Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

ITRIBIS Report Summary

Project ID: 316151
Funded under: FP7-REGPOT
Country: Spain

Final Report Summary - ITRIBIS (Improving Translational Research Potential at the Institute of Biomedicine of Seville)

Executive Summary:
The ITRIBIS project was envisaged to improve research at the Institute of Biomedicine of Seville (IBiS) and to help this center to become a reference of biomedical translational research applied to prevalent diseases in Southern Europe. It also aimed to boosting the transfer of results to the clinical setting and to the local biotechnological companies, thereby resulting in the production of tangible benefits for the region.

The ITRIBIS was focused in a major translational research line, cell degeneration (brain, heart, cancer), accompanied by another, more specific, focusing on antimicrobial resistance. Those research lines comprise the four main areas in which IBiS is currently organized. The Institute is tightly linked to the University Hospital Virgen del Rocio (HUVR), one of the largest in Spain.

ITRIBIS has improved IBiS research quality and potential through several specific actions:

• Recruitment of scientists and technicians with the following professional profiles: senior scientists working on neurosciences, cardiovascular research, bioinformatics and antimicrobial resistance, respectively; and expert technicians that develop the areas of bioinformatics, imaging, genomics and proteomics.
• Reinforcement of the IBiS Core Facilities through the acquisition of research equipment of Bioinformatics, Imaging, Proteomics, Data storage and equipment of common use for the Large Appliances Service. Those measures have complemented and potentiated the existing facilities of the center.
• Exchange of know-how and experience with several partner institutions distributed worldwide The partnership included the scientific training of our researchers and technicians through the organization of short secondments; and transnational visits of experts to give high-level scientific seminars in IBiS.
• Elaboration of an Intellectual Property plan to potentiate current efforts to improve innovation and the effective transfer of scientific knowledge.
• Dissemination activities to maximize IBiS and ITRIBIS project visibility. A Corporate Image Manual and promotional material such as brochures, banners, etc. were done. A web-site was developed with an intranet designed for researchers and partners. We have passed out flyers at events and conferences outside the IBiS and promoted IBiS and ITRIBIS events in different bulletins and web-sites. Finally, we created profiles on the social networks Twitter and LinkedIn, which were managed as professional tools to extend our contacts, strengthening our network.

The ITRIBIS Project included international experts’ involvement and measures to ensure proper scientific and technical management and follow up of the project were implemented. The project has the expression of interest of the regional administration (Department of Health & Department of Economy, Innovation and Science, Andalusian Regional Government), the national administration (Instituto de Salud Carlos III), the Academia and research institutions (University of Seville, Spanish Research Council) and the industry.

The improved infrastructure and research environment enhanced through ITRIBIS will have long-lasting effects, such as better science communication, closer knowledge transference and high-impact publications. Future actions will intend to achieve a better integration in ERA, increasing partnerships and regional cooperation, technology transfer actions, improving the participation of IBiS in Horizon 2020 or other international initiatives; finally contributing to the sustainability of the IBiS’ research excellence.
Project Context and Objectives:
Biomedical research is one of the most important factors of economic development in modern societies, and a strategic element of major importance for the economic growth of the European Union. Strong EU-based biomedical research will help strengthen the competitiveness of the European healthcare biotechnology, medical technology and pharmaceutical industries.

At a regional scale, Andalusia is making a definitive commitment to Biomedical Research, in order to overcome its present limitations in the sector, converting it into a strategic axis of its modernization. This commitment has resulted in important efforts of the Regional Government to provide infrastructures and material and human resources, and the promotion of innovative research lines through the development of an adequate legislative framework and financial aid for projects.

The Institute of Biomedicine of Seville (IBiS) is a high quality joint research centre established in 2006 by the Spanish Research Council, the University of Seville and the Andalusian Regional Government. It is one of the 18 health research institutes accredited in Spain by the Spanish Research Council (Instituto de Salud Carlos III). IBiS is a translational biomedical research centre, focused on most prevalent diseases and it is organized in 4 research areas: Neurosciences, Cardiovascular & Respiratory pathology, Oncohematology & Genetics, and Infectious diseases & Immune system.

With the prospect of increasing life expectancy of Europeans to over 90 years for the next decades, the frequency and mortality rate related to degenerative diseases (mainly neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases) are progressively increasing. Andalusia, and developed countries in general, are in a Health stage known as the "age of delayed degenerative diseases", in which cardiovascular diseases and cancer are first and second causes mortality, and neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer Diseases, Parkinson Disease) the major cause of dependence.

IBIS is already a high competitive center at national scale but further effort is still needed in order to fully develop its research potential and to become a center of excellence at European level.

