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FP7

MOBI4HEALTH Report Summary

Project ID: 316094
Funded under: FP7-REGPOT
Country: Poland

Final Report Summary - MOBI4HEALTH (CENTRE OF MOLECULAR BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR HEALTHY LIFEBiotech solutions bringing health to living organisms and environmentsupported by mass spec-focused research platform.)

Executive Summary:
MOBI4Health was a project intended to support the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of University of Gdansk & Medical University of Gdansk, Poland (IFB) in its activities to boost its research and innovation potential.

Interdisciplinary research in the area of medical biology, molecular biology and molecular biotechnology allows to effectively address issues that are of concern today. Novel ideas for solutions in areas such as vaccines against avian influenza H5N1, antiviral vaccines against HCV virus infections, tools for viral infection monitoring, edible vaccines against bacterium Helicobacter pylori, discovering new tumor markers, neoplasm analysis in in vivo models, nanobiotechnology in treating burns, biobased plant protection, plant nutraceutics as well as basic science research in protein aggregation and disaggregation, molecular chaperones, proteolysis, replication of DNA , infection mechanisms – these are some of the topics, which are currently in the area of interest of the researchers at IFB. New experienced scientists employed within the MOBI4Health project, including scientists with experienced gained abroad, increased the human potential of IFB and work on finding solutions that would contribute to the healthy life of humans, animals and plants.

A previous weakness in form of a lack of an infrastructure and expertise in high throughput mass spectrometry techniques for research projects in proteomics, genomics, lipidomics and other “–omics”, has been successfully eliminated. IFB has established a modern, fully operational mass spectrometry laboratory that is led by experienced staff trained on the subject. Organization of mass spectrometry workshops has increased skills at IFB, contributed to dissemination of information on the upgraded capabilities of IFB and attracted a large number of participants interested in these technologies.

Twinning with 10 European partners within the project has increased the mobility of IFB researchers and enhanced research partnerships. New joint activities such as ideas for new projects and joint supervision of PhD students have emerged and are expected to result also in an increased number of joint publications of improved scientific quality reaching beyond the project’s lifetime. An increase in the quality of journals and an increase of open access publications has already been noticed. This has already contributed to a better recognition and visibility of IFB. The project also allowed to increase the participation in scientific events, such as conferences and workshops, which definitely enhanced the integration in the scientific community.

University-business cooperation has been intensified. Specialist staff provided support in the area of IP and innovation-related issues, helped with market analyses and ideas on patent applications as well as advised on new possibilities to cooperate with industry in the future, for example within the Smart Specialization Strategies of the Pomeranian Region.

The implementation of the MOBI4Health project contributed to sustainable innovative science based on advanced mass spec applications, enhanced future research interactions and provided an excellent basis for a long-lasting cooperation at regional and European level.

Project Context and Objectives:
MOBI4Health was an FP7 project funded by the European Commission. The project was intended to support the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of University of Gdansk & Medical University of Gdansk (IFB) in its activities to boost its research and innovation potential through establishing a Centre of Molecular Biotechnology for Healthy Life: MOBI4Health Centre. IFB, founded in 1993, is one of the top biological science faculties in Poland. Basic and applied research performed in its research units cover the areas of molecular biotechnology, biomedicine and environment protection. The project supported IFB’s strategy, focused on adapting the research potential and existing excellence of the IFB to the current and future needs of human & environmental health sector and knowledge-based economy.

MOBI4Health Centre achieved an improved research capacity by:
• improving the level of knowledge and skills of the staff at IFB that resulted in a significant increase the research potential through employment of experienced scientists and experienced specialists for the new IFB mass spec core facility;
• purchasing modern mass spectrometry equipment to ensure future cutting-edge research: state-of-the-art mass spectrometers and additional equipment as an input for the increase of research potential;
• achieving a significant increase of scientific expertise through intensified international cooperation with its 10 leading European partners from UK, France, Germany, Italy, Greece and Spain as well as participation of our research staff in international and regional key events in order to improve the knowledge of their research area as well as to promote the MOBI4Health Centre and contribute to its’ integration with the scientific community. MOBI4Health partner institutions are:
o University of Nottingham (UK),
o Phillips-University Marburg (Germany),
o Centro de Investigaciones Biologicas (Spain),
o Federico II University of Naples (Italy),
o Georg-August-University Goettingen (Germany),
o INSA Lyon (France),
o University of Konstanz (Germany),
o Agronomy & Environment Laboratory ENSAIA-INPL (France),
o Biomedical Research Institute FORTH (Greece), and
o INSERM U846 Stem-cell and Brain Research Institute (France).
• disseminating skills acquired through twinning & networking, and promoting international knowledge exchange through activities such as: several hands-on courses and workshops based on the newly established Mass-Spec Core Facility as well as two international conferences that targeted also local/regional stakeholders and strengthened links with pharmaceutical companies, entrepreneurs, health professionals, policy-makers and media;
• implementing an IP & Innovation Strategy that has enhanced the ability of research staff to commercialize research results ensuring proper IP protection and raised attractiveness for industrial partners in the region, country and abroad for cooperation;
• establishing an International Steering Committee composed of representatives of the European partnering research institutions, world-wide experts in the topic areas of molecular biotechnology and mass spectrometry as well as members of the University of Gdansk and Medical University of Gdansk that gave their recommendations and advise to the project team on the implementation of actions.

