On January 12-14, 2018 the PECUNIA consortium came together for the first time in order to kick off the project. The Hotel de France in Vienna, Austria, set the perfect frame for the ten European partners as well as the ten Scientific Advisory Board members from different stakeholder groups to get to know each other and to discuss the work plan for the next three years.
After a joint dinner on the evening before the meeting, PECUNIA coordinator and host Prof. Judit Simon (Medizinische Universität Wien) opened the first meeting day by looking back on the last year, in which the proposal and negotiation phase were successfully completed. She introduced the project and focused in particular on the interdependencies of the work packages and horizontal activities which were also picked up as a central challenge later that day. After an introduction round, the responsible EC officer Leslie Pibouleau was welcomed and highlighted the need to liaise with the other two HTA EU funded research projects COMED and IMPACT-HTA in order to explore joint synergies.
The rest of the day was dedicated to the work package and horizontal activity presentations, in which the leads introduced the objectives, tasks, interrelations, milestones and deliverables, possible risks as well as next steps. In the afternoon, the Scientific Advisory Board, representing health economy experts, psychiatrists, decision makers and one patient organisation, gave feedback on the presented work plan to the consortium. The board members highlighted the strength, clarity and applicability of the project as well as the expertise and commitment of the partners involved. Challenges were seen in the internal communication due to the interconnection of the work packages as well as in the need for close communication with policy makers and international organisations.
The Project Management partner EURICE addressed these issues by clarifying the roles and means for communication within the project on the second meeting day. Afterwards, a dedicated Capacity Building Seminar raised awareness for the exploitation of project results. Before the farewell, the consortium defined the action points for the next few months and Judit Simon thanked everyone for their enthusiasm and commitment: “By combining our forces and expertise, we are hoping to improve cost effectiveness in European health care systems by implementing the methods and tools which we will develop within the project. Therefore, it is crucial for us to closely interconnect within the project but also with relevant stakeholders, related initiatives and the EC from the project start.” The next progress meeting is planned for July 14-15, 2018 connected to the EuHTA conference in Maastricht, Netherlands.
Day 1: The PECUNIA partners and the Scientific Advisory Board members with Franz Joseph I. in the background
Day 2: Jörg Scherer (EURICE) raising awareness regarding the exploitation of project results during the Capacity Building Seminar
Consortium and Scientific Advisory Board members at the PECUNIA kick-off meeting in Vienna