Within this framework, ITRIBIS has been defined and designed to unlocking and developing the existing excellence of the IBiS in the research areas of cell degeneration and antimicrobial agents, helping to strengthen the potential of their researchers to successfully participate in research activities at European level:

• Cell degeneration of medical impact: study of pathogenesis of prevalent diseases aiming at identification of disease biomarkers and/or new therapeutic targets in:

o Neurodegenerative diseases particularly Alzheimer (AD) and Parkinson diseases (PD). Besides identification of disease biomarkers and/or new therapeutic targets, our objective is to develop innovative nonpharmacological advanced therapeutic interventions (cell and gene therapy, brain stimulation, etc) applicable to the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.

o Cardiovascular research focused on the cellular mechanisms and signaling pathways involved in ventricular remodeling as main cause of heart failure in revascularised post-acute myocardial infarction.

o Cancer research, particularly in cancer genome profiling using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies. NGS may have major impact on molecular classification of cancer types, based on comprehensive and complete molecular profiling of their cancer’s genome (so-called molecular fingerprinting). In addition, NGS may help in the identification of diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers and/or therapeutic target, which can led to individualisation of cancer management and prognosis.

• Novel preventive and therapeutic antimicrobial agents. The work focuses on obtaining therapeutic alternatives for the treatment of nosocomial and large epidemic infections and to develop non-antimicrobial approaches, as pathogen-specific vaccines to prevent the infection, and monoclonal antibodies as adjuvant therapy. In this area IBiS aims at finding new targets for the development of active drugs against resistant organisms as well as to identify proteins and to locate valid epitopes or antigenic determinants that serve as antigens for their use as vaccines or to elicit innate and adaptive immune responses.

Thus, the overall objective of ITRIBIS project was to distinguish the IBiS as a center of reference in translational research in Southern Europe, focus on cell degeneration, as the cause of the most prevalent diseases among Europeans, and on antimicrobial resistance. This would reinforce the IBiS position in the European Research Area and the transfer of knowledge, not only to the clinical setting, but to the biotech industry. ITRIBIS ultimate goal was to contribute to boost scientific and socioeconomic development in Andalusia.

To reach this goal, ITRIBIS established the 7 following specific objectives:

1. To gain know-how and experience through the twinning with reference institutions in the field of Biomedicine. This would be materialised in the increase of the impact of research results through key collaborations and highstanding publications (Work Package 2).

2. To improve the expertise of young researchers and give them skills in cutting-edge technologies through training visits to our partners (Work Package 2).

3. To provide the main lines of investigation (cell degeneration and antimicrobial resistance) with a highly qualified staffing, capable of carrying out highly competitive research at international level, while maintaining a balance between clinical and basic research (Work Package 3).

4. To achieve a highly trained support staff, specialized in the high standing core facilities of the center (Work Package 3).

5. To complete the core facilities of the IBIS, in order to increase competitiveness in the established lines (Work Package 4).

6. To strengthen the applicability of the achieved results through knowledge transfer to the biotechnological and pharmaceutical industries, contributing to regional development (Work Package 5).

7. To increase the visibility of the IBiS at European scale (Work Package 6).
Project Results:
The ITRIBIS Project was structured in seven Work Packages (WPs). WPs 1, 6 and 7 were horizontal WPs devoted to the coordination, dissemination and evaluation of the project, while WPs 2, 3, 4 and 5 were the core WPs of the ITRIBIS project.

WP1 – PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Work Package 1 aimed at the coordination of the project in both administrative and technical terms. The WP objectives were:

• To achieve the project’s objectives.
• To ensure a smooth implementation of the project through day-by-day management activities , fulfilling contractual requirements towards the EC.
• To develop and facilitate efficient communication between IBIS and the partner institutions and IBiS-EC.

ITRIBIS Project Coordinator, Dr. José López Barneo was in charge of following-up the progress of the project thanks to a close collaboration with the Work Package Leaders. He ensured the reporting to the European Commission and the dissemination of the results. He asked for periodic technical reporting from the Work Package Leaders that allowed to prevent deviations and to bring solutions to any difficulties. Furthermore, he kept a high level of communication with the partnering organisations.

ITRIBIS project manager was managing the delivery and the follow-up of administrative and financial issues, facilitating the communication and understanding of the European Commission requirements, being a permanent contact point for Prof. López Barneo regarding the participation in the project and responding to any relevant requests. She worked preparing and encouraging the official meetings and also supporting the coordinator in the consolidation of the deliverables required.

The Project Management Board was the management committee, comprised of the IBiS COPCI Board and chaired by the Project Coordinator, supported by the Project Manager. The Project Management Board was responsible for all decisions of general nature within the frame of the Grant Agreement. The main aims of this Board were to pay special attention to the detailed budget allocation, any re-definition of the overall work plan, the coordination of the activities and communication between the subgroups, and the overall project progress assessment. The Project Management Board has celebrated meetings on a monthly basis.