An action plan for the implementation of the project was structured in eight work packages (WPs) comprising several tasks. The project execution was divided in 3 reporting periods:
1) June 2013 – November 2014,
2) December 2014 – May 2016,
3) June 2016 – November 2016.

WP1: Increasing Human Potential
The objective was to improve the level of knowledge and skills of IFB staff in order to enhance the human resource background of the research potential of IFB. Six experienced scientists and two mass spectrometry specialists, among them scientists returning to Poland, were planned to be employed in the frame of the project. During the recruitment process attention was paid to the recommendations of the The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. Scientists were recruited to join several research groups at IFB and the Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, that would be established during the project.

WP2: Twinning
The objective was a significant increase of scientific expertise and human potential, reinforcement and consolidation of the cooperation between IFB and 10 European partners and balance of scientific background and research skills in Gdansk with the highest level centres in Europe.
Short visits of IFB researchers at the new partner institutions were planned at the beginning of the project in order to facilitate new partnerships.
The aim of research visits and secondments was to strengthen the potential of IFB through running consultations, training new techniques and carrying out collaborative research work. The expected results of secondment activities were development of joint grant applications and common publications.
Active participation in conferences, workshops, symposia, etc. in Poland, in Europe and outside Europe as well as short visits in MS vendors’ demo labs were planned to allow the IFB staff to be in close contact with the newest research trends as well as to present research performed within the MOBI4Health Centre in Poland to a wide specialist public.

WP3: Innovation Capacity Building
The objective was innovation in capacity building, IP management and technology transfer and stimulation of innovation by exchange of know-how, IP policies and technology transfer. The project intended to provide a framework for improvement of IP and protection of know-how. The tasks included the employment of an IPICB Manager at IFB. A crucial element was establishing a strategy for innovation exploitation that would organize research focused on commercialization in order to speed up the protection and monitoring of created IP. The Innovation Strategy would describe possible measures and recommendations for the IFB authorities that would lead to an improvement of the scale of innovative applied research at the IFB. As one of the steps, current research directions at IFB were planned to be mapped and compared with the industry needs and expectations. This would result in an identification of the most promising areas, in which IFB could potentially achieve superior growth of innovation. The Innovation Team would be responsible for developing and advertising MOBI4Health Centre’s partnership offer for both academic research institutions and companies, by e.g. participation in relevant international fairs and partnering events. The IFB Business Link Programme would extend the business network involving current industrial IFB partners and IFB graduates. Moreover, the implementation of a Tech-Watch Programme in order to screen current and future research projects for possible marketable IP was planned. In addition, internal IFB workshops and lectures would be prepared in the frame of the project in order to make the researchers more aware about IP issues.

WP4: Equipment – Improvement of Research Capacity
The objective of this WP was to achieve a critical mass in research tools and to improve the research capacity of IFB. Modern state-of the-art analytical equipment is crucial to produce credible results in detecting tiny amounts of biomolecules. The main objective was to upgrade and improve the S&T infrastructural background of IFB in order to make it suitable and prepared enough to carry out the planned research and enhance innovation potential of the research teams.
As defined by the SWOT analysis, the weak point of the research capacity of IFB was the lacking infrastructure and expertise in high throughput mass spectrometry techniques, able to support research projects first of all in proteomics, genomics and lipidomics but also in other -omics. Therefore, WP4 was devoted to build the core facility infrastructure of IFB based on two different mass spec systems: e.g. MALDI TOF for genomics and proteomics with the MALDI Imaging, Orbitrap system (or equivalent) for native MS.

WP5: Conferences and Workshops
The objective was to create platforms and events to exchange knowledge, to promote international knowledge exchange through organization of conferences and workshops as well as to provide a link with educational activities within MOBI4Health Centre. Senior and middle range researchers would present results and ideas, to attract interested people from among different groups.

WP6: Improvement of Visibility – Promotional Activities and Dissemination of Knowledge
The objective was to give additional dimensions to the results, to promote IFB as a research partner in ERA and overseas and to popularize science and raise social awareness of molecular biotechnology for healthy life, in particular:
• to transfer the results and knowledge to the relevant target groups of planned future research activities in order to accelerate and maximize the speed of the project impacts;
• to improve the international acknowledgement, visibility and competitiveness of IFB and introduce it as an excellent destination for PhD students and young researchers for exchange programmes as well as an attractive partner for joint research co-operations;
• to inform the target groups and the public about the project results and the research activities to be carried out in the future;
• to ensure sustainability of the project results (scientific results, career development of the newly hired experts) by means of creating joint activities with the target groups (commercial companies, agricultural producers, decision-makers, etc.).

