EFCS Discussion Forum



Flash Overview




Table of Contents





Message Extracts



Position Paper I of: G.Valet Sep.23,1996


Thoughts for the Reorganisation of Cytometry in Europe:

..... From the side of ESACP the following proposal may best suit the future needs if one concentrates on bundling solutions rather than on the divergence of efforts within numerous separate entities:
Foundation of a European Federation of Cytometric Societies (EFCS) carried by the various national European cytometric societies but potentially also by formally established cytometric working groups. ACP, as a well introduced scientific journal, could serve the new federation as publication platform. EFCS members would be optionally constituted by members of national cytometric societies but equally by former ESACP members who are in favour of the new concept. EFCS would be open to other cytometrically interested scientists from inside and outside Europe. EFCS, in contrast to ISAC would, however, not have the goal to expand to a representative global membership. EFCS would center on clinical as well as on basic cytometric research in flow and image cytometry with a focus on European issues.




Position Paper II of: G.Valet Nov.19, 1996

1. Actual Organization of Cytometry in Europe

Flow cytometry in Europe is preferentially organized in national societies since the late eighthies. In addition, interest groups within scientific societies e.g. cytometry group in RMS (UK) and task oriented European Working Groups emerge e.g. for Clinical Cell Analysis. The working groups constitute themselves outside scientific societies to achieve intersociety consensus e.g. for clinical purposes.

Biomedical image cytometry is organized in national, European or international societies but also in interest groups.

The various organizational forms actively promote the development of cytometry in Europe at the scientific and educational level. There exists, however, no general forum for joint scientific presentation, information exchange and discussion of the numerous efforts in clinical and basic research cytometry in the different European countries. This is not optimal since one of the essential features for the efficient development of cytometry has always been the multidisciplinary contact at international meetings. This is especially true for the European environment e.g. with its urgent need for the harmonization of clinical cytometry.


2. Organizational Deficit at the European Level

Besides the insuffiencies for the individual scientist, additional deficits concern the development of the entire cytometric discipline in Europe. Some of these points are:



3. EFCS Foundation

The integration of the various European countries within the EU in addition to the points indicated above define a clear role for a European Federation of Cytometric Societies (EFCS). EFCS would neither duplicate the goals of the national cytometric societies and the tasks of the European working groups nor compete with the International Society for Analytical Cytology (ISAC) for a globally representative membership. The foundation of EFCS would substantially strengthen the discipline oriented international network of cytometry related organisations.


- Links amongst the different societies will be:

4. Name of the Federation

The name of the proposed federation could be: European Federation of Cytometric Societies (EFCS) or more intuitively: Federation of European Cytometric Societies (FECS). FECS is, however, the abbreviated form of two already existing European scientific federations (see below) and seems therefore unsuitable. The EFCS abbreviation is so far unique at least with respect to scientific societies (checkable by AltaVista search)


5. Other Federations of Scientific Societies

The structured organisation of independent European, US or world wide scientific societies in form of Federations or Unions is a well known practice in various research areas(e.g. FECS, FECS, FEBS, EBSA, EFMC, FACSS, FASEB, IFCC, IUBMB, UICC)


Letter of: F.Sansonetty,
Sep.26, 1996

.... I understand your ideas, I fully support them, I will do my best to collaborate and I am prepared to promote them. In the following illustrations (see next three pages), I do not pretend to send you original ideas but I only try to summarize some of them

I think, we can say, that presently, many "local" research and clinical groups are reinventing the "wheel" ...that they are trying to extrapolate results with small series ... not using consensus ... and so on

Let's join efforts to generate efficient European Data Bases, with information that, with more probability, may be able to definitively (I hope), produce more "consistent knowledge", ... with less local efforts and costs, or at least meaning best community investments.




M.G.Ormerod,
Oct.3,1996
.... I took your proposals to the RMS Cytometry Section Committee today. They were not very enthusiastic.
They would be prepared to support a European Federation of national societies.
However, they thought that people in the UK would be unlikely to join as individual members. They felt that their national interest was served by the RMS and their international interests by ISAC.


Letter of: J.K.Larsen,
Nov.1, 1996
... Thank you for your letter concerning the intended foundation of a European Federation of Cytometric Societies (EFCS). I can assure you that the Danish Society for Flow Cytometry is interested in your concept and would like to participate in the discussion. I think it is a fine idea to found the EFCS during the 5th ESACP congress.


G.Valet,
Nov.19, 1996
.... with a substantial number of positive oral and written comments for the foundation of a Federation of European Cytometric societies (FECS), it seems appropriate to open a discussion forum. ....
...The discussion forum will be set up as an electronic mailing list.
... I am presently collecting constitutions and bylaws of other European or International Federations or Unions of scientific societies. They will be displayed at the EFCS discussion group web-site for information. If you are a member of a federation or have otherwise access to such documents, please send me a good quality copy by high resolution fax or preferentially by mail to OCR the document into the web-site.


G.Valet,
Nov.22,1996
.... due to the abbreviation coincidences of FECS with two existing European federations of scientific societies, the preliminary file names of the Internet web-site have been changed to permutations of EFCS i.e. the web browser bookmark should now be set to: http://www.biochem.mpg.de/valet/efcs.html This file contains the two present links to: .../efcsrat1.html and .../efcsadr1.html


Letter of: J.W.Gray,
Nov.22, 1996
.... I am writing in regard to your efforts to found a European Federation of Cytometric Societies. I hope that I and ISAC might work together with you in this venture to ensure that the two organizations are complementary. I understand completely your interest in establishing a European cytometry network that can deal effectively with local issues, especially in the area of clinical cytometry. I hope that ISAC might support and participate in this effort. I am particularly concerned about the journal issue and am anxious to ensure, to the extent possible, that your plans for the ACP are meshed and complimentary to those that Jan Visser may have for Cytometry as he assumes it's editorship. The purpose of this letter is not to deter you from your efforts, but rather to open a dialogue so that we can ensure that the organization you plan is complimentary to, and supported by ISAC. I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.