The ITRIBIS Project Action Plan has been developed through a strategic partnership with different outstanding research partnering organisations. At the end of the project, we have incorporated 10 partners and 4 new countries, being the following:

• Fribourg University-Switzerland: Antimicrobial Resistance
• King’s College London, School of Medicine-United Kingdom: Heart
• Julius-Maximilians-University, Wurzburg-Germany: Cancer
• Technical University of Denmark-Denmark: Antimicrobial Resistance
• Montpellier Cancer Research Institute-France: Cancer
• University of Rouen-France: Antimicrobial Resistance
• University of Southampton-United Kingdom: Cancer
• University College London-United Kingdom: Heart
• Utah University-United States: Biomedical Image
• University of Pavia-Italy: Biomedical Image

Concerning deliverables and milestones, the summary was:

• D1.1-Project kick-off minutes: M3

• D1.2-Project Handbook: M4

• D1.3-Conclusions of the Steering Committee-meeting: M18

• D1.4-Conclusions of the Steering Committee-meeting: M42

• MS1-Project kick-off meeting: M4

WP2 - TWINING THROUGH EXCHANGE OF KNOW-HOW AND EXPERIENCE

The main objective of WP2 was to improve the level of know-how and experience of IBIS staff. More specifically:

• To improve the expertise of young researchers and give them skills in new biomedical research technologies.
• To allow the transfer of knowledge among research groups
• To increase the visibility of the IBiS at National and European level.

TRANS-NATIONAL SECONDMENTS

Short term secondments of researchers and technicians are being developed in prestigious scientific institutions around Europe and USA. The updated partnering organizations map is detailed in https://itribis.ibis-sevilla.es/collaboration-network/

The length of the secondments varied between 5 days and four months depending on the availability and the timeframe of the involved people from both sides. Those practical experiences acted as significant added value in their career development and must be flexible, in order to adapt to such situations. As a result of that, IBiS researchers and technicians developed 30 visits in 17 outstanding research centres from 16 partnering organizations in 8 different countries during the whole project. The summary of the stays done is the following:

• LABEX LERMIT University Paris-Sud: Cardiology researcher, 57 days.

• Montpellier Cancer Research Institute: Oncology researcher, 39 days.

• Aix Marseille University II: Antimicrobial Resistance researcher, 60 days.

• University of Rouen: Antimicrobial Resistance researcher, 55 days.

• Karolinska Institute:

o Neuroscience researchers, 57 days.
o Microscopy and Cytometry technicians, 45 days.

• European Molecular Biology Laboratory:

o Oncology researcher, 21 days.
o Neurosciences researcher, 15 days.
o Genomics and Cytometry technicians, 45 days.

• European Bioinformatics Institute: Bioinformatics technician, 5 days.

• Institute of Cancer Research: Oncology researcher, 60 days.

• King’s College London: Cardiology researcher, 6 days.

• Oxford University: Neurosciences researchers, 44 days.

• Southampton University: Oncology researcher, 90 days.

• University College London: Oncology researcher, 35 days.

• Technical University Munich: Neurosciences researchers, 8 days.

• University of Wurzburg: Oncology researcher, 60 days.

• University of Fribourg: Antimicrobial Resistance researcher, 60 days.

• University of Pavia: Biomedical Informatics researcher, 14 days.

• University of Utah: Biomedical Informatics researchers, 40 days.

All those partnering organizations are currently collaborating with IBiS and will help the institution to boost its excellence in the near future.

Regarding the whole execution period and in comparison to the outgoing stays foreseen in the DoW, the result is the following:

• Number of stays/days:
o Executed in Period 1: 31%
o Executed in Period 2 + Extension: 63%

• Budget execution:
o Executed in Period 1: 35%
o Executed in Period 2 + Extension: 72%

ITRIBIS secondment in Karolinska Institute let the publication of a poster of Konstantin L. Levitsky, Alejandro García-Nuñez, Juan F. Martín-Rodriguez, David Cano, Juan José Toledo-Aral, José López-Barneo and Javier Villadiego “Direct confocal acquisition of fluorescence from X-gal staining on thick tissue sections”, exhibited in the 15th annual meeting of the European Light Microscopy Initiative, celebrated in Sitges in 2015.

Avenzoar Pharmaceutical Foundation recognized Maria Jose Oliva’s work about Caspase 8, a potential therapeutic tool in the treatment of septic shock, as the best scientific article, awarded with the 2015 Matilde Reyes Malpica Prize. Part of the project was developed during her stay in Karolinska Institute thanks to an ITRIBiS secondment.

Finally, ITRIBIS secondments in LABEX LERMIT University Paris-Sud, let the publication of a poster of Alejandro Dominguez Rodriguez, Ignacio Díaz, Eva Sánchez de Rojas-de Pedro, Abdelkrim Hmadcha, Eva Calderón-Sánchez, Jean-Pierre Benitah, Ana Maria Gomez, Tarik Smani and Antonio Ordóñez, “Role of altered Ca2+ homeostasis during Adverse Cardiac Remodeling after Ischemia/Reperfusion”, exhibited in the Congress “Ischemic conditioning and targeting reperfusion: a 30 year voyage of discovery”, celebrated in the Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron - Barcelona in 2016.

ORGANISATION OF WORKSHOPS AND CONFERENCES

The Institute hosted all the workshops and conferences planned in the proposal, and also organized other international high-impact events:

• 2 International lectures:

o I Seville Molecular Medicine Workshop, entitled “Hypoxia, Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Translation”. December 2014.

o II Seville Molecular Medicine Workshop, entitled “Cell Therapy, Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Translation”. May 2015.

