Scottish charity – how fitting in these days! At the same time, it is important to note that the UK is the country with the largest group of individual ECTS members and every year at our Annual Congress we witness the excellence of British researchers. We hope and we will actively assure that British research will have a platform at ECTS’s Annual Congresses and that our British friends and colleagues will be close partners in the future as they have been in the past 50+ years.
The EU supports research, development and innovation through several programmes, including Framework Programmes (such as Horizon 2020) and structural funds. UK science has been successfully imbedded in these programmes and even though the coming interim period will see some uncertainty how UK researchers can collaborate with their EU counterparts, it is clear that there are already a number of mechanisms in place that enable scientific institutions and researchers in non-EU countries to participate and receive EU funding.
It is however important to continue to emphasize to the EU and the UK government, and in fact to governments of all other non-EU states of Europe, how important such cross-country research opportunities are. Musculoskeletal disease does not care about political frameworks and it does not stop at borders. Resolving the many burning issues and disseminating the advances throughout Europe remain extremely important tasks for ECTS and Europe’s researchers in general. Both because of the ageing population and in view of the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of the younger generation our mission is more important than ever and we need all hands on deck to tackle this successfully.
President ECTS for the ECTS Board of Directors