WP7: Project Management
The content of this WP was the strategic (long-term) and everyday (short-term) management of the project. The objective was to provide and ensure the sound implementation of the project in terms of e.g. efficiency and consistency. A Kick-off Meeting collocated with ScanBalt Forum 2013 was planned at the beginning of the projects’ lifetime. In order to perform an efficient monitoring and professional management approach, an International Steering Committee (ISC) was set up and periodic ISC Meetings were organized. This WP included monitoring of all activities towards achieving an increase of the potential as well as the overall financial and administrative management.

WP8: External Evaluation
The objective was securing sustainability of the project results. External evaluation by an independent was planned to recommend solutions to secure the viability of theMOBI4Health core facility structure.

Project Results:
Project results

MOBI4Health was a project supporting a complex programme of activities aimed at improving the scientific excellence and increasing the potential of the research activities conducted at IFB. It was not a research project is itself. Project results are summarized according to WPs.

W1: Increasing Human Potential

In order to increase the human potential of IFB, the MOBI4Health project comprised the employment of 6 post-doctoral researchers and 2 mass spectrometry specialists for the new MOBI4Health mass spectrometry laboratory. These positions were advertised as open, transparent, international calls and filled with skilled scientists from Poland, returning to Poland and from abroad. Two scientists have resigned (1 went to industry, 1 went to home country) and their positions were filled with new scientists after a new recruitment procedure. During recruitments attention was paid to the recommendation of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for Recruitment of Researchers. As a result, at the following research teams at IFB the human potential was increased:
• Laboratory of Molecular Diagnostics,
• Laboratory of Biological Active Compounds,
• Laboratory of Biological Plant Protection,
• Laboratory of Molecular Biology,
• Laboratory of Moleculat Enzymology,
• Laboratory of Recombinant Vaccines,
• Laboratory of Mass Spectrometry.
As the MOBI4Health project was not directly funding research, new researchers were included in running research projects of the groups and enhanced to apply for further funding. After the project end, for 6 of the 8 researchers who wished to continue their work at IFB the positions were sustained (2 by a permanent contract from the University of Gdańsk, 2 funded by external grants, 2 by temporary employment). 2 researchers developed a strong collaboration with MOBI4Health partners (1 resulted in a patent application, one resulted in further collaboration in a new research grant). They continue their research work in the particular research groups at IFB enriching IFB’s human potential with their knowledge and skills.

WP2: Twinning

MOBI4Health to a large extent reinforced the increase of scientific expertise by several twinning and networking mechanisms.
Cooperation with 10 European partner institutions and the 18 IFB research groups has been strengthened. Scientists from IFB and from the partner institutions undertook a comprehensive programme of mutual visits in the respective research teams. These visits have strongly contributed to intensifying collaboration. Their duration ranged from several days to 3 months. The results of this exchange included the opportunity to conduct research together with researchers from partner institution, discuss possibilities to continue joint research, engage in joint grant writing, conduct joint supervision of research projects of PhD students.
In total, 28 visits of IFB scientists to partner institutions and 23 incoming visits to IFB took place.
Moreover, the project enabled 27 participations in specialist research trainings, mainly related to mass spectrometry. Expertise in mass spectrometry was new at IFB, and the highly specialist trainings allowed the mass spectrometry specialists to obtain new knowledge and skills, which they then successfully transferred to other IFB members and scientists in the region during mass spectrometry workshops organized at IFB (WP5, WP6).
In addition, our scientists actively participated in scientific events in Poland, Europe and beyond. They held lectures, chaired sessions and presented posters (in total 141 participations) in order to present the results of research conducted at IFB to a wide scientific audience. Beside the increase of visibility of IFB in the scientific community to an extent that would not be possible without this project, the participation in crucial scientific events was also an excellent opportunity to learn about the newest research trends that could advance IFB researchers’ work.

