Welcome Message


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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It is a great honour and a privilege to invite you to Birmingham and to the United Kingdom, for the 3rd year of the 9th cycle of the European Postgraduate Course in Paediatric Neurosurgery being held between the 26th to the 30th May 2014. Indeed the course returns to the United Kingdom after a 10 year absence and we are doubly proud to bring it back to UK shores.

Over time this course has become much more than a tradition. Though not mandatory, it has become an essential step in the training of paediatric neurosurgeons across Europe and the wider world. In the United Kingdom, the BPNG (British Paediatric Neurosurgery Group) and the SBNS have recommended that completion of the ESPN Paediatric Neurosurgery Course, is a desirable certification and most recent appointments to paediatric neurosurgery would have completed such a course.

Thanks to a highly-skilled teaching faculty, the course has a well merited reputation for high scientific content. Young neurosurgeons benefit not only from the experience of the senior colleagues, but also of other professionals such as neurologists, neuroradiologists, neuro-oncologists, neuropathologists, and geneticists. To this end, the various sessions will reinforce, harmonize and improve the alliance between paediatric neurosurgery and contiguous disciplines, putting the paediatric patient at the centre of the diagnostic and therapeutic process. The Scientific Program features both formal lectures and hands-on workshops, enhancing interaction between teachers and students. It will highlight the specificity of paediatric neurosurgery, aiming at the formation of young neurosurgeons.

This year the addressed topics will be Epilepsy, spasticity, infection, vascular pathologies and ventricular tumours. The Course will take place at the expansive and secluded Coombe Abbey Hotel, the oldest Cistercian Abbey in England, now converted into a hotel.

Birmingham is right at the centre of England and is its working heart. Birmingham is renowned for its historical and artistic heritage and for its multi-ethnic community.  It is the second most populous city in the United Kingdom with well over 1 million residents. The city lies within the West Midlands conurbation, the most populous urban area outside of London.
Starting from humble beginnings as a medium-sized market town during the medieval period, Birmingham grew to international prominence in the 18th century at the heart of the Midlands Enlightenment and subsequent Industrial Revolution, which saw the town at the forefront of worldwide developments in science, technology and economic organisation, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society. By 1791 it was being hailed as “the first manufacturing town in the world”. Birmingham’s distinctive economic profile, with thousands of small workshops practising a wide variety of specialised and highly skilled trades, encouraged exceptional levels of creativity and innovation and provided a diverse and resilient economic base for industrial prosperity that was to last into the final quarter of the 20th century. Its resulting high level of social mobility also fostered a culture of broad-based political radicalism that under leaders from Thomas Attwood to Joseph Chamberlain was to give it a political influence unparalleled in Britain outside London and a pivotal role in the development of British democracy.

Today Birmingham is a major international commercial centre, ranked as a beta−world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network; and an important transport, retail, events and conference hub. With a GDP of $90bn (2008 estimate), the economy of the urban area is the second largest in the UK and the 72nd largest in the world. The World G8 Summit in 1998 was held in Birmingham.
The city’s major cultural institutions, including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, enjoy international reputations, and it has vibrant and influential grassroots art, music and literary scenes.

The Big City Plan is a large redevelopment plan currently underway in the city centre with the aim of making Birmingham one of the top 20 most liveable cities in the world within 20 years.

Birmingham’s six universities make it the largest centre of higher education and academic research in the United Kingdom outside London.

People from Birmingham are called ‘Brummies’’, a term derived from the city’s nickname of ‘Brum’.

I send each and everyone of you a very warm welcome to Birmingham, the heart of England!

Yours sincerely,





Guirish A. Solanki