J.L. D'Hautcourt,
Nov.24, 1996
...I will hereafter present you the french proposals (AFC). These height points have been submitted and accepted by our general assembly during our last meeting in Rouen 16-18 octobre 96.
I) The new association could be a "Union" like the IUIS (International Union of Immunological Societies) but, of course, for Europe thus E.U.I.S. This union will not have any power at the national level. Representatives of each national society, in proportion of their members, will constitued the board of the "Union".
II) This "Union" could only have as members, the national societies themself, and not their individual members.
III) The financial powers of this "Union" would come from the contribution of each member societies who could contribute in proportion of the number of their own members (for exemple 3 to 5 EURO's by member seem enough)
IV) In a first time, this money would essentially be used for the support, the new orientation of the scope and the improvement of the ACP journal which could become the link between the national societes.
V) The subscription to the journal "ACP" would be made at a special low rate, exclusively for the members of national societies, but in no case this subscription will be mandatory.
VI) The editorial board would be progressively modified to offer a better national representation and also taking into account the new orientations of the Journal.
VII) The other activities of the "Union" could be the starting of an internet site, concerted actions in the field of accreditation, QC, standardisation ...
VIII) (added by the AG of AFC members) The aggrement of participation will be made first for an evaluation period.


M.G.Ormerod,
Nov.25,1996
I would personally support these proposals. They will need to be considered at the next meeting of the Cytometry Section Committee of the Royal Microscopical Society.


H.E.Danielsen,
Nov.25, 1996
Response to Dr.D'Hautcourt's email
ACP:
...In my opinion, the editorial board should be based on quality only, regardless of nationality. It should not necesarily reflect the membership or national representation. Why should the Journal have a new orientation, and what kind of orientation is this?
General Comments:
... The ESACP has achieved several important things: We have got a new and good journal with an steadily increasing impact, and we have got bi-annual conferences of high quality and good participation (700 in Grenoble!) We have obtained a consensus on image-DNA ploidy etc.etc.
... Is it not possible for the different national societies to sign collective membership with ESACP - giving each national society member a serious discount on the membership fee, but the same rights as every member? This is a very common organisational structure, at least in the nordic countries. The advantages are the same - increasing the membership and thereby official grant and support. In this way each national society will have their proportional weight in all matters within ESACP - provided that they have active members themselves! In a federation, one often sees that single persons representing large organizations get a lot of power and influence, regardless of whether that organization is active inside the federation or not.
There is a number of important aspects that has to be looked into, but from where I stand, the federation idea does not seem to be better than what we have today.


G.Valet,
Nov.26,1996
Concerning Dr.Danielsen's comments, I believe the issues of EFCS foundation and ESACP organisation should be treated at present separately. If there will be a strong feeling for the formation of a federation or union of cytometric societies as well as a strong feeling of ESACP members to remain a separate entity of such an intersociety association, I am convinced that an entity can be built which will suit most of the needs.
From the emergence of a federation or union of societies out of ESACP until the adherence of ESACP to a new association of societies, various organizational models are conceivable.
The discussion should therefore focus at the present primarily on the issue whether the foundation of an association of cytometric societies in Europe based on the thoughts in the original position paper and on additional thoughts .... seems promising and useful.


H.E.Danielsen,
Nov.27, 1996
I DO NOT AGREE! I DO NOT THINK THAT THERE WILL BE ROOM FOR BOTH ESACP AND A NEW FEDERATION IN EUROPE, AND THEREFORE THAT ANY DECISIONS MADE IN FAVOUR OF A FEDERATION WILL HAVE IMPACT ON ESACP. FOR THIS REASON I WILL STRONGLY URGE EVERYONE NOT TO TREAT THIS SEPARATELY!
AS ALREADY STATED, THESE ISSUES SHOULD NOT BE SEPARATED! PLEASE ALLOW US TO USE "YOUR" COMMUNICATION "CHANNEL" TO AIR OUR CONCERNS FOR ESACP. IT IS NOT GIVEN THAT A FEDERATION IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF ESACP!


J.L.D'Hautcourt,
Nov.27,1996
....Concerning Dr.Danielsen's comments on my proposals and the response of G.Valet, I will give to all of you some more details.
I agree with Dr.Danielsen when he writes that "there will be no room for both ESACP and a new federation in Europe". But I think that the problem is not there because my goal is not to create competition of ESACP with a new European federation. It is evident for many of us that the ESACP has promoted a lot of good actions like the journal ACP, some good meetings, and the publication of DNA consensus.... But it is also true that with only 260 members ESACP does not represent the European cytometry community (many national societies have more than 260 members!).
So, our proposals are made to save the best realizations of ESACP and not to help ESACP to survive. The national societies with an official constitution represent many more than 1000 members. I will here ask to all my colleagues acting as president of their society to present my proposals to their boards and/or to their general assembly to confirm what we want to do in this forum. I will also ask them to put on the Net the number of members of their societies. If, what I hope becomes a consensus, then the ESACP board must decide what they will and afterwards eventually we can continue the discussion to improve our first proposals for the best of the European cytometric community.
To the presidents of GIC, SIC, BVC-ABC, SCS, RMS, DSFCM, DGZ, HCS, PCS, and others if any, please give us your comments and the number of members of your society, to help us to progress in this forum.


G.Valet
Nov.28,1996
The Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Zytometrie (DGZ) has presently around 250 members, most of them being either clinical or research scientists.