WP3: Innovation Capacity Building

An Innovation Manager was employed at IFB in order to support the innovation-related aspects of the project. The project team included also two part-time Innovation Assistants. Together they formed an innovation support team for IFB. The team conducted a mapping of skills and knowledge and launching an online cooperation offer for potential partners from public and private sector, including a database on available equipment
(http://www.mobi4health.ug.edu.pl/innovation/ ).
MOBI4Health was present at 32 innovation-related events in Poland and abroad. Participation contributed to the visibility of IFB cooperation offer, enabled gaining new knowledge in the area of innovation and IP, business development, technology transfer, commercialization, funding opportunities as well as enhanced the exchange of best practices with participants from a number of European countries and institutions.
The regional part of the networking activity has gone in the direction of consolidating all efforts to develop the regional Smart Specialization Strategy in biotechnology and diagnostic industry in the Pomorskie Region. Finally, a partnership under the topic: “Long Healthy Life – Innovations in prevention, diagnostics and therapy of civilization diseases and aging society” was formed. The partnership is formed by almost 100 companies and institutions.
Networking was also enhanced by using the well-known business networking portal LinkedIn, where a new institutional profile has been created for IFB. The profile’s visibility has increased by more than a 100% from 2014 to 2016.
Moreover, direct contacts with companies and research institutions were made and some of them resulted in signing several letters of intent for further collaboration with firms/institutions:
In addition, the Innovation Team offered a substantial support on innovation issues in the preparation of grant proposals as a basis for achieving long-lasting cooperation with industry.
Technology-watch activities were aimed for internal innovation sourcing at IFB. IP-related support was provided for researchers, such as in 13 cases of in-depth analyses on the patent background and potential marketability of the invention and advice in the process of 2 cases of patent filings. An added value to the quality of the internal service for researchers was provided by a new business intelligence tool in form of the access to the database Global Data.
Moreover, 7 IP and innovation related trainings were organized as tailor-cut measure to increase IFB staff’s competencies in this area. All planned milestones were achieved.

WP4: Equipment – Improvement of Research Capacity

A major weakness of IFB consisting of a lack of research infrastructure and scientific expertise in high throughput mass spectrometry techniques, able to support research projects first of all in proteomics, genomics and lipidomics but also in other –omics was successfully eliminated in the course of the MOBI4Health project. As a result of the MOBI4Health project, IFB has a fully operating Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, equipped with top modern research equipment.
For genomic analysis based on MALDI-TOF technology the purchased instruments include MassARRAYTM Analyzer 4, MassARRAYTM Nanodispenser RS1000 with embedded computers and appropriate software, as well as an additional computer-server with Sequenom database for MALDI-TOF experimental design and analysis. For proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics the purchased equipment included MALDI-TOF/TOF 5800, QTRAP 6500 with SelexIon and TripleTOF 5600+, CESI 8000 Plus High Performance Separation-ESI Module. Some smaller additional laboratory equipment, such as: vortex, thermomixer, centrifuge, ultrasonic bath, and an anaerobic chamber rounded-up the new infrastructure at IFB.
Dedicated training session (2 or 3 days each) on the new technologies has been provided for the laboratory staff and included:
• 6500 QTRAP® LC/MS/MS System Basic Training,
• TripleTOFTM 5600 System Basic Training,
• 5800 MALDI TOF/TOFTM SYSTEM Training,
• iPLEX application,
• iSEQ application,
• EpiTyper application,
• QGE-iPLEX application.
In addition, the MOBI4Health project involved the introduction to a quality management system (ISO 17025 norm). The activity consisted of training courses for staff working in the Mass Spectrometry Laboratory and the Laboratory for Plant Biotechnology, the preparation of procedures for each of the two laboratories as well as audits in the laboratories. Employees and PhD students working in the above mentioned laboratories participated in 6 courses covering the following topics:
• Practical aspects of validation and estimation of measurement uncertainty of analytical methods utilized in the laboratory,
• PN-EN ISO/IEC standard 17025:2005 requirements. General requirements concerning the competences of research laboratories,
• Internal auditor ISO 17025 in research laboratory,
• Measuring and test equipment supervision in the laboratory,
• Validation of the methods and estimation of uncertainty for microbiology, and
• Accreditation for microbiological laboratory.
As a result, both laboratories have reached the level of being able to work according to the ISO17025 norm.

