IMI Stakeholder Forum 2019

On June 12 the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) Stakeholder Forum 2019 found place in Brussels, with the theme Brain health and disease in the digital era – 2020 & beyond. The aim of the meeting was to discuss and explore how new revolutionary health technologies can be developed, and how IMI Call topics can be built around this theme. Despite the rainy weather the venue at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels was filled with over 400 European academics, representatives from industry, policy makers, patient groups, clinicians, legal experts, ethicists and health economist to discuss and explore how new revolutionary health technologies can be developed.

After the welcome by Piere Meulien (Executive Director IMI), Luca Pani (Professor of Psychiatry University of Miami and Professor of Pharmacology at Università di Modena E Reggio Emilia) gave an inspiring presentation, underlining the opportunities that already available big data, digital products and artificial intelligence can have for medicine.

The rest of the day was filled with highly engaging and interesting thematic expert panel discussions. The morning focused on healthy lifestyles, prevention and diagnosis. While the first discussion addressed issues around how different stakeholders engage with technology, and reliability of technology, while assuring compliance with legal, regulatory and ethical requirements. The second discussion was centered around the potential of technology to support better in timely and accurate diagnoses. In the afternoon two discussions were held on treatment and care. I had the honour to participate in the discussion on care, in which Hilary Doxford (Dementia Advocate and former member of the European Working Group of People with Dementia) and her husband Peter Paniccia also participated. During this discussion issues of usability and acceptability of technology were addressed. Peter clearly illustrated the importance of having options to tailor technologies to personal preferences or (visual) limitations of users. Also the importance to involve people with dementia and carers as early as possible in the process of developing technologies was stressed. Hilary emphasised that any technology that could support people with dementia and their carers was very welcome.

The discussions were ended with a high level panel discussion with key stakeholders, in which Jean George (Alzheimer Europe) stressed to break down silos within and between projects to advance the field of health care technology.

Overall, the discussions regenerated a wealth of input for potential new IMI calls around technology and brain health and diseases. It is worthwhile to keep an eye on upcoming calls. For those who are interested, the video recordings of the IMI Stakeholder Forum presentations and discussions are available at

Henriëtte Van Der Roest – Department on Aging, Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction (Trimbos-institute), Utrecht, The Netherlands