Forecasting Forum

The Beginnings

The ephmra Online Forecasting Forum was set up in the second half of 2018 by Erik Holzinger/groupH and Ben Collins/Boehringer Ingelheim to provide a place for industry and agencies to engage and continue discussing topics of interest in areas of Forecasting and Data Analysis throughout the year. The idea followed a lively Forecasting Roundtable event at the 2018 ephmra Conference in Basel.

Currently 36 individuals from 11 Pharma companies (AZ, Bayer, BI, Celgene, Eisai, J&J, Roche, Sanofi, Pierre Fabre and others) and 5 agencies (Aurum, groupH, JD, Kantar, SKIM) have signed up to the forum with roughly half of all participants joining the 2-montly 1 hour lunch time TCs on a regular basis.

Objectives and Target Audience

The forum started with the idea of regular, easy-to-access 1 hour online meetings that discuss one or more topics that are of high interest and where comments from different perspectives add VALUE in a broader sense. The discussion so far stayed clear of any potential conflict at franchise or indication level or where member organisations may directly compete with each other.


The online meetings are for members only, free and accessible by all experienced individuals with a forecasting or data analytics background.


Modus Operandi

From the outset the forum has been working along a set of guidelines that govern the interactions and describe the forum ethos – a modified version of ‘Chatham House Rules’.

The 2-monthly 1 hour dial-ins are scheduled for Friday lunch times and are chaired by Erik Holzinger or Ben Collins or another guest chair and typically start with an opening statement introducing the topic, which may or may not be supported by potential briefing materials. The discussion aims to reveal real-world experience with methodologies and techniques and we look to challenge, probe and encourage questions and comments from anyone taking part. Adherence to the underlying guidelines encourages an open and honest discussion.

Every meeting is recorded and transcribed and distributed to all participants for reference as part of the offering.  

In parallel, all members are also signed up to a free and simple SLACK and DropBox space. This allows the sharing of documents, follow-up discussions and easy access to a repository of useful content such as historic and recent publications and papers during 365 days per year.

Towards the end of 2018 the forum researched its own needs, preferences and topics of interest in more detail. 

Future Outlook

For 2019/2020 the forum will cover an expanded and updated schedule of topics for the monthly dial-ins, the chance to meet your peers at a first face-to-face meeting hosted by a member company and we continue to facilitate a Forecasting Roundtables at the annual ephmra conferences. We are also developing a META analysis project in Forecasting pulling together historic samples of forecasting for analysis from member companies.

If you are interested in joining the group please contact