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FP7

VETMEDZG Report Summary

Project ID: 621394
Funded under: FP7-REGPOT
Country: Croatia

Periodic Report Summary 2 - VETMEDZG (Upgrading the research performance in molecular medicine at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Zagreb)

Project Context and Objectives:
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Zagreb (FVM) is a well-established research institution in Croatia with more than 178 staff members who have excellent education and scientific experience. In order to conduct structural changes in veterinary medicine, scientists at FVM have accepted the ERA Chair initiative, aiming at fostering structural changes, synergies between cohesion and research funding, and to raise research quality in the application of molecular technologies to international levels of excellence.
The project VetMedZg aims to reinforce research performance of FVM through enhancing its capacities in molecular veterinary medicine by attracting outstanding experienced researchers, and with transfer of knowledge and research potential, mostly in the fields of proteomics and metabolomics. The exchange of know-how and experience with esteemed outstanding experienced researchers will be accomplished through coherent set of measures: trainings, workshops and trans-national two-way secondments of research staff. The workshops on different aspects in molecular medicine organised in Zagreb will mostly cover three selected fields: comparative tumour analysis, post-genomic technology and wildlife research at FVM departments. By upgrading its research performance and excellence, FVM will improve performance in competitive research funding, prevent brain drain, enhance its competitiveness and visibility in broader region and become internationally recognized partner. The proposed activities should increase research performance in specific field of molecular veterinary medicine and FVM will be able to increase its involvement in international research projects with EU partners. That will allow FVM to become better integrated into the ERA.
The main objective of VetMedZg project is to upgrade, encourage, develop, and enlarge the capacities for research and improve research performance in molecular veterinary medicine at FVM, to be more successful in obtaining competitive funding, and to enable better integration into ERA, all under the direction of an outstanding researcher.
The major objectives of the project are: to recruit, develop and retain the best researchers at FVM; to increase the research potential and skills of researchers in specific field of molecular veterinary medicine under the direction of outstanding researchers; to increase the visibility of the researchers at the international citation database (WoS) and of FVM under the direction of outstanding researchers; to increase the number of articles that FVM's researchers will publish in international citation databases under the direction of outstanding researchers; to increase participation of researchers from FVM as coordinators on at least two Horizon 2020 projects; to establish core facility in proteomics at FVM; to upgrade and enlarge the laboratory equipment and research capacities at FVM, and to enable the highest investigations in molecular veterinary medicine; to improve know-how and experience, and transfer the highest technology and knowledge onto the researchers of FVM under the direction of outstanding researchers and partner research institutions; to increase the visibility of FVM and increase the participation of researchers from FVM on European projects and to facilitate the inclusion of molecular veterinary science into ERA; and finally to increase the knowledge on possibilities for the protection of intellectual properties.
VetMedZg will improve the status of the Faculty through attracting outstanding foreign researchers, encouraging human resources and upgrading its existing S&T capacity. VetMedZg will also contribute to regional development through spreading S&T potential and competitiveness in the region of Western Balkan, reinforcing the dissemination of the knowledge and research results, and contribution to development of the European Research Area in its entirety.