Letter of: O.L.Laerum,
Nov.28, 1996
.... I have read carefully your letter and the draft, and feel that this would be a good step forwards. I think that a federation would give a better organisation of cytometry in Europe than the present European organisation. However, I agree that one still should have the possibility for individual membership in the new organisation, since so far not all countries have their own national cytometry society. For example this applies to Norway.
I also think it would be wise for the new European organisation to have an affiliation to ISAC, since this is also the case with other regional cytometry organisations.


G.Brugal,
Nov.28,1996
...In my opinion, the question whether we will go with both the new European Union of National Cytometry Societies (Say EUNMS) AND the existing ESACP or whether we will replace the ESACP (mainly aiming at pathology) by the EUNMS having a much broader scope (aiming at both medical and biological cytometry in addition to technical and fundamental aspects of cytometry) is l and fundamental aspects of cytometry) is not wise.
As the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Analytical Cellular Pathology, I would like to bring in the following arguments:


J.Watson,
Nov.29,1996
.... In principle I'm sure an European Union/Federation of Cytometry Societies is a good idea. However, I'm not quite sure how Gerard Brugel got to his acronym EUNMS. Shouldn't this be EUNCS (European Union of National Cytometry Societies)....
Seriously though, I have some grave reservations about how such a union/federation will work, what its function will be, what it will actually do, what it is likely to achieve, how it will be administered and, most important of all, how it will be funded.
A similar type of organisation exists in ISAC which is called "The Council of Associated Societies". Although this Council was formed with very good intentions it has, unfortunately, been singularly ineffective (I should know, I'm Chairman) and a number of strategic and organisational difficulties can be identified. These include insufficiently well defined terms of reference, some over ambitious and unachievable goals (including the STEP program), undefined needs of the National Members who make up the Council, major National philosophical differences towards such things as "standardisation", a complete lack of "statutary" powers (the dog can bite but it hasn't got teeth) and most important of all poor communications. These various problems are being addressed by ISAC and some are soluble. Great strides have been made in the communications arena with more people on the internet and this appears to be one of the potential strengths of this proposed organisation judging by the number of e-mails flying around.
Before we get too embroilled in the "politics" of the proposed federation, for example who should be "in" or "out" (i.e. can Countries who do not have a National Society be admitted etc,) perhaps we should address the reservations I've outlined in my second paragraph ?


G.Valet
Nov.29,1996
... Jim very correctly mentions the relative inefficiency of the "Council of Affiliated and Federated Societies" which since the ISACXVIII meeting in Rimini in May 1996 is known under the name "Council of Associated Societies". ISAC promotes this activity in a global sense because the council addresses in principle all cytometric societies and UNO may serve as an analogy.
A federation or union of European national societies with the goals defined in: http://www.biochem.mpg.de/valet/efcsrat1.html has a clear orientation corresponding to the visible integration of the different European countries into the EU.
Without claiming that the EU is perfectly organized, it is clear that Europe even in science has been very much reshaped over the last few years. More and more funds are administrated by Brussels and even the national scientific organizations in the various countries like CNRS, DFG, MRC, Max-Planck-Society etc. are presently being gradually reshaped. The EU in science is therefore no vision but a fast coming reality which has to be addressed efficiently by discipline oriented scientific organisations like the cytometric national societies in order to suffice to the organizational needs in Europe.
I believe therefore that the efforts for the foundation of a European federation or union of cytometric societies should not be measured with or be related too closely to the certainly important efforts of ISAC to achieve global coordination in cytometry.


G.Valet
Nov.29,1996
... The refreshing part of this discussion is that we all have strong ideas but we are not really "biased" by now. To add a little bit to the acronym confusion we could also think of a European Society for Cytometry (ESC) or European Cytometry Society (ECS) instead of a federation or union. This offers the advantage of having personal and corporate members (e.g. national cytometric societies, working groups) in the same association. Whether ESC/ECS emerges from ESACP or whether ESACP would be a corporate member of ESC/ECS would have to be determined.
A counterargument could be that ESC/ECS and the national societies would then compete for the same members. This may be to some extent true but since ESC/ECS by definition treats cytometry issues of European concern, I would not think that this could constitute a serious problem to national cytometric societies.
My personal tendency is to have then ESC/ECS emerge from ESACP as the simplest solution. ESC/ECS foundation would clearly offer a better access for scientists from European countries without cytometric societies, a problem which has been convincingly outlined by Havard Danielsen and by Ole Laerum. We would also avoid the inactive "old guys club" into which a federation or union may indeed turn after a while.


A.Orfao,
Nov.29, 1996
... I am trying to answer the questions of Jean Luc, regarding the national societies. The Iberian Society of Cytometry currently has over 200 members and the executive board will address the situation of the proposed EUNCS the next 14th of December. Thus an official position will be taken probably at that meeting. My personal opinion has already been circulated.


G.Valet,
Dec.12, 1996
... the mailing list has become active today. It should facilitate the EFCS discussion because messages have only to be sent to the mailserver in order to be automatically redistributed to all members of the discussion forum.
... In continuation of the earlier discussion, I believe, a main topic is how the structure of a European association of cytometric societies should be. Once this point is clarified, it will be much easier to think about the details.
In my recollection there are so far two models:

I would encourage comments to these and earlier topics by all of you. It is clear that the idea of the foundation of a European cytometry association has not been officially discussed in some of the national societies. In so far much of this discussion represents personal views. These views should, however, be presented early on because they bring out the problems which have to be solved.

