Hosted in the beautiful setting of Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti in Venice, on 9 and 10 of October 2023 the second THCS General Assembly, the first one in person, took place. The meeting gathered over 60 attendees, representing 49 different partners, while other 30 people followed the works online.
The objective of the meeting was trifold: updating the Consortium on the activities carried out since the last GA, on the ones to be carried out until the end of the year and on the ones planned for 2024.
Gaetano Guglielmi, Italian Ministry of Health, kicked-off the GA welcoming all partners. The opening remarks continued with the intervention of Manuela Lanzarin, Regional Minister for Health and Social Policies of Veneto, the hosting Region. Ms. Lanzarin emphasized the importance of supporting research and innovation in the healthcare sector, an essential effort to enhance outcomes for citizens and patients while ensuring cost-effective and service-effective care. The Veneto Region aims to capitalize on the numerous opportunities offered by EU funds and welcomes initiatives such as THCS. The opening session continued with the intervention of Alexandru-Sorin Costescu on behalf of the EC DG-RTD, and Sabrina Montante on behalf of the THCS Coordinating Team. After that, the meeting dived into the main agenda of the day, tackling points such as Chair and Vice Chair election, work packages activity overview and update on grant agreement amendment.
Also, two new potential partners were introduced to the consortium: the UK National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR/IRSC). NIHR has a strategic focus on various areas, including capacity building, expanding research into underserved or disadvantaged regions across the UK, promoting diversity, social inclusion, and equality, and ensuring the sustainability of the healthcare system. Similarly, CIHR/IRSC strategic priorities encompass advancing excellence, building healthcare capacity, accelerating self-determination, promoting equity, integrating evidence into health decisions, and embedding these elements within health and care systems. For both NIHR and CIHR/IRSC, discussions are underway to determine when and how they can officially join THCS.
The day ended with two parallel sessions, one reserved to the members of the Funding Agencies Board, the other to WP4 (Methodological and Assessment Framework). After a short wrap-up in plenary session, day 1 of the General Assembly was officially closed.
The second day was similarly focused on the activities of the different Work Packages composing THCS, specifically WP 5 (Bridging evidence into Policy), 8 (Project Monitoring and Assessment of Project Results), 9 (Straightening Ecosystem) and 10 (Knowledge Hub to support the transferability of Good Practices). By updating the whole consortium on the state of the art of each WP’s activities and on the planned activities for next year, partners got a complete overview of THCS’ current implementation phase. This exercise was propaedeutic to the final plenary discussion, which drew the conclusions on the two days meeting, identifying next steps towards the definition of the 2024 Annual Work Plan