• 7 workshops inviting expert researchers:

o Dr. Arthur Konnerth (Technical University, Munich). Workshop on Optogenetics Imaging, June 2014.

o Dr. Ana María Gómez (LABEX LERMIT University Paris-Sud, France) and others. Workshop on Advances in Cardiology: from the molecule to the clinic, May 2015.

o Dr. Jens Hjerling Leffler (Karolinska Institutet, Sweden). Workshop on Neurosciences: Using single cell sequencing to reveal neuronal classes, November 2015.

o Dr. Patrice Nordmann (Fribourg University, Switzerland) and others. Workshop on Global spread of carbapenemase-producing Gramnegative Bacilli: a major challenge for treatment and infection control, January 2016.

o Dr. Johnnie Bremholm Andersen (Aarhus University, Denmark). Workshop on Design Based Stereology, June 2016.

o Dr. Sergio Vargas (Chile University, Chile). Workshop on Prevention infectious diseases & well-being related to Pneumocystis infection, October, 2016.

o Dr. Joaquín Mateo (Institute of Cancer Research, UK). Workshop on Molecular Pathology, October 2016.

• ITRIBIS seminars: Worldwide renowned scientists regularly visit IBiS for giving talks. Since July 2013, a total of 56 conferences were held in 4 editions of the IBiS Seminar Series.

A tender for the procurement of a travel agency and event management service was published to facilitate the organization of the events, working as a framework agreement between three companies.

Finally, concerning deliverables and milestones, all mentioned reports were approved by the EC during the project execution and the MS2 milestone was reached at the expected time. Thus, WP2 summary is the following:

• D2.1-Report on “International spring lectures on molecular medicine”: M18 & M36

• D2.2-Report on Workshop on Optogenetics imaging: M13 & M33

• D2.3-Report on Workshop on the Molecular Pathology: M40

• D2.4-Report on Workshop on Global spread of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae: M33

• D2.5-Report on Workshop on Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging: M24

• D2.6-Two-way secondments evaluation Reports: M12

• D2.7-Two-way secondments evaluation Reports: M24

• D2.8-Two-way secondments evaluation Reports: M40

• D2.9-Report on Workshop on Design Based Stereology: M40

• D2.10-Report on Workshop on Prevention infectious diseases & wellbeing: M40

• MS2-Ending of secondments: M40

WP3 - RECRUITMENT OF EXPERIENCED RESEARCHERS

In order to strengthen IBIS’ human capital in cell degeneration and antimicrobial resistance, as well as to overcome current difficulties to attain high-qualified technicians in these areas, the main objectives of this WP were:

1. To recruit 6 highly qualified researchers:

a. A qualified senior scientist, with scientific profile in cancer, to develop the bioinformatics area and to support the bioinformatics platform.

b. An experienced senior clinician scientist working on neurodegeneration in Alzheimer disease.

c. Two basic/translational experienced scientists working on heart molecular pathology.

d. Two basic/translational experienced scientists working on antimicrobial resistance.

2. To recruit 5 highly trained technicians for running newly acquired equipments:

a. An expert technician in bioinformatics.
b. An expert technician in proteomics.
c. An expert technician in imaging.
d. An expert technician in genomics.
e. An expert technician in cell sorting.

3. To potentiate the successful development of the professional career of each new incorporation.

ITRIBIS allowed the recruitment of 13 employees with scientific, technical and management profiles. Two researchers on Neurosciences were recruited due to the high workload associated with the implementation of the new research group’s laboratory; and only one antimicrobial researcher regarding his high level profile. The global number of contracts did not change and remained within the approved budget.

With the agreement of the project officer, a qualified technician in proteomics was hired, instead of the foreseen cell sorting technician. The first bioinformatics technician resigned after a while and a second job offer was published. The key positions proposed under the scope of ITRIBIS and their currest situation is the following:

• Project manager: IBiS structure

• Senior antimicrobial researcher: Hired by CSIC in CNB (Madrid)

• Senior clinical cardiovascular researcher: Not hired

• Senior basic cardiovascular researcher: Hired by an IBiS' group

• Senior bioinformatics researcher: Hired by CSIC

• Bioinformatics technician: IBiS structure

• Proteomics technician: IBiS structure

• Genomics technician: IBiS structure

• Genomics / proteomics technician: Hired by an IBiS' group

• Senior neurodegeneration researcher: Hired by HUVR

• Translational neuropathology researcher: Hired by an IBiS' group

• Technology Transfer Manager: Not hired

• Imaging technician: IBiS structure

Concerning deliverables and milestones, the summary was:

• D3.1-Report on recruitment of experienced researchers: M25

• MS3-Ending of recruitment: M24

WP4 - IMPROVEMENT OF RESEARCH EQUIPMENT

In order to complete the IBiS General Core Facilities for high throughput research and animal imaging, the objectives of this WP were:

• To create new work platforms in bioinformatics, imaging and proteomics.
• To reinforce the GCF with a new platform of electron microscopy.
• To improve the existing facilities on genomics and cell separation.