J.L.D'Hautcourt,
Dec.16,1996
... during the last AFC board meeting we have discussed again my proposals, taking into account your comments. It is obvious for some of us that some points could be updated in their formulation but we stay on ours position for their content. I have taken this opportunity to ask to the AFC secretary the exact number of members. December 1st there were 321 ordinary members and 29 corporate members.
Responding Prof. G.K. Valet's mail of 12 Dec 96 12:21 I'm definitively in favour of the first model, an Union. There are numerous reasons for that, the principal ones are:
First: As G. Brugal says in his mail of 28/11/96 17:53 :
From many years the national societies have extended their initial scope to all fields of Cytometry (Flow and image, Basic research or clinical applications). In addition to our annual four days meeting, we organize 2 or 3, special topics, one day meeting covering different fields. Last year, the AFC has also sponsored a one day meeting "cytometry in microbiology" and this year "DNA content in plant biology". We also organize every year a one day meeting in molecular cytogenetic (FISH, PRINS, CGH, ...). So I believe that NCS are better basis than individuals to form the EUNCS and to give it a broader scope.
Second: The NCS have a long tradition of democracy with periodical elections, annual general assembly and published status. They also publish many information letters for their members all along the year.
Third: The board members of NCS, very often have proved their ability to manage a society in terms of administration but also in terms of scientific initiatives. Althought many of them are not always recognized as the best scientists in the field, they promote collaboration between experts.
Fourth: Regarding the problem of countries without national societies, I will point out the fact that if we need a European Organisation involved in all fields of cytometry, we must provide to it enough financial power to defend the interrests of all the cytometrists (doing basic research or clinical applications). I don't think this is possible if only 260 pathologists agree to pay a little bit more than the subscription to the ACP journal as it is now. But that becomes true if NCS pay for more than, may be, two thousands european cytometrists. So, I consider if the NCS can mobilize most of the cytometrists, it seems normal that they have also the major responsabilities of the orientation of the union.
Of course we must organise something acceptable and democratic for the people of the countries without NCS, but only if they don't have the opportunity to adhere to a national society.
I would suggest that Guenter Valet make the ESACP directory available on a national basis to see, by comparing with NCS directory, how many ESACP members are orphans of NCS in countries with or without NCS.


G.Valet,
Dec.16,1996
... The Federation or Union is certainly attractive for its clearcut organisational structure.
As suggested earlier, ESACP in such a concept could remain the organizational cristallization point for histo- and cytopathology at the European level and constitute one of the member societies of a European cytometry association. ACP editorial board could be either shared or a histo- and cytopathological section could be established like e.g. Cytometry/CCC.
Like you, I hope for comments especially from those who did not yet communicate their thoughts.

J.Hemmer,
Dec.19,1996
... the idea to found a European Cytometric Society (ECS) has been disussed at the general meeting of the German Cytometric Society (DGZ). Although final decisions have not been made, the plenary agreed in supporting attempts to found a ECS and authorised the board members to enter into discussion on structure and scope of such a society.
That a ECS should support scientific exchange and should catalyse cooperation is nearly not worth mentioning. But there is still a strong need for such activities at European level, particularly in the non-biomedical fields in which only few members of national societies are working. The existence of national societies provides sufficient evidence of their necessity. We do not need further scientific justifications for an improved European cooperation.
I rather would like to address the strategic and political options a ECS would have. Cytometry means more than simply applying tools. It is a discipline of its own as it essentially contributes to our conceptual understanding of cellular functions, dynamics and heterogeneity. But this aspect has not yet been recognised by the majority of the scientific community and even less by those in charge of scientific administration. This is witnessed, for instance, by the experiences many of us have made that articles or grant applications were rejected by referees who obviously are incompetent in cytometry. Thus, activities of a ECS must include to propagate cytometry as a discipline of its own, to advocate establishing of independent cytometry units at university and institute levels, to claim competence in the field of cytometry and by this bringing influence to bear of European Commission funding and assist member societies in national fund raising.
For this, all the national members are needed. I personally would therefore prefer a union or federation of national societies. A new society with individual members would be at high risk of sudden death as most of the colleagues organised at the national level will not apply for membership. Such a rudimentary organisation would define their own aims and scopes which are unavoidably diverging from that of the national societies. A federation can be organised very effectively, the more so as delegates are democratically legitimised by their national organisations. Science is increasingly administered by the European Commission, we therefore need an organisation that represents our interests in Europe.


A.Orfao,
Dec.23, 1996
Through this communication I just want to confirm that the meeting of the EB of the Iberian Society of Cytometry was delayed to the next 18th of January and this is the reason why an official position did not come out earlier. I would also like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

M.Ormerod,
Dec.23,1996
Thank you for your letter and enclosure. The Cytometry Section of the RMS will meet on 8 January. We will discuss these issues then and report back to the European Group.
I totally agree with you that it is important that cytometrists have an active organsiation at the European level. Relations with the EU over a wide range of issue will become increasingly important.


D.van Bockstaele,
Jan.6, 1997
The board of the Belgian Association for Cytometry (BVC/ABC : Belgische Vereniging voor Cytometrie / Association Belge de Cytometrie) has had a first discussion on the proposals made by Guenter Valet concerning the foundation of a EFCS or a ECS and on the various inputs already made by other members of the discussion forum.
In principal we clearly want to encourage Guenters' efforts to install a European forum on Cytometry.
>From the discussion on the mailing list, it is however clear that some serious biases tend to occur and that some people may retreat and excert a defense strategy for their own "niche". In our opinion this is wrong and we should think about what is uniting us rather than what is separating us (Belgians are used to think in this way !).
We should not forget that cytometric techniques (already split in two major specialities i.e. flow and imaging) are being used in a lot of disciplines (both clinical and experimental hematology, immunology, pathology, molecular and cellular biology, etc...) by people from different backgounds (scientists, medical doctors, pharmacologists, engineers, etc...) : they are tools that should be used correctly in order to produce reliable results in our research or clinical work, work that is mostly published in journals of our specific discipline.
So in order to start to answer the question raised by Jim Watson, the federation should engage itself in making sure that the techniques (that unite us) are being performed in the best possible way by working on guidelines, procedures, quality control etc.. so that newcomers have some hold and so that the quality of the resulting data and articles (!) improves.
Everybody should be humble and recognise that one is only specialist in one's own field : the federation should be interdisciplinary and thus the board composition should not only reflect nationality ratios but also this interdisciplinarity and last but not least -as Havard Danielsen stated very correctly - quality !
If the federation will handle both image and flow cytometry and if the JACP is going to be the forum of this federation, than it is clear that the journal should broaden its scope and change its name. Again we should be humble : please take into account that a journal focused around techniques loses a lot of its impact once the techniques become fairly established : most of my publications for instance (although using FCM) are being send to journals of my discipline (i.e. experimental hematology/medicine) with higher impact factor.
Further to Jean-Luc's suggestion to give information on the national memberships I can say that the BVC/ABC has currently 161 members (including 16 company members) and is rather biased towards flow cytometric applications both in board- as in member composition. This is not by deliberate purposes : upon establishing the society very few people working in image responded. I think it is worth while that the existing societies should mention whether they are flow or image biased.

