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International Fellowship Program on Integrative Kidney Physiology and Pathophysiology

Final Report Summary - IKPP2 (International Fellowship Program on Integrative Kidney Physiology and Pathophysiology)

IKPP2 - International Fellowship Programme on Integrative Kidney Physiology and Pathophysiology (see here: www.ikpp.unibe.ch and Attachment 1) was a funded postdoctoral programme co-financed by the 7th framework programme (FP7) of the European Commission and a follow-up programme of IKPP1. Its aim was to better understand the mechanisms of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in order to find novel therapeutic modalities.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): the silent epidemic. CKD is a progressive condition due to irreversible kidney damage and loss of function. Data show that I0% 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. Therefore, 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. Regarding kidney research the IKPP network of nephrologists and renal physiologists built on a longstanding and strong tradition in Switzerland. With the programmes IKPP1 and IKPP2 we provided a field for leading specialists in experimental and clinical nephrology and young postdoctoral fellows to deepen the understanding of the kidneys’ function for body homeostasis. IKPP1 and IKPP2 were set up at Swiss universities for international postdoctoral fellows, in order to strengthen integrative thinking and awareness for kidney-centred homeostatic systems. Thus IKPP provided Europe with a new generation of highly capable kidney researchers with the ultimate scope to face the CKD epidemic by deciphering the mechanisms of normal and deranged kidney function. In this way IKPP also substantially helped to improve the research quality of the European Research Area.
Postdoctoral fellows of IKPP2 received both training in the lab and blended learning on nephrology, which was developed during IKPP1, and allowed the acquisition of a Certificate of Advanced Studies / Diploma of Advanced Studies (CAS/DAS) in Translational Nephrology issued by the University of Bern (see also here: http://www.nephrologie.unibe.ch) from 2017 onwards. Regarding their career, IKPP2-fellows undoubtly benefitted from this additional qualification, making them more competitive, and we are glad and proud they could achieve it in the frame of IKPP2. Besides their training in kidney research postdoctoral fellows were also trained in communication, management and networking skills, which are indispensable for a successful career development.
The IKPP2 postdoctoral programme was an international programme, aiming at increasing the European-wide mobility possibilities for training and career development of experienced researchers. Hence it promoted the objectives set out in the activity heading "Life-long training and career development" of the Marie Curie work programme. IKPP2 had the scope to broaden and deepen researchers' individual competence and expertise in particular in terms of acquisition of multi- or interdisciplinary skills and intersectoral experiences. In total, IKPP2 provided 21 fellowships. For researcher shortly after their doctorate IKPP2 offered 18 positions in the INCOMING-scheme. Three fellowships were provided in the REINTEGRATION-scheme for more experienced fellows, who wished to come back to Switzerland after a research stay out of Europe.
All fellowships in the INCOMING-scheme of IKPP2 were awarded, as well as one in the REINTEGRATION-scheme. Fellows were recruited in 7 INCOMING- and 3 REINTEGRATION-calls.
Project host organizations:
1. Universität Bern
Department of Nephrology and Hypertension
Inselspital

2. Universität Basel
Pharmacenter

3. Université de Lausanne
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

4. Universität Zürich
Institute of Physiology

5. Université de Genève
Service of Nephrology

6. Université de Fribourg
Department of Medicine / Physiology


IKPP website: www.ikpp.unibe.ch
IKPP contact: Uyen Huynh-Do, IKPP training programme director (uyen.huynh-do@insel.ch) Elisa Merkel, IKPP project manager (elisa.merkel@dbmr.unibe.ch).