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4th Forum of European Neuroscience

Final Report Summary - FENS Forum 2004 (4th forum of European neuroscience)

The general objective of the FENS FORUM 2004 project was the organisation of the fourth forum of European neuroscience that was held in Lisbon on 10-14 July 2004.

The specific objectives of the project were:
- to contribute to the advance of neuroscience research, especially in Europe, by bringing together experts from all over Europe, as well as from other continents, to present and discuss with their peers their latest findings;
-to promote education in neurosciences, facilitating the participation of young researchers and PhD students, by providing specially reduced registration fees, grants and stipends, and organising one workshop on education in neuroscience in Europe;
- to boost the establishment of collaborations and scientific networks between laboratories all over Europe, including eastern European countries; special grants and stipends for participants from those countries will also be available;
- to raise public awareness of brain research by disseminating to the general public the most relevant findings presented at the forum, and by promoting a special symposium on 'public awareness of brain research'.
- to transfer the knowledge obtained with the organisation of the forum to the organisers of the next forum and to fens, by organising an one-day discussion meeting after the end of the forum and producing an organisational report.

Each session room was equipped with a video projector, computer, sound system and laser pointer. A board at the entrance of each room displayed the title of the session that was taking place inside at each moment.

There was a speakers' ready room, equipped with four computers, where speakers had to upload their presentations. These were then sent, via the LCC intranet, to the computer in the respective session room. Speakers were not allowed to use their computers in the session rooms, except in exceptional cases.

There were two areas for posters (pavilions 3 and 4, total area 1 950 sqm). Poster boards allowed posters 1.40 m wide x 1.00 m high. Poster presentations were divided in 7 sessions, i.e. approximately 420 posters per half day session. All abstracts were reviewed by an ad-hoc committee set up by the LOC, which included approximately 30 pax (100 abstracts / reviewer).

There was an initial area of 1.800 sqm for commercial exhibition (pavilion 1). However, due to the high number of companies willing to participate, an additional exhibition area was set-up in the foyers giving access to three of the session halls. A total of 954 sqm of exhibition area was occupied by 91 companies.

There were approximately 150 seating places and several tables spread all over the LCC. Cash dispenser machine, post office and copy centre were available in the LCC. At the commercial exhibition areas, there were 30 computers for internet access and 10 computers for abstract viewing. A press-office, a press centre and an interview room were setup for the press.

There were 56 symposia, 50 of which were selected by the SPC from the proposals made by FENS members and the other 6 were selected by the local organising committee among the proposals made by participants around a central topic.

Two special symposia were organised in relation with two of the specific objectives of the project:
SS1 - European DANA alliance for the brain symposium. public awareness of brain research.
Speakers: N. Rothwell, E. Sykova, C. Stock and P.P. Bataglini;
SS2 - FENS / European Brain Council Symposium. Brain research in Europe: Structuring European Neuroscience. New perspectives: a follow-up;
Speakers: C. Belmonte, M. Baker, O. Quintana Trias, J. Olesen, P. J. Magistretti and W. Singer.

There were seven technical workshops which were held on the first day of the forum:
W01 - Spinal cord repair: from the laboratory bench to the clinic
W02 - Gene therapy for pain control
W03 - Neuronal imaging using genetically encoded sensors
W04 - Engineering and application of genetic indicators in neurobiology
W05 - The cell cycle and neuronal differentiation
W06 - Annotating the genes involved in nervous system development and function
W07 - NENS workshop: networking European neuroscience graduate programmes.
There were 2 869 poster presentations which were divided by 122 topics and distributed by 7 half day sessions in 2 halls.

The abstracts of 3 145 scientific communications were published in an abstract book (FENS forum abstracts, volume 2, 2004) that is citable and covered by current contents, medline and all major indexing services. Moreover, abstracts are also available at the Forum website and on CD. Therefore, the presented research findings were disseminated to the entire scientific community, well beyond the participants of the forum.

A professional press office was in charge of spreading out to the general public the most relevant findings presented at the forum. Moreover, a special symposium was dedicated to 'public awareness of brain research'.

The forum represents a significant added-value to brain research in Europe, as specialists from all European countries had the opportunity to present to their European peers their latest findings in virtually every field of the neurosciences. Neuroscientists from non-European countries did also participate, further contributing to the advance of neurosciences in Europe and elsewhere. Moreover, there was a special session, co-organised with the European brain council, on 'Brain research in Europe: structuring European neuroscience. New perspectives - a follow-up'. Dr Octavi Quintana Trias (European Commission director life science) was a speaker at this session, which is viewed as a follow-up to the meeting organised by the European commission on September 2003 on 'brain research in Europe'. In fact, the forum was particularly relevant to the objectives of the specific programme 'integrating and strengthening the European research area', under the topic 'specific brain research support actions'.