WP5: Conferences and Workshops

Conference: Joint 7th Conference of the Polish Society for Experimental Plant Biology and the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology UG & MUG, 8-11 September 2015
The conference was organized jointly together with the Polish Society of Experimental Plant Biology (PSEPB). Cooperation between IFB and PSEPB has also strengthened the already existing collaboration and facilitated new contacts. The event was held under the honorary patronage of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, The National Centre for Research and Development, Rector of the University of Gdańsk and Rector of the Medical University of Gdańsk. The programme comprised six topic sessions which were as follows:
• Natural Variation and Phenomics
• System and Synthetic Biology
• Plant Development and Gene Regulation
• Plant-Microbe Interactions
• Plant Responses to Abiotic Stress
• Social and Commercial Aspects of Contemporary Biotechnology
The conference was attended by 242 participants from 56 different institutes, including 23 foreign scientists. Overall, participants have presented 47 talks and 140 posters.
Conference: Biotech Solutions for Health and Environment: MOBI4Health Conference & New IFB Building Opening, 12-15 April 2016, IFB, Gdańsk
The conference was collocated with the official part of the IFB opening of the new IFB building. This facilitated interest from not only scientific and academic participants, but also government official representatives as well as business friends and partners of IFB. As a result, dissemination got a wider scope. The conference comprised five thematic sessions, which were as follows:
• Perspectives of Research Cooperation
• Commercialization in Biotechnology
• Current Trends in Biotechnology
• Biotechnology for Health
• IFB Research Progress Report
The conference was attended by over 200 participants, including guests from partnering laboratories of MOBI4Health project, members of the IFB International Scientific Advisory Board, local and national government officials, authorities from Pomeranian universities, and scientists. Overall, speakers have presented 39 talks, including 18 presentations given by invited speakers from outside the Faculty. In addition, a small poster session with 20 presentations was held.
Mass Spectrometry Workshops
Four Mass Spectrometry Workshops were organized as a series of MOBI4Health workshops for scientists. The events combined lecture sessions and hands-on practical workshops/seminars on high throughput gene & protein analysis based on the newly established Mass-Spec Core Facility. Overall, workshops were attended by over 370 participants, including 163 people participating in the practical classes. Series of lectures were given by 29 invited speakers.
1st Mass Spectrometry Workshop: Application of mass spectrometry in proteomics and genomics, 24 -27 June 2014, IFB, Gdańsk.
The workshop was attended by over 140 participants, including 43 people participating in the practical classes. Series of lectures were given by 9 invited speakers, including guests from AB SCIEX and SEQUENOM companies.
2nd Mass Spectrometry Workshop Innovations in molecular diagnostics of human, animal & plant diseases, 21-23 October 2014, IFB, Gdańsk.
The workshop was attended by over 90 participants, including 32 people participating in the practical classes. Series of lectures were given by 6 invited speakers, including guests from AB SCIEX and Agena Bioscience companies.
3rd Mass Spectrometry Workshop: Innovations in environmental friendly productions of lipids and proteins for industry, 17-19 March 2015, IFB, Gdańsk.
Overall, the workshop was attended by over 70 participants, including 41 people participating in the practical classes. Series of lectures were given by 6 invited speakers, including guests from University of Konstanz, Karolinska Institute, University of Gottingen, University of Wroclaw, Weizmann Institute of Science and SCIEX company.
4th MOBI4Health Mass Spectrometry Workshop: Innovations in discovery of potential new pharmaceuticals , 7-9 July 2015, IFB, Gdańsk.
Overall, the workshop was attended by over 70 participants, including 51 people participating in the practical classes. Series of lectures were given by 8 invited speakers, including guests from Pavlov First Saint Petersburg State Medical University, KU Leuven, Institute of Organic Chemistry University of Innsbruck, Gdańsk University of Technology, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, as well as SCIEX and Agena Bioscience companies.
Information about the MOBI4Health events was widely disseminated via e-mail as well as by placing announcements on numerous websites and through social media channels. Event participants received comprehensive conference materials, incl. MOBI4Health flyers, IFB information materials, IFB Annual Research Progress Report and Conference Abstract Books as well as electronic information on pendrives. Agendas, photos and additional materials are available for download from the MOBI4Health website.

WP6: Improvement of Visibility – Promotional Activities and Dissemination of Knowledge

A wide range of dissemination and promotional activities resulted in an increased visibility of the existing excellence and knowhow of IFB. The MOBI4Health project website at www.mobi4health.ug.edu.pl was build and provided a reliable source of information about project activities to partners and external users. In parallel, current project information has been published on the main website of IFB, University of Gdańsk, Medical University of Gdańsk.
Social media channels have also been used for distribution of information, such as:
• IFB Facebook profile – targeting a broad audience, especially young people;
• IFB LinkedIn profile – targeting professionals working in biotechnology, especially the IFB Followers on this platform;
• IFB You Tube Channel – targeting a broad audience and providing visual information.
Cooperation with a local radio station resulted in 3 radio broadcasts about topics of concern for the society such as GMO, vaccines, cancer treatment. A number of media mentions in general and specialist media was published.
Five different leaflets targeted at different target groups, a project roll-up and project poster were designed, printed and made available for download at the project website:
• MOBI4Health Project Leaflet, Project Poster and Project Roll-up
• Leaflet: Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology UG&MUG - A unique environment for interdisciplinary research in Life Science
• Leaflet: Mass Spectrometry at Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology UG&MUG
• Brochure: The Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of University of Gdańsk and Medical University of Gdańsk – Your Partner in Research and Innovation
• Leaflet: The Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of University of Gdańsk and Medical University of Gdańsk

Two editions of a comprehensive IFB Annual Research Progress Report (2014: 74 pages, 2015: 80 pages) were prepared, designed, printed and distributed at events and meetings, as well as made available online at the MOBI4Health website.

An increased visibility in the scientific community has been achieved by:
• posters, oral presentations and invited speeches of IFB staff at conferences,
• supporting the scientific publications in open access peer reviewed journals.

