Review of 2016 / Looking ahead to 2017

The beginning of the year seems like a good time to review the achievements of last year and look forward to future plans for EMWA, so here is a brief summary of the highlights of 2016 and plans for 2017.

The beginning of 2016 saw significant changes to our journal “Medical Writing”. The new look is brighter, more modern and more welcoming and reflects the fact that it is a combination of journal, magazine and professional newsletter rather than a purely academic journal. I never cease to be amazed by the breadth and quality of the articles included and would like to thank our editor, Phil Leventhal, his co-editors and all those of you who contribute to the journal for making this such and interesting and valuable resource

May 2016 saw the launch of CORE Reference, a user manual to help medical writers create regulatory compliant clinical study reports. This 2 year project was a joint initiative with AMWA and involved many hundreds of hours of work by a dedicated group of writers under the chairmanship of Sam Hamilton. I would like to thank them all for their sterling efforts on this project which has significantly raised our profile within the Medical Communications area and provided such a useful resource.

We hosted another successful conference in Munich in May with over 50 workshops, as well as our 4th Symposium on the topic of “Scientific and Medical Communication Today”. We launched our Internship Forum, a new initiative aimed at providing an opportunity for those new to the industry to meet companies with available positions at the conference. This was a great success and we will be continuing the forum in Birmingham this May.

Our Autumn conference was held in Brussels and in addition to the full programme of workshops included an extended Freelance Business Forum with Marco Torregrossa, Secretary General of the European Forum of Independent Professionals as guest speaker and an early morning “Show IT, Share IT”  session where members shared tips with each other.  

We have a number of exciting new initiatives planned for 2017.

You may be aware that the website can be slow at times. We are investing in a new website platform which will significantly improve response time and allow us to develop the website further. We hope to have this faster “new look” site up and running within the next few months and will keep you up to date on progress. We will also be replacing the conference brochure which is currently provided in PDF format, with a new dedicated conference “mini-site”. This will bring all of the conference information together in one place and provide the relevant information in a more easily accessible format. Users will be able to personalise the information, both through selecting the information they see such as advanced workshops only or symposium information only, and through selecting only their own personal programme of what they have booked.

Over the last few months we have been working with AMWA and the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) to update our position statement on the role of professional medical writers in the development of articles, abstracts, posters, and oral presentations in peer-reviewed journals or at scientific congresses. The joint document will be published early in 2017.

Our next conference takes place at the International Conference Centre in Birmingham from Tuesday 2nd May to Saturday 6th May. The programme will be released in January and includes our 5th symposium day entitled “Transparency and Disclosure of Clinical Regulatory Documentation”. This will explore important developments on data transparency with views from regulatory bodies and the pharmaceutical industry as well as writers themselves. The conference will also host a lunchtime seminar on clinical trial disclosure requirements, our second internship forum and introductory talk for potential new writers, as well as the well established freelance business forum. We also have a session on mindfulness and a range of exciting social events. There really is something for everyone.

Finally there will be elections for the positions of Vice-President, Honorary Secretary, Treasurer, and Public Relations Officer in April. You will already have received an e-mail with details about this. Applications need to be received by 16th January so if you are interested please get your candidate statements in as soon as possible.

I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year and hope to get the opportunity to speak to as many of you as possible during the final few months of my presidentship.

Best Wishes,

Alison Rapley
EMWA President