General Assembly: new initiatives and increasing collaboration

18 March 2018 Jen Tidman

New initiatives and increasing collaboration, both within Europe and internationally were the key themes of the annual EAU18 General Assembly.

Over the past year, the EAU has continued its engagement with the European Union (EU) and hard work in this area is now coming to fruition, raising the profile of both urology and the association, said Secretary General Prof. Chris Chapple (GB) in his general report. As noted at the Opening Ceremony, the EAU is heavily involved in the European Reference Networks, specifically the network for rare urogenital diseases and complex conditions, eUROGEN.

Thanks to the efforts of Prof. Hein Van Poppel (BE) the EAU has also been able to build relationships with MEPs and influence EU legislation and policy affecting urologists.  These links will mean increased opportunities to access EU funding for EAU research and training programmes.

There are now EAU exchange programmes with Canada, USA, Taiwan, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the Society of Urologic Oncology, as well as EAU lectures at a vast array of national and international meetings a multitude of ‘Urology Beyond Europe’ sessions at the EAU annual congress.

“As a global truly international society we have that profile and role,” said Chapple.

Prof. Francesco Montorsi (IT) announced the establishment of an EAU OncoUrology TaskForce, which will promote the role of European urologists as the principal caregivers in terms of genitourinary (GU) cancers and their surgical and medical management. The taskforce will also seek to optimise the scientific and educational activities of the EAU relating to GU cancers as well as improving access to funding in the field.

Furthermore, two new EAU OncoUrology meetings have been launched; BCa18: EAU Update on Bladder Cancer (8-9 June 2018, Munich) and PCa18: EAU Update on Prostate Cancer (14-15 September 2018, Milan).

Giving his first report as chairman of the EAU Research Foundation, Prof. Anders Bjartell (SE) announced a new initiative to support highly innovative and original research by junior investigators: the EAU Foundation for Urological Research Seeding Grants.  The winners of two seeding grants, each of €25,000, will be announced before the end of the congress.

Giving his financial report, EAU Treasurer, Prof. Manfred Wirth (DE) noted a reduction in overall profit for the association in 2017 due to the costs of new initiatives and the continuing effects of reduced industry support (lower meeting attendance, fewer sponsored delegates and less exhibition space). Wirth stated that the Executive will continue to take action to reduce costs and increase revenues.

Successes were reported in numerous areas.  In terms of Communications, Wirth reported that European Urology maintains its position as the top ranking publication in the fields of Urology & Nephrology and General Surgery with a current impact factor of 16.265. European Urology Focus is now listed on PubMed and will soon have impact factor, and European Urology Oncology (“the new baby in our family”) is expected to grow fast as well.

Wirth emphasised the importance of the History Office, led by Prof. Philip Van Kerrebroeck (NL), and congratulated Prof. Sergio Musitelli (IT) on winning the EAU Desnos Prize for his contributions: “As a society we are not so old, we are young, but it is important to look at the history of urology and this is done very well by this office.”

Van Poppel also thanked Prof. Thorsten Bach and his team for developing the EAU’s Patient Information (so far available on 17 topics in 17 languages) with the aim of making “a version of our Guidelines which is understandable to patients, and which is the best information available.”

Van Poppel also thanked Dr. Michiel Sedelaar of the Young Urologists Office (now incorporating ESRU) and Prof. Selcuk Silay of the Young Academic Urologists for providing courses and professional development for young urologists as well as encouraging their members to be involved in general EAU activities.

The new members of the EAU were approved, as were the new Honorary members, Patrick Coloby (FR), Gunnar Aus (SE), Ajit Vaze (IN) and Mani Menon (US); “We appreciate your contribution to urology over many, many years and wanted to acknowledge that,” said Chapple. A moment’s silence was also held for members sadly deceased over the past year.

Drawing the session to a close, Chapple announced the 34rd Annual EAU Congress to be held in Barcelona from 15-19 March 2019 and gave his thanks to the whole EAU family including the team in Arnhem: “We acknowledge the massive contribution of the Executive, the Board, the Sections and the members, but the strength of the association also rests on the hard work and efforts of the Central Office staff throughout the year.  Without them, none of this would be possible.”

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