Message from the President of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies
Dear colleagues, dear friends,
On behalf of the Council of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), I would like to welcome you wholeheartedly here in Lisbon on the occasion of the Fourth FENS Forum. What an exciting five days ahead of us! First scientifically: the Programme Committee, under the expert guidance of Wolf Singer, has put together what I believe is a truly exceptional spectrum of scientific presentations; they reflect the status of current neuroscience research in Europe, with a most welcome contribution from North American colleagues. Of course, the members of the programme Committee, to whom I would like to express our sincere gratitude, could not have designed such an outstanding programme without the commitment of you all who proposed symposia, speakers and submitted abstracts. This programme truly reflects the participation and, I dare say, the enthusiasm of those who are actively engaged throughout Europe in furthering our knowledge of the nervous system. Then the venue: the Congress Centre is an ideal setting for a meeting of this size. The Local Organizing Committee has made all efforts to render the time that you will spend in the Congress Centre as efficient and as pleasant as possible. I trust that this should be the case; of course we welcome your comments to make the future FENS Forums even better. The FENS Executive Council thrives to build on past experience and make each FENS Forum an ever more attractive place to gather European neuroscientists. As I have said before, the FENS Forum should become "the place to be" in early July, every second year. Of course I would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to the members of the Local Organizing Committee, who, under the leadership of José Castro-Lopes have embraced this challenge with energy, competence, creativity and a sense of humour at every stage of the journey they started four years ago when the Portuguese Neuroscience Society made the bid for the Fourth FENS Forum.
I wish you a very enjoyable and productive time on the banks of the Tagus River. I hope that you will find it an ideal setting to make the FENS Forum a place for scientific and social interactions, a place where European neuroscientists will experience a sense of belonging, and a place to welcome the newcomers, our students, to whom the future of FENS belongs.
Pierre J. Magistretti
The Sociedade Portuguesa de Neurociências is deeply honoured to host the 4th Forum of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies. I am happy to welcome all delegates to the FENS Forum 2004 to Lisbon, a charming town so connected to new discoveries that changed the understanding of the world. I am sure that most of the scientific topics discussed in the Forum, ranging from molecular to cognitive neuroscience, will lead to a better understanding of the Nervous System and as important as that, to the reinforcement of the bounds between European groups working in Neuroscience. Discussions on networking European neuroscience graduate programmes will also contribute to the final goal of building up a European Community in Neuroscience, with the common aim of getting closer to the understanding of how we love and how we hate. As our poet Fernando Pessoa wrote in one of his British Poems (July, 1916):
On the face wind-touched mere,
Those for whose knowledge of things
Things are the things that appear,
They are the chiefs and the kings.
The others fall to the rear.
For life is for those who accept,
And hope is for those who enjoy,
I wish you all an enjoyable meeting
Ana M. Sebastião
DID YOU KNOW THAT...
... when we embraced the task of organizing the 4th Forum of European Neuroscience, we had several goals?
The first was to make it a scientific event that would go beyond the "borders" of FENS. With the help of the Scientific Programme Committee, that have put together an extremely attractive scientific programme, based on the various proposals made by you, the participants, I can proudly announce that this goal has been attained. In spite of the difficult geopolitical situation that we are facing nowadays, we have participants attending from 66 countries spanning across five continents, and a record number of registered "non-member" participants for the Lisbon FENS Forum.
Another goal was to attract a high number of students in order to convert the Forum into a prime educational event. This was to be achieved by means of close interaction between young investigators and more established neuroscientists. For this purpose, student registration fees were kept very low and a large number of stipends were granted. Satisfying these aims, students represent approximately 40% of the total registrations for the Lisbon FENS Forum.
The third was to build a large exhibition area, where companies could display their latest innovations or long-standing quality products and interact with those that use them routinely. The support of the companies has been exceptional, and has resulted in additional exhibition areas being created to accommodate all exhibitors willing to participate in the Lisbon FENS Forum.
The most ambitious goal was to make the FENS Forum 2004 the largest neuroscience meeting ever held in Europe. We have used all our enthusiasm and imagination to convince scientists that Lisbon 10-14 July 2004, will certainly be the HOT SPOT for neuroscientists all over the world.
Irrespective the total number of participants, we are firmly convinced that those who were inspired to come to Lisbon will be rewarded in many senses: the sound of science combined with the flavour of innovation, the odour of collaboration, the touch of friendship, and the vision of the Tagus River complemented by the sun of Lisbon, will certainly contribute to our ultimate goal - that you enjoy a most pleasant and memorable experience during the Lisbon FENS Forum.
I would like to acknowledge all those organizations, sponsors and many individuals that contributed to the organization of the FENS Forum 2004. The vast majority of these supported without avail, but with a clear perception of contributing to a common cause: the advance of Neuroscience in Europe and beyond.
I have the great pleasure of welcoming you to the Lisbon FENS Forum and wish you a successful and pleasant stay amongst colleagues and friends...
... and please do not hesitate to approach me or any other member of the Local Organizing Committee should you require any assistance during the Lisbon FENS Forum.
José M. Castro-Lopes
Last modified 18/06/04