Several events were planned to increase public awareness about the project and molecular tools for healthy life. Three main types of events were planned in order to raise interest among the selected target groups: 1) Science dissemination events for non-specialists, 2) Lectures & workshops for school pupils, 3) Scientific seminars & workshops for researchers.

Science events for non-specialists with MOBI4Health involvement:
• Baltic Festival of Science, 20-25 May 2014
• Picnic for Health, 14 June 2014
• University – I like it! Workshops in Kościerzyna, Bytów, Chojnice, Ostróda, 15, 22, 26 April & 18 May 2016
• Learn more about biotechnology, 13 May 2016
• DNA: Encyclopedia of Life, 29 April 2016, Gdańsk

Workshops for pupils and young people:
• MOBI4Health lectures on different aspects of biotechnology for school classes held by IFB Professors:
o Computer simulations – modeling of microworld, 08 May 2015
o Dark and light sides of espresso – short history of coffee and its importance for people, 08 May 2015
o The world under the microscope – microbes around us, 24 April 2015
o Bacteria for man: possibilities of utilisation spores in biotechnology, 24 April 2015
o Biotechnology and the origin of man, 17 April 2015
o DNA synthesis factory, 17 April 2015
o Known, little-known and unknown chemical molecules on guard of the natural environment purity, 10 April 2015
• Participatory event for school classes
o Debate on GMO plants 3 June 2015,
o Debate on GMO plants 1 June 2016.
• Laboratory Workshops for pupils:
o MOBI4Health-InnovaBio Summer Workshops for Pupils, 8-22 July 2016
o Practical Workshop on Biotechnology: 9-10 June 2016, 23-26 September 2016
In total, these events for schools attracted over 370 participants from more than 10 schools of Pomorskie Region. These activities positively contributed to IFB’s relations with partners in this respect. In 2015 IFB signed 3 agreements on cooperation with schools.

Scientific seminars & workshops for researchers
• Seminar: Possibilities of Mass Spectrometry, 26 June 2015
• Euphresco-III Dickeya-Pectobacterium Meeting 23-24 November 2015
• Mass Spectrometry Workshops: Proteomics I, II and Genomics, 20-29 June 2016
• XXII Biotechnology Summer School: Biotechnologists love every bit of life. Molecular Biotechnology for Health Life (MOBI4Health), 5-9 July 2016.
In total, over 200 participants took part in the scientific seminars & workshops.

During the events participants received MOBI4Health information and promotion materials, such as flyers, pens, notebooks, pen-drives, cups, etc. Detailed information, such as programmes, abstract, books, photos are available at the project website.

WP7: Project Management

Work performed within WP7 ensured a smooth management and successful administration of the project. In order to make the project operational, a project team was established and its members were in charge of specific tasks. Overall project management included cooperation with administrative units of the University of Gdansk and Medical University of Gdansk, which was indispensable for the proper execution of the project and support of all current issues. The project was randomly selected for an audit by the European Court of Auditors and during the audit no exemptions from the provisions of the grant agreement were noted.
At the beginning of the project a Kick-off Meeting was organized in form of an event collocated with the international conference Bioinnovation & ScanBalt Forum 2013 (Gdansk, 16-18.10.2013) in order to maximise the visibility of the project. The Kick-off Meeting in numbers:
• 5 sessions chaired by IFB members
• 8 presentations on MOBI4Health project
• 11 scientific presentations by IFB researchers
• 12 scientific presentations by MOBI4Health partners
• 77 participants at Kick-Off Meeting
• 244 participants at Bioinnovation & Scanbalt Forum 2013
The implementation of the project was supported by the advice by the International Steering Committee that served as the main forum for strategic review, problem solving and decision making, enabling efficient discussion on issues that arise regarding the conduct of the project. It was composed of representatives of the European partnering institutions, independent experts from Poland and abroad as well as key decision-makers of the University of Gdansk and the Medical University of Gdansk and finally, by IFB representatives. Five periodic ISC Meetings were organized:
• 1st International Steering Committee Meeting, 16.10.2013,
• 2nd International Steering Committee Meeting Meeting, 24.06.2014,
• 3rd International Steering Committee Meeting Meeting, 6 July 2015,
• 4th International Steering Committee Meeting Meeting, 13 April 2016,
• 5th International Steering Committee Meeting Meeting, 15 November 2016.
Project team members participated in 21 events related to project management and new project opportunities for IFB. Results of participation in events:
• networking and new contacts to researchers, project administrators and managers dissemination of information on MOBI4Health project and cooperation possibilities with IFB;
• acquiring detailed knowledge on new funding sources (e.g. Polish ministries, ESIF, H2020, directly from EC);
• new skills and exchange of best practice in management of international projects.
In total, 30 deliverables produced by the project team were submitted to the European Commission and all planned milestones were achieved.