Calls for tenders were issued for the purchase of last generation technological equipment:

1. High resolution mass spectrometry system: Thermo Fisher Scientific, SL.

2. MRI equipment for imaging in animal models: Bruker Spanish, SA.

3. HPC bioinformatic system: Sistemas Informáticos Europeos, SL.

Regarding the existing microscopy services, consisting in confocal and optical microscopy, the initial plan was to upgrade them with a cutting-edge electron microscope which would have automatized the existing electron microscope. Nevertheless, we proposed using the approved microscopy budget to address storage space needs, as that amount was not enough to buy a high-quality equipment that actually solved the need for the imaging service. The modification was approved by the European Commission and the last call for tenders was published:

4. IT infrastructure and data storage service: Bull Spain, SA.

Furthermore, the center hosted an Open Day in November 2014 to introduce the general public the new equipment purchased.

The EC approved the aquisition of some minor laboratory equipment for the Large Appliances Service, which has equipment of common use for techniques covering molecular and cell biology and it provides researchers with the necessary instrumentation and technical support required to carry out the different techniques.

To complement the services currently provided by that unit, the following equipment was bought in 2016: a cryostat, an orbital shaker, an ImageQuant for Western-blot experiments, an electroporator, an Updating of the NT Cycler to QuantStudio12K Open Array; and a thermocycler.

Finally, concerning deliverables, the summary of WP4 was:

• D4.1-Report on tender process for equipment: M12
• D4.2-Report on the Open Day for presentations of new facilities & equipment: M18

Regarding milestones and after the acquisitions of the minor laboratory equipment for the Large Appliances Service, the update was:

• MS4-Purchase of equipment: M36

WP5 - IBIS STRATEGIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT PLAN

The main objective of this WP was to boost the valorization of the knowledge generated by the IBiS research groups, through the development of an Intellectual Property (IP) Plan and protection of know-how, as well as Innovation capacity building. In order to achieve this purpose, several specific objectives were defined:

• To detect the main weaknesses in the actual management of results procedure.
• To maximize the applicability of research results through an appropriate plan of Intellectual Property Rights.
• To provide high qualified technical staff, strengthening the current transfer structure and creating a specialized and qualified organization, with a key role in technological watch.

The Technology Transfer Unit is a functional department supporting the successful interaction between researchers and the industry. Its main goal is to further the innovation in business activities and to increase the number as well as the level of market success of innovative products, processes and services developed by research organizations. The Unit assists in the knowledge transfer and transfer of know-how to businesses and initiates contacts which end in collaborative projects.

The Institute is working to develop a technology transfer strategy for the protection and exploitation of the research results. IBiS appointed a Technology Transfer Committee and they are finishing the redaction of a Technology Transfer Plan combining the interests of IBiS supporters: Andalusian Regional Government, University of Seville and Spanish National Research Council.

In order to keep growing the tasks and achieve the ambitious ITRIBIS IPR goals, the Technology Transfer Unit hired a Manager, whose work was totally task-oriented to the improvement of the results transfer. Nevertheless, he is not currently working at IBiS, so the area of technology transfer would require a careful attention of IBiS board of directors to ensure technology identification, technology valorisation and scouting to upport innovation and technology transfer.

Some of the most important milestones achieved by the Technology Transfer Unit were the following:

• In terms of training activities, ITRIBIS promoted a number of events, both in side and elsewhere, in addition to those organized by other local or regional institutions. Staff innovation managers have attended innovation and Technology Tranfer events at local, regional, national and international levels.

• The first Industrial Open Day on Technology Transfer at the Biomedical Sector was held in 2014. The main goal of the conference was to introduce ITRIBIS Project, release IBIS research areas and broaden contacts with specialized companies, presenting their business models and capabilities in the same scene. We aimed to bring companies and research groups to explore their potential collaborations. Therefore, the objetive was not only to exhibit technologies in IBiS transfer portfolio, but identifying new opportunities for develop research projects together. The meeting was very well attended by more than 130 participants.

• The second Industrial OpenDay was held in 2015; within the European Biotechnology Week and a review about IBIS participation was published in the Europabio newsletter.

• The Workshop on Technology Transfer was held in 2016 and the activity consisted of an introductory roundtable on the transfer of technology in the IBIS, as well as parallel sessions focused on private investment in biomedicine, key aspects in business development and technology transfer in this sector; and successful stories of public-private collaboration in the institute. As part of the event, the 1st IBIS Investor Forum was held and there were meetings with an expert of the Center for Industrial Technological Development, CDTi. Information panels on the services offered by the IBIS were also displayed. Finally, a bilateral meeting was held between companies in the biomedical sector, investors and research groups.

• ITRIBIS supported the organization of the European Public-Private Partnership Innovation Conference (EPPPIC), celebrated in 2016 and focused on identifying the major barriers and the recommended strategies to overcome them in order to promote the establishment of PPPs in Europe in the genomic field.

• Several partnerships with public funding agencies have been successfully concluded and new research projects presented and/or funded, such as “Technological Corporation of Andalusia” (CTA), INNPACTO (Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness), Innterconecta II, programs CSBS, Instituto Carlos III. ITRIBIS international evaluators also underlined the dynamism of IBiS members when looking for European and non-European funding.

• Transfer Unit meets every laboratory in order to improve the transfer of all results in IBIS, find new ways to develop new projects in collaboration with private sector (biopharma and biotech companies) and make new strategies and marketing studies.