Project Results:
After successful selection of ERA Chair holder and thus laying the very foundation of the future project work, the first serious results of the project started showing. The Dissemination plan was finished early beginning of 2015, together with the website, logo, leaflets and posters to announce the project Kick-off meeting at the FVM, which was held on 8th of April 2015. At that point, the advertisements for 4 experienced researchers in ERA Chair team were announced, numerous candidates applied and were interviewed by the ERA Chair holder and project administrator.
Four experienced researchers were employed and joined the project team since 01st of July 2015, and the additional human potential for the project was assured. During first few months of their work, 4 researchers together with the ERA Chair holder started working intensively on equipping and establishing the Laboratory of Proteomics at the FVM. Equipping the laboratory was detailed and time consuming, but very efficient and fast. Already by the end of 2015 almost all equipment was delivered and installed; the Mass spectrometer LC-MS/MS, as the key part of the Laboratory, PCR equipment, the Low speed saw and other additional lab instruments. With beginning of 2016 the Laboratory of Proteomics started operating fully.
On October 12th 2015, the FVM in Zagreb was given a visit by the VetMedZg Project Officer when he visited the project premises, especially the Laboratory of Proteomics, and held a lecture on ESIF and Horizon 2020 for the interested scientific staff of FVM. By the end of 2015, the first project workshop was organized. ''Post-genomic era of molecular biology: Proteomics ERA I'' workshop was held with great success on FVM, from 9th to 11th December 2015. Following were 4 workshops held in 2016: ''Intellectual property management in support of innovation'' held in May 2016 by the experts from the University of Zagreb and 3 workshops in June 2016: ''Clinic and applied proteomics'', ''Wildlife medicine: Parasitic diseases'' and ''Comparative molecular analysis of the selected cancers in humans and dogs.'' All workshops have achieved a very good attendance by the interested audience: experts, researchers, professors and PhD students participated in organized lectures, as well as the hands-on part performed in the VetMedZg Laboratory of Proteomics and elsewhere.
Besides spreading excellence and knowledge among the FVM scientists, the project management and ERA Chair team were working hard on gaining new national and international funds and connecting with project partners. In the first two years of the project a total of 7 national and international projects were submitted, in various fields of proteomic research. Through these projects our aim is to develop research investigations in several fields: the application of proteomics in pre-clinical and clinical science; discovering early-stage biomarkers in different diseases of animals, especially in biomarkers in kidney and cardiac diseases of dogs; the application of proteomics in farm animals with the purpose of clarifying and improving reproductive and productive disorders in dairy cows; the application of proteomics in the wildlife research, with special emphasis on problems related to some parasitic diseases with the final goal of rapid disease detection; development of vaccines against neuroinfections and application of state-of-the-art –omica technology to improve the knowledge in comparative tumor analysis. Several visits and trainings of project staff and associates were also carried out during first two years of the project implementation, and national and international conferences and congresses were attended, with the aim of project dissemination and gaining new knowledge.

Potential Impact:
Expected final results of the project are in direct relation to the scientific and technological objectives that are expected to be accomplished during the project implementation. Qualified human resources for the project are recruited, most importantly the ERA Chair holder and ERA Chair team of 4 experienced researchers ( one established researcher to work with mass spectrometer, one expert in proteomics and metabolomics, one established researcher for the genomic and proteomic approach in comparative tumor analysis, and one established researcher for the wildlife research). When all of the scientific and non-scientific experts were recruited, the implementation of various project activities started, and so far it resulted in applications of 3 Horizon2020 projects with the FVM as a coordinator, as well as 4 other international and national project applications in various research areas such as: the application of proteomics in pre-clinical and clinical science; the application of proteomics in farm animals; the application of proteomics in wildlife research; development of vaccines against neuroinfections, and application of state-of-the-art –omica technology to widen the knowledge in comparative tumor analysis.
Core facility in proteomics – Laboratory of Proteomics, was established at the FVM and started operating by the end of December 2015, and laboratories in molecular veterinary medicine were updated with new small equipment. Five out of eight project workshops in various scientific areas were so far organized at the FVM, as well as several trainings for young and promising researchers from the faculty.
A strong strategic impact of the project on the development of the veterinary science at FVM at several levels is still expected to develop fully. All of the proposed strategical measures will reinforce the existing research teams, as they are already cooperating with ERA Chair team experienced researchers who gained their expertise in the leading research institutions. ERA Chair team scientists are participating in research activities at the FVM, thus, their input stimulates the research performance and excellence at the entire Faculty. With several visits of foreign experts in the upcoming periods, FVM will help ensure multiple interactions with high profile researchers from collaborating institutions, and improve the integration of FVM into ERA. Strategical measures proposed by the project are aimed at upgrading the RTD capacity and capability of FVM, which will lead to better utilization of current human potentials through recruitment of new researchers and increased mobility of existing scientific staff.
The activities planned in the project through workshops, trainings and visiting professorship programme will enable FVM to increase the research performance and excellence, to be more successful in obtaining competitive funding, and to increase its visibility and widen its partnership with leading European R&D organizations. The workshops will additionally enable FVM to become a mediator in dissemination of new technologies in the broader area, providing research platform in veterinary medicine for Western Balkan region and closer cooperation with regional centres. The project will also have various positive impacts at the national and EU level through better integration into ERA, and strengthening of existing and new collaborations.

List of Websites:
http://www.vetmedzg.eu/en/

Related information

Contact

Vladimir Mrljak, (University professor)
Tel.: +385 1 2390346
Fax: +385 1 2441390
E-mail
Record Number: 191944 / Last updated on: 2016-11-21
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