WP8: External Evaluation

External evaluation was conducted by three independent experts to assess the project output and recommend possible solutions for further sustainability of the results. The Evaluation Team was composed of the following scientists: Prof. Dr. Marc Vooijs, The Netherlands, Asst. Prof. Dr. Anna Maria Pirttilä, Finland, and Dr. Vanesa Ivetic Tkalcevic, Croatia. Experts’ work comprised on-site visits, remote work and summary of evaluation results in form of an evaluation report. During two on-site evaluation visits in Gdańsk (26-28.09.2016 and 14-16.11.2016) and during the phase of remote work, the evaluators undertook a comprehensive analysis of the project output and IFB’s potential. They presented some of their findings during the second visit at an Evaluation Roundtable Meeting (15.11.2016) to IFB scientists, MOBI4Health Partners, ISC Members and representatives the University and of local authorities of the Pomorskie Region. The Evaluation Report is confidential, but it can be stated that the evaluation by external experts was positive.

Potential Impact:
Potential impact, including the socio-economic impact and wider societal implications

Increasing research excellence
IFB conducts research in the area of molecular microbiology, medical biology and molecular diagnostics as well as molecular plant research. Research results in these area have the potential to generate solutions to problems of the health of living organisms and environment. Therefore, excellence in research can lead to improving the quality of life. The main expected impact of a successful implementation of the MOBI4Health project was an increased research quality at IFB, its better recognition and an improved integration with the European research Area. The project did not include funding for research as such.
MOBI4Health resulted in increasing the human potential of IFB through expanding the team of researchers by 8 new experienced researchers. With their knowledge, skills and experience they contributed to the advancement of research conducted at IFB. An important impact for the institution is that 6 positions were sustained beyond the project’s lifetime, and thus the action constitutes a clear long-term brain gain for IFB.
The complex programme of MOBI4Health activities fostering joint research and improvement of skills showed a positive impact on the overall achievement of the institution. The quality of scientific publications of IFB researchers in peer-reviewed journals increased, which is an excellent prognosis for the future achievements.
Establishing of a fully new mass spectrometry laboratory with the newest research equipment allowed to develop a new field of expertise at IFB. Knowledge and skills in the field of mass spectrometry-based methods of protein and genes analysis attracted new partnerships with public and private entities developing interest in expanding collaboration based on these technologies. The expertise of IFB researchers and PhD students in mass spectrometry techniques increased. IFB became recognizable a an entity with a specialist equipment and high-quality expertise in this area, e.g. through high-quality specialist workshops organised in this field. Moreover, the first research results based on mass spectrometry analyses have already been published and further work is expected to be published beyond the project’s lifetime. Similarly, first new grants based on research tasks involving mass spectrometry expertise were obtained. A good example is the project “Host factors in hepatitis B virus cccDNA formation as novel antiviral targets and biomarkers - identification, preclinical evaluation and impact for liver disease (hepBccc)”, implemented in a European consortium within the ERA-Net scheme (Infect-ERA).

Better integration in ERA
Wide twinning activities with MOBI4Health partner institutions strengthened the scientific collaboration. Further joint research is continued with several partners. Applications for further twinning activities have been submitted to funding agencies. The newly recruited experienced researchers achieved a good level of collaboration with the partner institutions resulting in e.g. new funding for research and exchange, patents’ application, joint supervision of PhD projects.
Networking activities contributed also to establishing new partnerships and resulted in new interdisciplinary networks such as STARBIOS2 project (H2020) or the Baltic Blue Biotechnology Alliance (INTERREG BSR).

Innovation capacity building
MOBI4Health was successful in creating an innovation-friendly atmosphere at IFB. Specialists in IP and commercialisation provided a direct support for researchers in form of support in the process of patent application, market analyses, grant writing, partner search. The IFB cooperation offer was mapped and presented online. More and more requests for cooperation are received by IFB, which is surely an impact of the achieved increased visibility of IFB as a reliable and competent cooperation partner. At the beginning of the project, the University of Gdańsk did not have a technology transfer office. The MOBI4Health innovation team was a a pilot activity in this area. During the time of the project a university-wide technology transfer office was established. The experience in innovation support from MOBI4Health was successfully transferred to the Technology Transfer Office at University of Gdansk to the benefit of the whole institution. Intensified contacts with industry and investment companies led to the identification of a gap in the technology readiness level (TRL). The patented technologies from IFB are usually too early on the commercialization stage for most of the investment companies. The conclusion is to look for possibilities to invest in further development of this technologies to be able to start-up new spin-off companies. The increased awareness on science-business cooperation fostered within MOBI4Health was of benefit for IFB. IFB tool the role of the academic leader in the Regional Smart Specialization “Long Healthy Life – Innovations in prevention, diagnostics and therapy of civilization diseases and aging society”, which is formed by almost 100 companies and institutions.