G.Valet,
Jan.8.1997
due to my absence from the laboratory over the Christmas and New Year days, the Internet updates of the EFCS site will be made with some delay. I want to thank the various recent contributors for their thoughtful comments and suggestions.


M.Spano,
Jan.9,1997
let me return your message by expressing my sincere hope that the forthcoming year will bring to you and to your family happiness and prosperity. After finishing my workload of the last part of the year (EC proposals and so on) I'd like to dedicate more time to the EFCS discussion.

J.Szollosi,
Jan.9, 1997
The Cell Analysis Section of the Hungarian Biophysical Society (HBS-CAS) is not an independent society but is a section (working group) of the Hungarian Biophysical Society. We have approximately 70 active members, and usually organize a half a day or one day symposium during the annual meetings of the Hungarian Biophysical Society.
The executive board of HBS-CAS have discussed the proposals put on the mail list server and found them very interesting.
We welcome the foundation of European Cytometry Society, and we are in favour of the model where both corporate membership of national societies as well as personal membership of individual scientist do exist. We doubt that every member of the (HBS-CAS) HCS would join the ECS for technical and also for financial reasons. A few members will join the ECS for sure, similarly to the ISAC. Six of our members are also members of the ISAC. The corporate membership of the HBS-CAS will provide a nice channel for dissemination of information from the ECS to the other members of our working group.
Since Hungary would like to join the EC in the future joining of our national working group to the ECS is greatly justified.
The ECS should collaborate with ISAC, we would like to propose a joint meeting with ISAC when the ISAC meeting is planned in Europe!

The scope of Analytical Cellular Pathology journal will broaden with the foundation of ECS, and the number of submitted papers should increase. Although it should be mentioned that broadening the scope will result in increased competition with other journals such as Cytometry or Bioimaging.

G.Valet,
Jan.9, 1997
Reply to Joe Gray:
thank you for the letter of Nov.22, 1996. It was only delivered yesterday due to its mailing by surface mail.
The national cytometric societies in Europe fulfill important functions for the local development of the cytometric discipline. The centralisation of science budgets and funding regulations as well as the increasing influence of the Brussels public health authorities in the course of the European unification process is paralleled, however, at present by the relative inability of the national cytometry societies to cope with this situation e.g. in view of influencing scientific budget planning, development of joint research projects etc. While collaborations of science groups e.g. between the East and West coast are common and unreflected reality due to the more ancient federative structure of the US, similar research initiatives in Europe are still relatively rare. A similar ease in scientific cooperation is required in Europe. The present efforts aim in this direction.
The positive attitude of ISAC towards this activity is very much appreciated. It is evident that the international cytometry network is strongest when set up in a complementary way and the present efforts are fully in line with this goal. In case of the EFCS/EUCS foundation, the joint organisation (see Szollosi) with ISAC of certain focus meetings, workshops or courses as well as the increased potential for the international efforts on standardisation, quality control and education in cytometry seem to be attractive challenges for the coming years.
Concerning the publication of ACP, the further development of the journal will largely depend on decisions of a future European Federation or Union of Cytometric Societies. While the preferential clinical orientation of ACP seems to be undisputed in the current discussion, possible changes may be made to attract more flow cytometric contributions and to rebalance the editorial board accordingly (see Brugal, van Bockstaele, D'Hautcourt, Szollosi) . In any case ACP reaches already now a more extended readership than corresponds to the ESACP members who are preferentially histo- and cytopathology i.e. image analysis oriented.
An electronic mailing list has been set up for the discussion forum on the EFCS/EUCS foundation. You are very welcome to follow the progress of the discussion on the Internet under http://www.biochem.mpg.de/valet/efcs.html
These Internet pages are presently not branched to our main Internet site i.e. the address is not generally known. This provides a semi-public privacy for the discussion until the EFCS/EUCS foundation will come into the more definitive phase where input from the general membership of the national cytometric societies will be sollicited.
I believe that the discussion group will appreciate your active participation. I will enter your E-mail address into the mailing list i.e. you will receive all messages and your own messages will be automatically redistributed to all participants of the discussion forum. Furthermore it seems useful to display your letter as well as this response letter on the EFCS Internet site to manifest the active interest of ISAC in this matter.


