Alfonso Valencia has been named as the IMI scientific committee vice-chair, which is the European association aimed at speeding up the development of better and safer medicines

19 October 2020
Both the BSC’s director of Life Sciences and the chair of the committee, Isabelle Bekeredjian-Ding, have been elected by absolute majority of votes.

The director of the Life Sciences department at Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Alfonso Valencia, is now the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) scientific committee’s vice-chair. Valencia has been unanimously elected, as has Isabelle Bekeredjian-Ding, who will be the chair. The IMI is the largest public-private initiative in the world, which aims to improve biomedical research in Europe to achieve safer and more effective medicines in shorter times.

Both have been chosen by the twelve members who make up the committee of experts in various areas of medical research from across Europe. For Valencia, "it is a great honor to represent the committee in this transition phase to the new framework program, in which aspects related to data and computational methods, including AI, will be particularly relevant." A reflection of this evolution is that in a new phase companies from the IT/Biotech sector will enter the partnership together with pharmaceutical companies. In fact, during these years Valencia has promoted in the committee the preparation of a report on the future of data and AI in biomedicine that reflects and puts into context the importance of digitization for the future of medicine.

The role of the scientific committee

The committee gives strategic science-based recommendations to IMI and advises on the continued relevance of the Strategic Research Agenda and the scientific priorities. It is also formally consulted on some topic texts – which are based on the scientific priorities – before the calls for proposals are launched.

About the IMI

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is working to improve health by speeding up the development of, and patient access to, innovative medicines, particularly in areas where there is an unmet medical or social need. IMI does this by facilitating collaboration between the key players involved in health research, including universities, research centres, the pharmaceutical and other industries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), patient organisations, and medicines regulators.