Finally, WP5 deliverables were the following:

• D5.1-Report on the state of current IPR management: M12

• D5.2-Final IPR Development Plan: M24

WP6 - DISSEMINATION OF PROJECT RESULTS AND PUBLIC AWARENESS

The overall aim of this WP was to increase the visibility of the IBiS and ensure that the project results are shared with target groups and stakeholders. For achieving this purpose, this WP dealed with two different types of activities: dissemination activities (aiming at disseminating the project results and increasing the project impact and visibility) and exploitation issues (aiming at ensuring the sustainability of IBiS’s research excellence and the socioeconomic contribution to the Andalusian Region).

Objectives related to the dissemination of the project:

• To present the ITRIBIS progress and results to the possible beneficiary of the IBiS research excellence: scientific community, industry, and end users.
• To present the ITRIBIS excellence progress to the general public.
• To raise the awareness of health national and regional policy-makers in order to facilitate:

o Their contribution to the IBiS’ sustainability.
o The IBiS’ contribution to social – economic development of Andalusian Region.

Objectives related to the exploitation of the project results:

• To achieve a better integration in ERA.
• To increase partnerships and regional cooperation.
• To improve the IBiS participation in FP7 and Horizon 2020 projects.
• To contribute to the sustainability of the IBiS’ research excellence.

IBIS met the dissemination plan. During ITRIBIS Project the following actions were taken:

1. Design of a Corporate Image Manual for the project and preparation of stationery such as brochures, banners, folders, pendrives, etc.
2. Creation and management of the public web-site: https://itribis.ibis-sevilla.es and the intranet for the registration of researchers and biomedicine companies.
3. Creation and management of the profiles in Twitter and LinkedIn, maximizing the impact of the project’s progress and IBIS’ news.
4. Communication in press media.
5. Communication of the project advance in public events.
6. Updating of the dissemination activities in the Participant Portal.

We also celebrated several Students Open Days, respectively focused on high school pupils (21st Jan 2015, 14th Dec 2015 and 10th Feb 2016), school pupils (18th Feb 2016) and on university students (6th Mar 2015). The latter one was organised with FEBIOTEC, the Spanish Federation of Biotechnology and achieved a record attendance with over 120 people invited.

IBiS received the visit of Ms. Carmen Madrid González, Project Officer, in March 2015 in the framework of the last mentioned Students Open Day. The meeting was very fruitful, clearing concrete doubts raised about the justification sent and discussing about proposals for the future after ITRIBIS Project, especially in the context of Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3).

Professionals from IBiS and University Hospitals Virgen Macarena and Virgen del Rocío (HUVM-HUVR) also participated in the Science Fair 2014 and 2015, a meeting of Andalusian schools, research centers, university departments and other entities engaged in science, technology and environment. IBiS organized three editions of the Healthy Cardiovascular Day (2014-2016), with the support of the ITRIBIS Project. The event always starts with a race around the campus, then a healthy breakfast and finally a CPR workshop.

We can also highlight on the one hand, the visit of the President of the Andalusian Regional Government, Mrs. Susana Diaz, who visited the Institute of Biomedicine of Seville in 2015 to see the research lines of the center. Mrs. Diaz was accompanied by the Acting Rector of the University of Seville, Mr. Miguel Angel Castro; and the Directors of Health, Mr. Aquilino Alonso, and Economy & Knowledge, Mr. Antonio Ramirez de Arellano. On the other hand, members of the Ministry of Education and Science of Lithuania visited IBiS in 2016. We took advantage of that visit to explained ITRIBiS Project and look for collaborations.

Thanks to the 4-month extension, EC approved the production of videos of the IBIS Core Facilities. We recorded one for each IBIS service that can be offered to external users and which will be published in the IBiS web-site soon.

Those videos are conceived as support tools for the “Valorisation of Research & Development results”, addressed in the WP5, to transform theoretical research results into products, processes, services or innovative and economically viable forms of technology duly protected by IPR. The inflow of economic resources thanks to this valorisation will reinforce the IBIS structure.

Finally, concerning deliverables, the summary was:

• D6.1-Report on launching of the project web page: M3

• D6.2-Dissemination material: M6

• D6.3-Initial dissemination and exploitation plan: M6

• D6.4-Dissemination material: M12

• D6.5-Dissemination material: M24

• D6.6-Dissemination material: M40

WP7 – EX-POST EVALUATION

This Work Package took place after the implementation of the whole action plan, described in the WP2 to WP5. Its specific objectives were:

• To evaluate the overall research quality and capability of the IBIS.
• To determine the most appropriate ways and methods to preserve its excellence.
• To explore its contribution to the regional/European sustainable development.
• To perform an international independent expert evaluation of IBIS overall research quality and capability (including management and infrastructure).

The evaluation was carried out by four high-level, independent international experts proposed by the European Commission and with the agreement of IBIS:

• Dr. Erik Goormaghtigh, Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) and ITRIBIS evaluator.
• Dr. João José Oliveira Malva, University of Coimbra (Portugal) and ITRIBIS evaluator.
• Dr. Emilio Carbone, Università degli Studi di Torino (Italy) and ITRIBIS evaluator.
• Dr. Rafael Alonso, University of La Laguna (Spain) and ITRIBIS Evaluation Chairman.

