Dear EFI members,

Dear EFI Member,

At the time this copy of the EFI newsletter arrives in your office, the new year will also have arrived; still new, still bursting with plans, hopes and resolutions.

Before moving onto our plans for EFI 2014, I want to congratulate Marcel Tilanus and Junior Lardy and their local organising committee for their excellent work. They provided us with remarkable days in Maastricht, during a conference that met all scientific claims and managed to give it, what I would call a ‘Dutch touch’;  at the same time we could enjoy the international flamboyance and the very focus of the Netherlands. The new facets that have been tried in Maastricht for the first time, I mention the ‘Masterclasses’ as  pars pro toto, will be used or developed in future conferences.

In 2013, POSEIDON, an EU project organised by Anne Cambon-Thomson came to a successful end.  EFI was a partner in this project and the benefits we received are very much appreciated.

Regarding the EFI household, important decisions will be made at the beginning of 2014, most notably the elections of board members including the president and councillors. You will find the resumes of the candidates later in this issue. I encourage all of you to vote. Be aware, it is not the same procedure as previous years:  for the first time in EFI history we will have an electronic ballot. Ann-Margaret Little, our secretary, has taken the effort to organise this and you will be provided with a detailed procedure on how to use this new technology.

At the end of the last year the web site working group put together a mind map that contains all the information of the new website that should be put into reality by a company. In essence, we should have - besides a new layout - all the functionality of the old website plus new features in a hopefully intuitive and user friendly setting. If things go according to plan, the website will be effective before the Stockholm meeting. A new feature of the new website that I would especially entrust to you has now the working title ‘Forums’. The idea is to provide a dynamic platform for the exchange of knowledge and a possible best outcome of that endeavour would be a sort of ‘FAQs’ in H&I. There will be space for questions relating practical questions, but also scientific exchange. The format will be threads that are managed by one responsible person. I urge all of you to come forward and communicate ideas for threads where you would be willing to take the lead. Contact person is Ingrid Abelman (i.l.abelman@lumc.nl) in the EFI office.

As you can read in the report of the EFI executive committee meeting one of the topics on the agenda was ‘Relationship with other societies’. There has been an effort in the past to formalise the relationship with national societies. In 2006 a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ was signed between EFI and the German Society for Immunogenetics. In my view very unfortunately, this effort has come to a standstill. One of the reasons might be that we already, and really, have good and friendly links to the European national societies. So why bother? But being a bit a formal person I clearly see the advantages a formalisation of these liaisons can have and practical outcomes. For example a mutual recognition of educational activities could result in a centralised overview of educational programmes with minimal bureaucracy.

A scientific highlight this year should be the EFI conference. When you go to the meetings page of the EFI website, you will already find the link to the next conference (http://www.efi2014.eu/), where Mats Bengtsson, Marie Schaffer and Ann-Charlotte Wikström give their welcome address to the Stockholm meeting during the most beautiful and brightest time of the year. This is definitely something worth to visit.

I wish you all the very best for your aspirations in 2014.

Gottfried Fischer

EFI President



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