G.Valet,
Jan.10, 1997
the quick overview of the increasing number of contributions to the EFCS discussion forum has been facilitated on the EFCS Internet site by the installation of a "Flash Overview" file. This file contains the essential extracts of all messages ordered according to date.
Furthermore a table with the number of members of the various national societies was compiled from the available data. Please provide the missing numbers for the societies in Denmark, Italy, Poland, Switzerland and UK


J.Lawry,
Jan.10, 1997
... The RMS Cytometry Section is recognised by ISAC as the UK flow cytometry society. We represent some 100 cytometerists as members of the RMS, but there must be 400+ other potential members throughout the UK. We had our meeting on 8th January and discussed the concept of the European Federation.
In general terms we were in favour of the European Federation, and think that if it is formulated by/for cytometerists, it may meet its aims and ambitions beter than the ESACP has done to date, which has always appeared more as a Pathology forum than a cytometry one. We consider a European network to be a valuable resource for cytometerists. Also, by obtaining opinions from all national societies and establishing basic terms of reference, it may prove to be more successful than the ISAC equivalent.
We consider that basic questions must be addressed, and answers agreed upon. This may take some considerable time if European political issues are anything to go by!! For example:-
1. what are the aims of the society - what does it hope to achieve (short term and long term)?
2. what would membership offer to the cytometerist, that membership of national societies and ISAC does not provide already - and what would the cost be, ie. Why should someone join?
3. could membership be via ISAC with a small additional charge such as for clinical cytometry?
4. what lines of communication would be established?
5. what conferences would it organise and/or support?
6. who would be on the committee, how would they communicate, if they meet who would pay?
7. We think that the European Federation would only function to serve all cytometerists in Europe if it were to become an active organisation under the umbrella of ISAC, retaining strong links with ISAC at all times, possibly using their skills, experience, administrative knowledge etc. Perhaps on the years ISAC didn't hold full meetings, the European section could?
Certainly the European Federation would form the basis for excellent means of communication for meetings etc (for which I draw your attention to our WEB page for news of meetings we are organising with the RMS For more information about membership, contact the Royal Microscopical Society: info@rms.org.uk
So in conclusion, we are in favour of the European Federation, but there are many issues to resolve.


G.Valet,
Jan.13, 1997
...thank you for communicating the opinion of the RMS Cytometry Section and for the basically positive attitude towards this effort. I will address your points in the sequence of the message.
1. the aims of a Federation of European Cytometric Societies are obtained by reexpressing the present deficiencies in the European organisation of the cytometric discipline from the position papers of Sep.23 and Nov.19 positively as goals. Such a document will be shortly available on the EFCS Internet site.
Short term goals concern the foundation of the federation.
Long term goals concern the increased emphasis of the cytometric aspect in cell and disease related research projects of the EU with the aim to make more funds accessible for cytometric research in Europe. Since at this point one is in competition with other disciplines, national cytometric societies will have a hard time to access European funds on their own or to influence EU research policies. Long term goals concern also the development of cytometry as a discipline both at the electronic level in the Internet as well as at the institutional level in Europe.
2. EFCS membership will offer favorable access
- to EFCS meetings
- to the ACP journal in its new shape
- to electronic databases for keeping track of the results of the various quality control and standardization efforts in clinical cytometry at the European level and
- to the active participation in the development of the cytometric aspects in the European health system.
These facilities are not available through the national cytometric societies or through ISAC.
The financial details cannot be answered precisely without an existing organisation. A predominantly electronic organisation as well as meetings of officers, council and committees during conferences together with the hosting of EFCS meetings by various national cytometric societies by turn-around, should keep the costs within acceptable limits.
3. It is not likely that the present ISAC organisation could efficiently advance the European issues for a small additional charge. In addition, ISAC is not exclusively organizing clinical cytometry in the US because the clinical division (CCD/clinical committee) of ISAC, CCS, GLIIFCA and the Chesapeake Bay Consortium are active in parallel in the US.
4. see last paragraph of 2.
5. EFCS will continue the biannual meeting sequence of ESACP and therefore profit from the gaps between ISAC meetings. In addition focus meetings can be organized. They are by definition open for coorganisation with other societies like ISAC or RMS (e.g. CYTO95 meeting in Southampton between RMS and ESACP).
6. The organizational structure of EFCS i.e. officers, councillors, committee members has to be worked out. According to the present development of the discussion, a federation of national cytometric societies with individual scientist membership only via the national cytometric societies seems to be the tendency of the majority. Communication links will be by E-mail or Inter/Intranet. The close collaboration of EFCS with European Working Groups as task oriented associations e.g. European Working Group for Clinical Cell Analysis with EFCS offers interesting new aspects.
Travel costs for committee members cannot be paid by EFCS in the early phase if one wants to keep the EFCS administration costs low. Additional income for these and other purposes can be generated from meetings, from royalties of the ACP journal, from other specific publications or from industrial sponsors.
7. The cytometric discipline forms increasingly a world wide network of nationally, regionally and world wide (ISAC) operating societies. A network is by definition distributive and interactive. EFCS as a regional cytometry organization for Europe will integrate into the world wide network and make all efforts to positively coordinate its activities internationally with ISAC in order to efficiently develop the cytometric discipline. It is difficult to see which advantage a particular "umbrella" function of ISAC should offer to EFCS and why EFCS should operate e.g. its administration via the ISAC office in Breckenridge.
All national cytometric societies in Europe have developed their own identity over the past few years and have always administrated themselves. It is my firm conviction that the representative of the various national cytometric societies will be motivated and capable to develop the regional European identity according to the specific European requirements.


