Welcome to European Cardiology – Volume 7 Issue 4. I would like to express my vision of future cardiovascular research and development in Europe, which is best encapsulated in the concept of ‘quality and equity with heart‘. How is it possible to extend an active and focused road toward enhanced unity through inclusion, directed at aspects of quality, equality and equity?
Outreach and harmonisation could be made possible through the development, with the help of national quality registries, of a European cardiovascular registry focused on centralised cardiovascular data collection across European Society of Cardiology member states – and possibly beyond. The creation of such a registry network will allow immediate feedback as well as long-term follow-up.1 It will enhance our understanding of needs, at the frontier of cardiac care and the care provided from a ‘real world‘ perspective. European cardiovascular expertise and influence can only be strengthened by employing forward-looking processes, combining participation and activation, and making use of synergies at the European level, which in turn will lead to future valorisation through extended international and global collaboration.
Two underlying yet important themes are gender equality, and health economics and quality of life. Gender balance, particularly in science and education, is of vital importance. Despite the European Commission adopting, in 1999, a coherent approach for promoting and enhancing female participation in research, the overall percentage of women researchers is still no more than 30 %, well below the 40 % target, according to a report issued by the Expert Group on the Interim Evaluation of the Seventh Framework Programme.2 According to the same report, the performance of most new member states in that respect appears to fall short of expectations, and therein lies the potential for ‘aggravating an imbalance which will inhibit future knowledge creation’.2 It is suggested that current and future programmes should pay greater attention to creating environments enhancing research capacity and interaction, and mobilising human and physical capital, outside favoured EU countries or regions. Openness and transparency, beside being virtues, lead to a greater sense of empowerment, to social inclusion and to the harmonisation of interests.
At the forefront of innovation, cardiovascular research in Europe stands in a favourable position, both in terms of knowledge creation and societal value. Our capacity to make a difference lies in a common knowledge platform based on the ‘real world’ management of our patients, i.e., a centralised European cardiovascular registry network.