Coincident with the last months of the plan execution (M39), they met the Steering Committee to discuss the results of the ITRIBIS project through two weeks in September-October 2016 (1st visit). Meetings celebrated served as the basis for the experts’ evaluation, which was carried out remotely during 10 days per expert, except for the Chairman, who employed 14 days in order to coordinate and make the synthesis of all contributions.

In the month 42, the results of the evaluation were discussed in a round table session by the Steering Committee, Project Management Board and Experts (2nd visit) jointly with the representatives of the Spanish and Regional Authorities, to design the main lines of a medium-scale action plan for the enhancement of the IBIS excellence. The visit duration was 2 days and after that, the independent experts elaborated a report which included a series of recommendations for the sustainability of IBIS research and for an efficient contribution of IBIS to the socioeconomic growth of Andalusia.
Potential Impact:
From the initial SWOT analysis exhibited in the proposal, the ITRIBIS project defined a series of specific objectives and developed different actions to counteract the identified weaknesses. As a general conclusion, the ex-post evaluation shown that the proposed activities carried out in the context of ITRIBIS have had a significant impact on the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities of IBiS.

The societal implications and impact of the project have been analised taking into account the dated SWOT analysis elaborated by the evaluation team and the project coordinator, which includes the impact of ITRIBIS on IBiS and also the socio-economic perspectives of this project, basis for the design of future actions to sustain the current excellence of the institute.

Regarding the strengths, IBiS is a translational research institute integrated in one of the largest hospitals in Spain. During the ITRIBIS execution peirod, the number of groups leaded by investigators with clinical duties has been increased. In addition, the number and quality of the core facilities that are now available to the groups of the hospital associated to IBiS has improved. The scientific interactions and opportunity to carry on common translational projects between clinicians and basic scientists of IBiS increased, too.

Secondly, the center has a strong institutional support at regional and national levels. One of the team leaders incorporated through the ITRIBIS programme has been awarded a stable position at the Spanish Research Council (CSIC). It is also very positive the multidisciplinary inter and intra-research groups. The newly incorporated basic and clinical investigators have launched collaborative projects with several other groups at IBiS, and this fact reflected in an increased number of jointly published papers with improved translational content in the leading research topics of IBiS. This collaboration has also been stimulated by the organization of workshops and seminars supported by ITRIBiS.

Thanks to the ITRIBIS programme, several new researchers within international experience as group leaders or with advanced postdoctoral experience have been drafted. Four of the six investigators and some technicians hired by ITRIBIS will remain at IBiS. ITRIBIS has also allowed the incorporation of new young investigators at the level of team leader and advanced postdoc. The high presence of well-trained young leaders has contributed to increase the quantity and rate of quality of the scientific publications. Ibis also maintained a specific training programme for young researchers (MD, MSc, PhD).

Other strenght is the good capacity to attract national and regional competitive funds. An outstanding scientific performance and funding competitiveness of key research groups have been enhanced. During the ITRIBIS project two IBiS group leaders have been awarded an Advanced Grant and a Starting Grant from the European Research Council. Furthermore, practically all IBiS groups’ leaders are receiving competitive grants funded by national and private agencies. ITRIBIS project had a clearly synergetic effect on the scientific cooperation between the members of the IBiS and the partnering organizations. Thanks to the sharing of acquired skills and the improved facilities for joint projects between the institutions, ther has been a significant increase in the IBiS experimental and scientific impact in the European Research Area.

Regarding the recent construction of the new IBiS building, ITRIBIS helped to maintain the scientific infrastructures of the IBiS and facilitated the incorporation of new ones. New highly competitive core facilities have been added to IBiS thanks to the support to the ITRIBIS programme, and expert technicians have been recruited and even trained. Both actions have contributed to the implementation of state-of-the art technology and equipment to the institute, and the development of a high quality communication system and online management.

IBiS continues having access to the Andalusia bio-resources bank. Finally, the well-defined management practices continue within the context of the Strategic Plan of the centre and the continuous feedback from the External Advisory Board and evaluators is well-received.

Concerning the IBiS weaknesses detected in the proposal, the first one was an insufficient competitiveness at European scale. This has been improved by increasing the number of competitive group leaders and the quality of the core facilities. In addition, the capacity to attract European funding has been demonstrated, and the high quality of key researchers resulted in several ERC advanced/starting grants, which should be considered a remarkable achievement. Several members of IBiS are now part of European integrated projects. Even though the visibility at international level has been improved with ITRIBIS, this weakness remains and the international visibility is not yet at an optimal level.

Secondly, the clinical researchers have a high working load of health care tasks and this is still a major limitation of the research centre, since practically in all Spanish hospitals, research is still considered an activity ranked with a “second or third priority” after clinical and teaching duties. Furthermore, there is a lack of basic investigators in some areas. The area of Bioinformatics has been reinforced, but we consider the lack of basic investigators in the areas of Infectious Diseases and Cardiorespiratory medicine as a major weak aspect of the IBiS.

