Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

KidneyConnect Report Summary

Project ID: 602422
Funded under: FP7-HEALTH
Country: Ireland

Final Report Summary - KIDNEYCONNECT (A Gateway to European Kidney Research Resources - KidneyConnect)

Executive Summary:
KidneyConnect program was planned to meet the following objectives:
(1) Building a comprehensive European resource map and think-tank for optimized future strategies;
(2) Establishing roadmaps for faster translation from discovery to patient, health systems and wide societal benefits;
(3) Linking together pockets of special expertise and their resources without unnecessary duplication;
(4) A network for highest scientific and cross discipline interactions;
(5) A visible profile of this research field among collaborators, industry, European health care systems and other key stakeholders to fully comprehend the importance of kidney health and attract new, committed researchers into the area;
(6) Empowered performance for the research community, better rewards from industrial interactions, support to new business models as start-ups, spin-offs and service provision for full societal benefits (as a general KidneyConnect outcome);
(7) Sustainable links to best Chinese Universities for outreach to fast growing research and development of markets.
The set objectives were met in an increasingly challenging research environment throughout Europe. However, KidneyConnect has been remarkably successful by:
1) Providing valuable resource maps of European research capacities, expertises available and connected pockets of special expertises in a comprehensive way to form a genuine collaborative research environment and “think-tank” activity in the field of nephrology throughout Europe. Notably, these activities have served well the research community also outside KidneyConnect. In summary, KidneyConnect has efficiently served as a single entry point and one-stop-shop to European renal research which has been actively exploited throughout the program.
-Providing strategic guidance from academic innovation to SMEs to industry. This has been very helpful to participating academic units and contents of KidneyConnect concept will remain as permanent assets for any renal research in Europe. Notably, the direct links to BigPharma are scrutinized and approaches formalizedfor the benefit of single European research units.
-Providing highly valued information, practices, common approaches and a trusted stepping stone to collaborations in the best research centers in China.
- KidneyConnect has been a highly valued springboard to personal advances during KidneyConnect lifetime , e.g. in winning ERC grants, significant posts in international renal research organizations (including the International Society of Nephrology, ISN; European Renal Association (ERA-EDTA); highest positions in high ranking global universities or highest positions in organizing renal research in international pharma; coordinatorships in subsequent European research consortia in the field; establishment of trusted and sustainable European renal research visibility in China with a number of active collaborations established and visibility of KidneyConnect also in Chinese National TV (CCTV).
-Establishment of a platform to keep the highly experienced Alumni of KidneyConnect program in active touch with the field, keeping their practical connections and fame at the perusal of KidneyConnect program.

Project Context and Objectives:
The high quality and long traditions of European renal research have been well established during the last 30-40 years, with several milestone observations made first in Europe. However, too often the subsequent result valorization has slipped outside Europe to global units with best resourcing available and connections scrutinized with Pharmaceutical industry. European research has, moreover, suffered from splitting of resources to poorly collaborating, isolated pockets. This has led to less impact and visibility as well as less practical achievements in diagnostics, new pharmaceuticals and lead molecules for direct patient benefit.
The objectives of KidneyConnect were thus planned to include the following:
(1) Building a comprehensive European resource map and think-tank for optimized future research strategies;
(2) Establishing roadmaps for faster translation from discovery to patient, health systems and wide societal benefits;
(3) Linking together pockets of special expertise and their resources without unnecessary duplication;
(4) A network for highest scientific and cross discipline interactions;
(5) A visible profile of this research field among collaborators, industry, European health care systems and other key stakeholders to fully comprehend the importance of kidney health and attract new, committed researchers into the area;
(6) Empowered performance for the research community, better rewards from industrial interactions, support to new business models as start-ups, spin-offs and service provision for full societal benefits (as a general KidneyConnect outcome);
(7) Sustainable links to best Chinese Universities for outreach to fast growing research and development of markets.
With these objectives, KidneyConnect has succeeded in bringing together the best European kidney research excellence to underpin nationally funded programs under
a) Discovery and Future Technologies
b) New Research Platforms
c) Translational and
d) Clinical Podocyte Research to create connected capacities, access to well trained talents and to optimize strategies for industry-academia cowork.
In addition to resource maps, KidneyConnect has supported international congresses, training courses, talent coaching, special seminars and has built systematically relations to key stakeholders. A particular goal has been to build sustainable partnering connections to best Kidney Research Units in China.
Due to the limited funds available, main KidneyConnect main goal has been to provide roadmaps, think-tank, and sustainable network activities and resources for shared data -and sample repositories and, as a result, to achieve funding from European programs.

