The ceremony started with Robert-Jan Smits, Director General for Research and Innovation, DG RTD, European Commission, who handed over the ECRIN-ERIC plate, signifying the formal recognition of the ERIC status, and highlighted the support provided by the EU 7th Framework Programme during ECRIN development.
Director-General Smits stated: "It is a great pleasure for me to hand over the official name plate confirming the ERIC legal status of ECRIN. ECRIN-ERIC will bring more coherence and efficiency to the area of clinical research which is of crucial importance for Europe. By setting common standards and harmonising procedures and protocols between clinical trials centres, the ECRIN-ERIC will further strengthen the European Research Area."
Government representatives of the ECRIN-ERIC member countries - Roger Genet, Director General for Research Innovation, French Ministry of Higher Education and Research; Renate Loskill, Head of Division 'Health Research', German Federal Ministry of Education; Fabrizio Oleari, President of Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Italy; Antonio Andreu, Director General, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain; and Paulo Pereira, Vice-President Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal - highlighted, in the context of the national policy on health research and on research infrastructures, the importance of co-operation to foster competitiveness in clinical research and in health innovation.
Silvio Garattini, Chair of ECRIN Scientific Board and Director of the Mario Negri Institute, Milan, addressed the need for multinational co-operation in independent clinical trials. Then Jacques Demotes, ECRIN-ERIC Director General, presented an overview of ECRIN-ERIC development and activities. Finally Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, Director, Health, demographic change and wellbeing challenge, DG RTD, European Commission, discussed clinical trials in the context of the H2020 programme, and his Excellency Philippe Etienne, French Ambassador at the European Union, closed the discussion with considerations on the integration of Europe's scientific policies and capacities.