Socio-economic impact in the region
Establishing a new mass spectrometry laboratory, employing new researchers, research and innovation managers is clearly a benefit for the Region. New knowledge and skills were attracted and sustained to the region, which obviously contributed to its socio-economic development. MOBI4Health created excellent preconditions for entrepreneurship in biotech business through high-level training, international contacts, innovation-friendly environment, and strong contacts with European partners. Future projects and R&D activities are expected to grow after the project based on these foundations and generate further jobs, competencies, skills and IP.
An additional advantage for IFB and University of Gdańsk is that taking up the discussion within the institution on of the European Charter for Researchers and the European Code of Conduct for Recruitment of Researchers contributed to the University’s commitment to these actions. As a result, in 2016 the University of Gdańsk as the second university in Poland obtained from the European Commission the HR Excellence in Research. This label will foster the institution’s international visibility as a good place to work for researchers and is expected to lead to a further brain gain and higher level of internationalization (PhD students, researchers, experts), not only at IFB but at the University of Gdańsk as such.

Dissemination on the regional, national and international level
On the regional level, MOBI4Health was involved in numerous activities focused on communication with the general public. Science events, presentations, info materials, radio broadcasts, interviews, films were used to raise the awareness about the impact of molecular biology on every-day-life.
Special attention was paid to educate young people. Participatory events in form of debates on topics such as GMO, lectures for school classes and practical laboratory workshops for groups of pupils contributed to science education. These events attracted a large interest on the side of the participating schools from the region. Further collaboration is expected to be continued. Applications for funding for future activities in this field have been developed and submitted.
Communication directed at the research community in the region, focused on dissemination of information on scientific potential and research infrastructure, especially in the field of mass spectrometry. MOBI4Health website as well as mass spectrometry workshops and MOBI4Health international conferences were important tools. On the European and international level, IFB’s research results were presented during more than 140 conference participations. IFB’s activity within the ScanBalt Association, a platform for cooperation of the countries in the Baltic Sea area in the field of health was continued. Meetings were also organised in Gdańsk to increase IFB’s visibility for potential partners and to provide a platform for a cooperation between Pomorskie Region and ScanBalt. The results of this increased visibility are expected to have a long-term effect in form of strengthening of existing and generating of new contacts.
Further dissemination activities planned after the project:
• Peer-reviewed scientific publications,
• Lectures and posters at national and international events,
• Organization of mass spectrometry related events,
• New research and networking projects involving MOBI4Health partners.

Exploitation of results
Most of the results of the research carried out by IFB staff employed within the MOBI4Health project as well as research conducted with the use of the purchased infrastructure will serve as the basis for further R&D. The detailed scope of this work is described in peer-review articles that have been published or are expected to be published after the project end. One patent application is the direct output from the collaboration of a recruited experienced researcher and a MOBI4Health research partner (patent application no. P.418683 “Mass spectrometry with iPLEX technology for detection of genetic barcodes”, co-inventors: Pierre Savatier, Agnieszka Bernat-Wójtowska).
From the point of view of business development, several projects at IFB were identified that show the potential for commercialization after dedicated investments that would bring preliminary results to the expected readiness level.
The research equipment purchased in the frame of the MOBI4Health and the skills gained through the implementation of the project will in future be used in other projects, including collaboration with partners from public and private sector. Pharmaceutical partners are interested in the possibility of cooperating with IFB, especially with the mass spectrometry core facility. The cooperation is expected to result in a number of joint research activities. The networks created within the Regional Smart Specialization Strategies are expected to foster cooperation. Innovation-friendly environment and a competent Technology Transfer Office are important facilitators in this respect.
Long-term sustainability of the project output was secured. The mass spectrometry laboratory is part of IFB’s structure. The University of Gdańsk committed to sustaining the permanent positions for specialists who operate the laboratory. An intensive dialogue of IFB representatives with the regional authorities contributed to the establishing of a Regional Smart Specialization Strategy in the area of health, which is an opportunity to seek further funding for the operation of the unit. Synergies in funding have already been achieved to some extent. IFB moved to a top-modern laboratory building funded from EU Structural Funds, implements research projects funded from national budget and benefits from expertise and networks created within the EU Framework Programmes.

The implementation of the MOBI4Health project provided a coherent set of measures to boost the research potential of IFB, increase the collaboration with European partners and enhance innovation that would not been possible without this funding.

List of Websites:
List of websites:
www.mobi4health.ug.edu.pl
www.biotech.ug.edu.pl

Contact details:
Prof. Krzysztof Bielawski
Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology
University of Gdańsk and Medical University of Gdańsk
Abrahama 58, 80-307 Gdańsk, Poland
bielawski@biotech.ug.edu.pl

Related information

Contact

Krzysztof Bielawski, (Head of the Laboratory for Molecular Diagnostics)
Tel.: +48585236314
Fax: +48585236426
E-mail
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