Project Results:
1. KIDNEY CONNECT PARTNER MEETINGS
a) KidneyConnect partner meetings have served as vehicle to coordinate, update and plan future activities as a general “think-tank” within the different research streams. Partner meetings have been arranged in association with larger international meetings of the field to optimize the reach to other researchers and clinicians in the filed, trainees, industry as well as patient organizations. Additionally, this has offered a cost-efficient model to avoid additional travel costs and also otherwise achieve efficiency.
In addition to the scientific progress reports, KidneyConnect members have successfully particupated in European Union funded programs.
b) KidneyConnect program meetings have been arranged in association with the following International Congresses:
1) American Society of Nephrology (ASN), Atlanta, November 5th, 2013
2) European Diabetic Nephropathy Study Group meeting, May 16th, 2014 (subgroup meeting)
3) European Renal Association meeting, Amsterdam, May 30th, 2014
4) 10th International Podocyte meeting, Freiburg, June 6th, 2014
5) World Congress of Nephrology, Hong Kong, June 14th, 2014
6) Taskgroup meeting of Chinese Society of Nephrology, Beijing, September 2014
7) European Congress for clinical and research in Nephrology, Milan, December 5th, 2014
8) Board meeting of Chinese Society of Nephrology, Guangzhou, February 3rd, 2015
9) World Congress of Nephrology, Cape Town, March 3rd, 2015
10) European Renal Association Congress, London, May 29th, 2015
11) First Congress on Renal Fibrosis, Aachen, June 16th
12) First Sino-European Symposium on Innovative Renal Research, Guangzhou, September 18th, 2015
13) Board meeting of Chinese Society of Nephrology, Guangzhou, December 3rd, 2015
14) Second Sino-European symposium in discovery kidney research, Guangzhou, March 31-April 1st, 2016
15) Final KidneyConnect meeting, Vienna, May 20th, in association with the European Renal Association (ERA-EDTA) in Vienna, Austria.
Typically, KidneyConnect has had its own stand, brochures or otherwise arranged sharing of information material of KidneyConnect activities. Notably, these events have been open for access to outsiders and no participation fees have been charged. New members to join the KidneyConnect community have been actively invited to become “associate members”.
3. CONNECTIONS TO CHINA
KidneyConnect has actively developed collaborations to the leading Chinese research centers, universities and local industries. The KidneyConnect approach to bring European expertise to China is considered timely and highly appreciated and, thus, direct contacts have been established to Universities and best research institutes in Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
KidneyConnect board has repeatedly considered the opportunities and the current approach to establish a Collaborative Center for Innovative Renal Research in Guangzhou. It has been considered very important, to bridge the gap in European funding and get access also to Chinese funds. The plan progresses favorably, up to the level of sourcing major Chinese funds to support building a remarkable infrastructure for housing the Center activities. Notably, Sino-European connections are providing highly appreciated sustainability even after KidneyConnect lifetime.
4. COMMUNICATION, IMPLEMENTATION
As stated in the KidneyConnect agreement, the main formats of communication have included:
a) Regular meetings for updates (see above)
b) Establishing KidneyConnect internet page (www.kidneyconnect.eu) to share key information of the program contents, goals and member news. This page has also included a welcome avenue for new associated members. Internet and intranet pages have been updated regularly, with KidneyConnect Twitter account delivering a method for breaking news important in the field.
Note, that all contents on the internet pages have been published in English and in Chinese. Furthermore, all the gathered information has been opened, via the public KidneyConnect internet –page to the whole renal research community.

Potential Impact:
The KidneyConnect consortium has achieved all its goals, objectives and deliverables with the following exploitation:
1) The European Resource maps, patient and sample databases have been established and published under KidneyConnect internet page for the whole renal research community use.
2) Connections to all major Biopharma companies, relevant European SME companies, patient organizations and other key stakeholders have been established and released in the KidneyConnect internet pages for the use of the active renal research community.
3) Active collaborative contacts to a number of best Chinese research centers have been established for full exploitation in mutual collaborative plans which include direct research collaborations, exchange of students and experts, arranging courses and training as well as symposia. This has served the respective direct mutual benefits but also established a solid, trusted platform to be expanded.
4) A number of partners have benefited from KidneyConnect concept directly in their individual career development, including a number of European Research Council (ERC) grants to KC-partners (Prof Romagnani, Firenze; Prof Ronco, Paris, Prof Huber, Freiburg, Prof Möller, Aachen).
Furthermore, our partners Prof Giuseppe Remuzzi was elected as President of the International Society of Nephrology, Prof Pierre Ronco achieved a highest European Prize for research achievements from the European Renal Association; Prof Peter Mathieson was elected as President of Hong Kong University (ranked globally around 35th); Prof Borje Haraldsson elected as director of the huge Cardiovascular Research Centre of Novartis in Basel; Prof Harry Holthofer put together and achieved (co)-coordinatorship of the shortly starting "Biomarkers for diabetic Nephropathy (financed with €30M from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations+ Brussels) as well as participated in Beijing in a small delegation headed by the President of Ireland in China. This led to opening of the current rapidly enlarging collaborative ties, 2 successful consortia completely financed from China and interview in the Chinese National TV (CCTV) for the problem of diabetes in China (potential audience +900M) which caused very positive repercussions and advances into collaborations.
5) KidneyConnect has established remarkable Alumnus activity among retired KC-partners. Specifically, Prof Dontscho Kerjaschki (Vienna), Prof Aaro Miettinen (Helsinki), Prof MariaPia Rastaldi (Milan) and Prof Rosanna Coppo (Turin) retired from their distinguished posts but have remained remarkably active in strengthening the renal research community further. Notably, they have all provided their accumulated expertise openly for postdoctoral training, their wide connections and remaining resources to KidneyConnect partners.

List of Websites:
www.kidneyconnect.eu
Dr. Luca Musante, Dublin City University
Prof. Harry Holthofer, University of Helsinki

Contact

Irene Ryan, (Administrator)
Tel.: +3531 7005759
Fax: +3531 7008021
E-mail

Subjects

Life Sciences
Record Number: 189898 / Last updated on: 2016-10-07