J.Watson,
Jan.14, 1997
I'm responding to John Lawry's e-mail of 10-JAN-97 and your e-mail reply Guenther posted on 13-JAN-97. As president-elect of ISAC I can forsee that I will have some responsibility for the interrelationships between ISAC and EFCS when I take over the Presidency of ISAC in Feb 1998 and I've included Joe GRAY, current ISAC president, in this discussion loop. I've also included John PARKER current president of the Clinical Cytometry Society (CCS) and Carl STEWART who is CCS president elect.
1) I would see EFCS and ISAC working in parallel and NOT with EFCS working through ISAC. ISAC is in the process of changing its Executive Director and soon will be working through the Chicago office (Sherwood Group) not through the Breckenridge office.
2) There are many issues common to ISAC and EFCS but there are also differences. Common issues generally are no problem but differences are. Having a strong group such as EFCS representing the European Societies can only be "good" for Europe - particularly for obtaining funding from the European Union (EU) and influencing the directions of Cytometry in the clinical context. These are particular European issues and I do not believe that ISAC could, should or would be able to be effective in these areas in Europe. However, lessons learnt, and being learnt, by ISAC could be useful for ESCS and initiatives being developed by EFCS, such as the e-mail and www communications, are lessons which should be learnt by ISAC.
3) I agree with Guenther and I quote from his e-mail - "ISAC is not exclusively organizing clinical cytometry in the US because the clinical division (CCD/clinical committee) of ISAC, CCS, GLIIFCA and the Chesapeake Bay Consortium are active in parallel in the US." ISAC and CCS have differences to resolve which are being addressed and I see parallels between CCS and EFCS and also between EFCS and ISAC. What we need to do above all else is to define areas of common interest in order to pool resources so we do not duplicate effort. This will allow the various groupings (EFCS, ISAC, CCS etc.) to concentrate their efforts on problems which pertain to their particular geographical location and political climate.
4) It is also encouraging, and I quote again from Guenters e-mail, that "EFCS as a regional cytometry organization for Europe will integrate into the world wide network and make all efforts to positively coordinate its activities internationally with ISAC in order to efficiently develop the cytometric discipline." Perhaps in the long term we (ISAC and EFCS) should encourage other "geographical entities" eg. Pacific Rim (not a small entity) to adopt similar organisational strategies.
5) In responding I'm assuming that EFCS is, "de facto", a new entity from about now. I'm worried about people who wish to join-up but who are not attached to a national organisation because they have no national organisation. We could approach this in 3 ways.
(a) Such people should be encouraged to form a national organisation
(b) EFCS could find a way for individuals to join or
(c) they could join the national society of their nearst neighbour.


G.Valet,
Nov.14, 1996
as an immediate short answer I want to thank Jim for his quite encouraging comments. Due to the inability to enlarge the mailing list this evening by the E-mail addresses of John Parker and Carleton Stewart, I will communicate my comments only by tomorrow morning.


G.Valet,
Jan.15, 1997
... the mailing list has been extended today by the addresses of John Parker and Carlton Stewart (CCS), Ken Bauer and Peter Rabinovitch (Clinical Committee/ISAC)...
I am personally in line with points 1 - 4 of your message of Jan.14.
5) The issue of the non represented scientists is quite important. As you mention there are different possibilities to take care of this problem. At the present time one can only say that it is the clear intention to assure access of non represented European scientists to EFCS. The details have to be elaborated according to one or several of the outlined possibilities
EFCS Constitution Proposal:
The FEBS and IFCC constitutions will be shortly provided following telephone calls to Mme Thirion of IFCC and Vito Turk of FEBS yesterday. A first proposal for the EFCS constitution will then be provided as www-pages for further discussion as fast as possible .
International Cytometry Network:
The increasing establishment of a multi-society international cytometry network represents the most visible sign for the gradual transition from "tool" cytometry to "system" cytometry as a self-standing scientific discipline. The organisation of "theme" oriented cytometry sessions at meetings as well as the formation of Working Groups in clinical cytometry, with members from various clinical and experimental disciplines are other indicators of this development.
System cytometry will provide improved access to the recognition of individual patient disease prognosis in the clinical environment which is important for optimal and individualized patient treatment as well as for the minimization of unwanted therapeutic side effects. The elaboration of standardized multiparameter data classification (SMDC) for this purpose constitutes an important international task. Its success will depend on good interlaboratory standardization and quality control. The research aspects for the understanding of complex cellular interaction mechanisms in hemato/immunopoiesis, dysplasia/cancer cell formation, cell proliferation/differentiation/death are of similar importance with cytometry offering a substantial number of conceptual advantages over the exclusively biochemical methodology.
It seems obvious that bundling of efforts and international coordination are the best guarantees for fast scientific progress. I believe the majority of us think along these lines. The foundation of EFCS will substantially advance cytometry work in Europe and provide a significant additive potential for positive international feedbacks.
Electronic Discussions:
The advantage of the present E-mail/Internet discussion are:
- high relevance
- fast and precise responses
- astonishing progress
- ease by self generating protocol
- cost and time effective for discussants as well as for dissemination of results
Like you, I am convinced of the substantial potential of electronic discussions for the advancement of international cytometry.


G.Valet,
Jan.17, 1997
... the IFCC Constitution and Bylaws were received today. The constitution is available at: http://www.biochem.mpg.de/valet/efcsfed1.html The display of the Bylwas will follow shortly. This provides a first impression on the structure of a federation of scientific societies. The corresponding FEBS document will hopefully be available from next week on for display on the Internet.



A.Sampedro
Jan.23, 1997

... Thank you very much for your information about the ESACP membership and election procedure. As you know, last Saterday a meeting of the Executive Committee took place in Madrid. The comments concerning EFCS were unanimously favorable, but an official declaration about this matter will be sent to you from A.Orfao as the SIC President ....


J.Larsen,
Jan.28, 1997
... The Danish Society for Flow Cytometry was founded in 1988. It has at present 86 members. Of these, the 81 memberships are personal. The remaining 5 memberships represent companies and have no voting rights. ....


G.Valet,
Jan.28, 1997
.... the FEBS constitution was just received and is now displayed on the EFCS node. With both, the FEBS and the IFCC constitutions on-line, I will shortly provide a first tentative draft of the EFCS constitution. The draft will be displayed on the Internet for discussion. There will be cross references in the draft. They will permit a quick judgment of the EFCS proposal in relation to both model constitutions.
Although constitution and bylaw reading is not very popular, I want to ask for your attention. Besides unproblematic paragraphs there will certainly be paragraphs which require discussion. It may not be possible to resolve all issues by electronic discussion but one should be able to at least clearly define the problem areas.
Joergen Larsen has just reported the membership of the Danish cytometric society. The numbers have been included into the national societies membership table.


