Talk at the BMBF event on the medical informatics funding concept

The new medical informatics funding concept was presented at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) on 27 November. The informational event was well-attended, drawing more than 200 participants. One aim of the programme was to promote the digital sharing of patient data in compliance with German data protection standards. Consortiums, each comprising at least two university hospitals, are to be established for this purpose, with the goal of demonstrating a tangible added value for patient care through a concrete use case. The consortiums are encouraged to integrate start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Commercial enterprises with R&D capabilities can be integrated in the consortiums as subcontractors or as grant recipients. The deadline for submitting applications for the concept phase is 31 March 2016.

In addition to the presentation of the concept, the project executing agency DLR provided helpful information and advice on the programme’s funding criteria. An exhibition was held in the foyer featuring companies that sought to present themselves as potential project partners to the many representatives of university hospitals in attendance.

As one of the four speakers, Viola Bronsema, Managing Director of BIO Deutschland, gave a talk at the event. She introduced BIO Deutschland’s Working Group on Bio IT and Big Data, which is chaired by Martin Pöhlchen, and informed attendees about the member companies Alacris Theranostics, bio.logis Genetic Information Management, Biomax Informatics, Molecular Health and Qiagen and about the areas and topics covered by the group. Bronsema pointed out that already today bio IT companies had a whole host of platforms and concepts to offer and that the programme’s funds should by no means be used to promote unnecessary and redundant concepts. If comparable applications already exist in industry, these could be developed further by the consortiums, she said, adding that the focus should also be on patients and specific indications and not just on “tools and technologies”.

A noteworthy statement was made by Klaus Pommerening, professor emeritus at the University of Mainz and a recognised data protection expert, who said that the EU Data Protection Regulation in its existing form would put the entire funding concept in jeopardy, adding that targeted coordination between the BMBF and the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) was necessary in the coming months. BIO Deutschland’s Working Group already gave input on this issue at the beginning of the year and will provide further input to policy makers in Berlin and Brussels in the next few months.

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