Long before the birth of the European Union, European physicians and scientists had cooperated closely and successfully. However, now that the European Union is not only firmly established, but is also expanding, the time has come for more structured collaboration between European associations and the European Commission, in order to increase research possibilities through better funding, through more widespread networks and through pulled information and expertise. The first step towards this European-wide initiative to explore areas of joint interest and to initiate plans for their implementation is the First Forum of European Medical Academic Societies.

Increasingly, European medical academic societies have been cooperating on research projects and organising postgraduate education, but in 2009, for the first time, a meeting of these societies was convened. The focus of the meeting was on cooperation with the European Commission with a view to strengthening the funding for medical research. The objective of the meeting was not only to keep the focus on European funding which already exists, but also to initiate a platform for opening discussions on all matters concerning the planning of road-maps for major diseases, the proposal of reviewers and the process of reviewing, communication amongst societies or institutions which have programmes funded by the EU, research objectives, the administrative handling of research funding and the communication of research results to the public. It is hoped that as a direct result of this newly formed forum the impact and quality of European research will be increased throughout the world.

The invitation to participate in the annual meeting for the Alliance for Biomedical Research comes jointly from the European Association of the Study of Diabetes (EASD), the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO) and the European Respiratory Society (ERS). These meetings unite European medical associations, which represent over 300.000 physicians and scientists dedicated to medical research. The associations would like to express their gratitude to the European Commission for immediately welcoming this initiative; everyone is looking forward to continuing a constructive dialogue.