Medical Imaging for Improved Patient Care

Project Number SPB N° 28


Professor Arturo Brunetti, CNR, Italy.
Professor Olav Haraldseth, NTNU, Norway.


The rapid development in medical research produces a continuous stream of new knowledge about disease processes, new therapeutic targets and the complex relationship between a person’s genome and his/her related risk for disease. New technology is being developed for all aspects of patient care and the potential benefits of personalised medicine is gaining acceptance.  

Medical imaging can now play a central role in the global healthcare system as it contributes to improved patient outcome and more cost-efficient healthcare in all major disease entities. More and better research in medical imaging is needed in Europe to increase our knowledge about disease processes and therapy management with the long-term goal of improving the health of European citizens.  

The European Science Foundation’s medical section, the European Medical Research Councils (MED (formerly EMRC)) engaged in this science policy activity because medical imaging plays a role of ever increasing importance at all levels of the healthcare system. MED (formerly EMRC) assembled a group of European high-level experts in this field and conducted a Strategic Workshop in November 2006 to put a focus on research in the wide area of medical imaging, to analyse the status quo of medical imaging in Europe and to develop a policy for optimal use of research resources at the European level.  

The Science Policy’s recommendations call for:  

  • Obtaining more and better medical imaging research in Europe through:
    - improved European collaboration, in particular between different universities, between imaging specialists and clinical doctors, and between different imaging modalities
    - establishment of interdisciplinary research groups of sufficient size and with access to long-term funding
    - improved collaboration between academia and industry where research goals are defined by academia  
  • Obtaining more evidence-based medicine at European level through:
    - health technology evaluation
    - validations of standard clinical practice for optimal use of imaging
    - socio-economic measure of these new health technologies  
  • Establishing appropriate education/training for widespread translation of new technology into new clinical practice 
  • Developing advanced methods within medical imaging into user-friendly tools that can be applied also by non-expert users at the initial point of care 
  • Planing and funding both short- and long-term research activities  



The Science Policy Briefing (SPB) was published on 22 October 2007. This SPB is the result of a strategic workshop which took place in Trondheim, Norway on 2-3 November 2006.