The Belgian IBD Research and Development (BIRD) group consists of effective members united in the Operational Board (= Governing Board, the Scientific Committee (SciCom), the Educational Committee (EduCom), BINAstoria committee) and joined members who are the supporting members, including the members of the Working Groups and the BIRD Office.
The aim is to have a composition in all groups as diverse as possible in terms of gender, affiliation (academic/non-academic centre) and national languages.
The Board governs the organisation and is the decision-making body of the BIRD. Its primary focus is to streamline all activities with the mission and objectives of the BIRD for education, clinical research and practice guidance. The board is the point of contact for national and international collaborations and sets the outlines for the strategy to be pursued in terms of study policy and interactions with national authorities, pharmaceutical companies other study groups.
The general assembly is the gathering of all BIRD members. Every 3 years, the members of the general assembly elect the board members and the members of the various committees, by whom they want to be represented. The assembly meets in regular sessions, 3 times a year, providing a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of educational and scientific topics. Our members are strongly encouraged to actively participate in our projects and activities.
The role of SciCom within the BIRD is to evaluate and discuss proposals for scientific studies (pharmaceutical trials, investigator-initiated trials, registries, …) and to provide an opinion about these proposals to the Board. Interaction with other national study groups, is maintained through the ECCO national study group platform via SciCom’s national ECCO representative. Gastrointestinal units are encouraged and supported by us to set up their own research centre. We aspire to increase the quality of research in IBD by organising training for clinical trial centres (i.e., GCP practical course, mentorship).
EduCom is the educational committee of BIRD. It is within the mission of EduCom to facilitate ongoing education on IBD for physicians, nurses, clinical trial staff, etc. Therefore, we focus on strong collaborations with the patient organisations, BINAstoria and our partners from the pharmaceutical companies to develop state-of-the-art educational material that is promoted and distributed via the network of BIRD and our partners. EduCom takes a central role in writing national guidelines and position statements in order to harmonize the management of IBD on a national level and in accordance with the ECCO guidelines supervised by EduCom’s national ECCO representative.
BINAstoria is a national association that connects IBD nurses and IBD study coordinators. BINAstoria aims to provide an effective framework for communication and cooperation between Belgian IBD nurses and study coordinators. By developing educational material, we aim to inform and ameliorate the knowledge of IBD of health care practitioners and patients. BINAstoria also advocates a specialized education for IBD nurses and study coordinators and strives for recognition as specialized nurses. In doing so, we want to ensure that all patients with IBD are supported by a specialized nurse who can act as a low-threshold contact point and ensure a holistic approach together with a multidisciplinary team.
From the beginning, BIRD has always focused on creating a stimulating and welcoming environment for everybody in the organization. BIRD believes that an inclusive work environment strengthens BIRD's creative and innovative goals. We want to extend our commitment by pursuing a work environment based on inclusion and diversity where everyone is treated equally and with respect. Everyone, regardless of gender, ethnic and social background, nationality, religious or political convictions, sexual orientation, age and position, should be able to develop and flourish within our organization. Each person has their own unique combination of such characteristics, and some of these characteristics directly affect how people feel at work. By taking these into account, BIRD can work more effectively and efficiently, with people who are more motivated and engaged. In summary, BIRD wishes to a build a culture where people feel they can truly be themselves.
Therefore, BIRD welcomes the initiative of the Horizon Europe (= the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation) and its requirements with regard to Gender Equality. BIRD aligns its approach on wellbeing and more specifically on Gender Equality with the requirements of the eligibility criterion of the Horizon Europe Framework Program for Research and Innovation.
The BIRD Gender Equality Plan was created in November 2022. Download the full plan here