Internationalization is a pending weakness of IBIS, as well as of other Spanish research centres, due to the lack of ability and/or capacity of offering competitive jobs to highly reputed scientists and high-qualified technicians. However, when analising the collaboration with the partnering organizations in H2020 and other European Funding Programmes, there is an excellent alignment of IBiS with H2020 priorities (including societal challenges) and with Andalusia Reference Site for Active and Healthy Ageing.

The actions defined for this continuity will be addressed to develop new periodic secondments, training and partnering through other international research projects. In Horizon 2020 and regarding the Societal Challenges, Health, demographic change and wellbeing is the main programme related to biomedical research, although Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research could be interesting, too.

In Excellent Science, IBiS researchers and technicians could participate in the European Research Council calls, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and even in the Research Infrastructures programme. Finally, in Industrial Leadership ITRIBIS members could be interested in the Innovation in SMEs programme.

Furthermore, ITRIBIS partners will be updated on additional research activities, initiatives executed by several Member States or joint programmes, co-funded calls, thematic opportunities and intergovernmental actions. In particular, the following initiatives could stimulate the EU participation:

- European Cohesion and Regional Funds' competitive programmes.
- COST Actions.
- Transnational Programs (EUREKA, IBEROEKA...)
- Partnerships: PPP, JTIs, EIT, JPIs, EIPs, etc.

The final expected impact of the increase of participation of the investigators in that kind of initiatives, is that the results in research are transferred to the health practice and to the biomedical industry. This transfer will contribute to the social and economic development of the region, avoiding the brain drain and contributing to create an excellence science able to develop technologies and its application, improving competitiveness and overall the lives of all citizens across Europe.

Finally, regarding the IPR strategy, the recruitment of an IPR manager (although not maintained after ITRIBIS) helped to increase the number of technology transfer activities and results. Nevertheless and according to the external evaluators, there is still not strong evidence for the technology transfer policy and economic sustainability for IBiS in the long term.

To try to solve that situation, IBiS appointed a Technology Transfer Committee, which meets periodically to address specific issues of technology transfer that require the decision of all the involved parties. This Technology Transfer Committee establishes the mandatory indicators for assessing the compliance with the objectives of transfer, being mandatory the ellaboration of an annual report to be submitted to the Governing Council, with all the transfer activities developed, and with the participation of all the signatory institutions.

Regarding the IBiS opportunities, research has been improved in quantity and quality through ITRIBIS. This creates new opportunities for the building clusters of biomedical excellence in Andalusia able to attract new talents for Europe and to extend its influence to institutions in Southern Europe. The availability of recruitment sources has improved thanks to ITRIBIS, since most of scientists and technicians hired during ITRIBIS will remain at IBiS supported by local sources.

We should highlight the improvement of core facilities in high throughput research, bioinformatics and animal imaging. With the view of increasing the opportunities of collaborative research with local SME and start-ups, several meetings between technicians, researchers and pharma or biotech companies have been organized within the context of ITRIBIS.

Finally and regarding the possible threats, Biomedicine is a highly competitive area. In this respect, all IBiS research areas should ensure high-level of funding to guarantee sustainability. Currently, high level performance of all scientific groups is not reaching outstanding levels (e.g. ERC grants). Furthermore, IBiS is suffering the brain drain of research personnel, especially postdocs and this is one of the main threats of the institute (and practically all Spanish research institutions).

In addition, there are still big restrictions to contract foreigner scientists (poor competitive salaries in Southern Europe with resect to other European areas). This affects not only well-established scientists, but also to technicians due to economic restrictions and/or poor capacity to raise long-term contracts.

ITRIBIS has helped IBiS to partially overcome that trend, although major reforms in the R & D laws and institutional rules are necessary to appropriately address this issue. During the execution of the project up to 13 new positions were created at the institute, and indirectly, advances transferred to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector, will enhance job creation in the sector at regional level.

As many other European research centres, the recent economic crisis has negatively affected IBiS, mainly to the Spanish Research Council (CSIC), one of the four institutions supporting the institute. Other current threat is the lack of research tradition in the regional industry. The mutual knowledge between IBiS and the local biotech industry has improved with respect to the past, mainly thanks to the meetings and workshops organized by the ITRIBiS programme. We consider this important action must be maintained and improved on a long-term basis.
List of Websites:
Public web-site:

https://itribis.ibis-sevilla.es

Contact details:

• Dr. José López Barneo, ITRIBIS Project Coordinator and IBiS Director
Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío. Institute of Biomedicine of Seville. Avda. Manuel Siurot s/n. 41013, Seville (Spain).
Phone number: +34 955923000.

• Dr. José Cañón Campos, IBiS Managing Director and FISEVI Managing Director
Fundación Pública Andaluza para la Gestión de la Investigación en Salud de Sevilla (FISEVI). Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío. Laboratories Building, 6th floor. Avda. Manuel Siurot s/n 41013, Seville (Spain)
Phone number: +34 955013284.

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FUNDACION PUBLICA ANDALUZA PARA LAGESTION DE LA INVESTIGACION EN SALUD DE SEVILLA
Spain
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