Skip to main content

Postdoctoral Program in Integrative Kidney Physiology and Pathophysiology

Final Report Summary - IKPP (Postdoctoral Program in Integrative Kidney Physiology and Pathophysiology)

IKPP – International Fellowship Programme on Integrative Kidney Physiology and Pathophysiology (www.ikpp.unibe.ch) was a newly funded postdoctoral programme co-financed by the 7th framework programme (FP7) of the European Commission.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): the silent epidemic. CKD is a progressive condition due to irreversible kidney damage and loss of function. Recent data show that 10% of the world population has some degree of CKD, sometimes progressing to dialysis or transplantation. The CKD prevalence is rising because it is linked to other modern epidemics such as obesity, hypertension or diabetes. Worldwide more than 50 million people are affected, leading to costs of more than 6% of health care budgets. Unfortunately in most cases people are unaware of the fact that they have CKD. In a recent meeting at the European Parliament, the European Kidney Health Alliance called for European health policies to support early identification and treatment of CKD. Efforts should be pulled together at European level by putting the prevention of CKD high on the agenda, through exchange of best practices between Member States and improvement of existing technologies for early CKD detection.

Integrative Kidney Physiology and Pathophysiology (IKPP) – a Swiss Postdoctoral programme. The main reason for the devastating consequences of impaired renal function is the central role of the kidneys in body homeostasis. In this regard the IKPP network of nephrologists and renal physiologists builds on a longstanding and strong tradition of kidney research in Switzerland. We gathered leading specialists in experimental and clinical nephrology to set up a new Postdoctoral programme at Swiss Universities for European fellows, in order to strengthen integrative thinking and awareness for kidney-centred homeostatic systems. Our programme provided Europe with a new generation of kidney researchers and considerably improved the research quality of the European Research Area. Postdoctoral fellows were furthermore trained in communication and management skills, which are indispensable for a successful career development. The ultimate goal however was to face the CKD epidemic by deciphering the mechanisms of normal and deranged kidney function.

The IKPP postdoctoral programme was a new national programme that aimed at increasing the European-wide mobility possibilities for training and career development of experienced researchers, in line with the objectives set out in the activity heading “Life-long training and career development” of the Marie Curie work programme. The network aimed to broaden and deepen researchers’ individual competence shortly after having obtained a doctorate, in particular in terms of acquisition of multi- or interdisciplinary skills and intersectoral experiences.

IKPP recruited 18 fellows in its initial phase (2010 – 2013). 12 candidates were selected in the first call for applicants in autumn 2010 and 6 positions were filled in the second call in spring 2011. Due to unforeseen drop-outs of recruited fellows, IKPP implemented a third call for applicants in spring 2012. In this third call, 4 fellows were recruited. All but 3 IKPP fellows have finalised their individual research projects within IKPP. The 3 IKPP fellows still working in the IKPP network will finish their 2-years fellowship with funding from the host institutions.

In autumn 2012, IKPP decided to continue the fellowship programme in an improved form based on the proposed midterm evaluation of IKPP and the drafted road map. In summer 2013 the European Commission agreed to cofound further fellowships within the framework of IKPP 2 and the first generation of IKPP 2 fellows have been recruited in the last months.

IKPP website: www.ikpp.unibe.ch
IKPP contact: Uyen Huynh-Do, IKPP training programme director (uyen.huynh-do@insel.ch) Rachel Jossen, IKPP project manager (rachel.jossen@dkf.unibe.ch).