B.Brando
Jan.31, 1997
I have submitted to the Council of the Italian Society for Cytometry (Gruppo Italiano di Citometria, GIC) the proposals made by Guenter Valet about the creation of an European Federation of Cytometric Societies (EFCS).
It is a quite delicate matter, but we feel that at last some steps towards this aim must be moved right now. The major prompt to some form of European Federation of national Cytometric Societies in our opinin resides in the very close deadline established for European economical reunification. In other words, Europe will be a single economical (and perhaps political) entity in a very short time an a number of European-wide regulatory issues in the field of diagnostic procedures are rapidly taking place. The recent approval of the Biomed 2 European project, which gathers research and clinical cytometry centers from 13 EC and non-EC Countries is another good point for the creation of some specific european organization in the field of cytometry.
Keeping this in mind, the following points summarize the conclusions drawn by the GIC Council reunion held on December 1996:
1) EFCS should be established as a regional entity not in contrast with ISAC aims and activities. On the contrary, EFCS and ISAC together should cooperate and find synergy in a number of technical, regulatory and educational issues.
2) The multidisciplinary nature of cytometry must be mantained by EFCS, without missing any scientifical, technical and applicative aspect. Moreover, no restrictive indications (i. e. clinical, flow, image etc.) must be included in its name.
3) We basically disagree on the joining of ESACP along with national Cytometry socities in the EFCS. ESACP is an European scientific society mostly devoted to clinical pathology. A number of reputed scientist from varous nations are in the ESACP council and ACP magazine board, as well as in the council of their respective national cytometric societies. Therefore the existence of of ESACP in its current configuration seems a major obstacle to the creation of EFCS. We cannot of course want ESACP to dissolve as a society, but either ESACP does not join EFCS at all, or some form of painless mixing without creating useless duplications must be sought for, in view of the successful birth of EFCS.
4) the same issues must be considered about the Analytical Cellular Pathology magazine. Should this magazine become the official journal of EFCS ? What about the relationship between ESACP and APC magazine once it becomes putatively the official journal of EFCS?
5) In a first step we think it will be easier to establish some form of cooperation among selected members of the national cytometry societies by means of an ad hoc committee. This group may be given for instance a 2-years commitment to arrange and establish experimentally the structure of EFCS. The members of the committee will be nominated by the national societies, with some seats also for the Nations not represented by cytometric societies.
Special care should be paid to the balance among the membership weight of the national societies and the spectrum of all scientific interests that must be represented in EFCS. The more widespread form of application, i.e. by single individuals, must be kept apart, at least temporarily. The single individual application to EFCS must find all the other organizational issues (i.e. membership fee ? with or without Journal subscription ? Which journal ?) already well solved by the first restricted committee.


A.Orfao
Feb.2, 1997
... The Executive Board of the Iberian Society of Cytometry (SIC) met the last 18th of January in Madrid. The agenda of the Meeting included discussion regarding the creation of a European Federation of National Cytometry Societies.
A unanimous position existed regarding this which is summarized below. However, before enumerating the most important points of agreement between the members of the SIC executive board it should be noted that a decision on the possible relationship of the Society with the European Federation of National Cytometry Societies only can be decided in a definitive way once it has been voted in a General Assembly (which will take place during the next Congress of the SIC the first week of June. Once this is clarified, the position of the Executive Board is by unanimous agreement as follows:
- The creation of an European Federation of National Cytometry Societies is well-viewed and stimulated by the Society.
- We congratulate and thank Gunter Valet for the way he has organized the discussions which have been found interesting and stimulating.
- The discussion on the creation of the Federation is a matter which should not come together with the items related to the European Society of Analytical Cellular Pathology (ESACP)since these are two completely different issues which have to be clearly separated.
- Although many interesting personal opinions have appeared at the present point, an Official position and action has to be taken by the National Societies by establishing official contacts between them. In this sense the ESACP could be seen as another society that could participate in the general discussion. In this sense the Iberian Society of Cytometry will delegate in, one or more of its members as representatives for these discussions.
- Once the official contacts between the National Societies have been established, an agenda is needed in which both the times and items for discussion are included.


G.Valet,
Feb.3, 1997
... following the positive opinions of the Iberian (SIC) and Italian (GIC) cytometric societies, the following overall picture emerges as a result of this discussion forum:
1.) the national cytometric societies or sections of Belgium, Danmark, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal/Spain, Hungary and UK are positively decided to enter into closer negotiations on the formation of a European Federation or Union of Cytometric Societies while the Polish and Swiss societies have so far not actively participated in the discussion
2.) the French ( J.L.D'Hautcourt, Nov.27), Italian ( B.Brando, Jan.31) and Iberian ( A.Orfao, Feb.2) societies explicitely express their intent to keep the EFCS foundation process strictly separate (see proposal G.Valet, Nov.26, 1996) from ESACP while the Belgian, Danish, German, Hungarian and UK societies have not expressed a significant concern about this point.
As an obvious consequence, negotiations on EFCS foundation are only promissing when organizationally uncoupled from the ESACP and ACP issues. Following the proposal of B.Brando (Jan.31) the national cytometric societies of Belgium, Danmark, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal/Spain, Hungary and the UK should officially nominate representatives to form an EFCS Foundation Council which from now on will take the further actions in its hands.



2002 G.Valet
Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Am Klopferspitz 18a, D-82152 Martinsried, Germany, INTERNET: http://www.biochem.mpg.de/valet/efcs.html
Last Update: Apr.18,2002