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MUltiSectoral Integrative approaches to CArdiac care

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MUSICARE (MUltiSectoral Integrative approaches to CArdiac care)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-12-31

MUltiSectoral Integrative approaches to CArdiac caRE – MUSICARE - is proposed by a team of universities, companies and hospitals from 4 EU countries (Italy, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium). The main scope of MUSICARE is to structure a new trans-sectoral and multidisciplinary network capable of developing research and technology with no barriers between academia, industries and clinicians in the cardiac arena, and of shaping young researchers with a novel and truly multidisciplinary mindset, capable of developing clinical- and business-oriented technology including tools for the advancement of base knowledge. MUSICARE activity will impact on the field of cardiac surgery in three ways:
i) from a scientific standpoint, new knowledge will be gained regarding the response of tissues to their surgical reshaping, to the implantation of devices and to drugs;
ii) from a technological standpoint, new technologies will be developed to improve the design and generation of new clinical solutions, the clinical training, and image-based diagnosis and prognosis;
iii) from an educational standpoint, a new paradigm of PhD track will be implemented, which will combine academic research in the field of biomedical engineering with industrial research activities and with on-the-field activity within clinical infrastructures. This novel PhD track is addressed to 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) recruited in the project by universities (7) and companies (8).
Concerning the first two objectives i) and ii), all the activities envisioned in the DoA have been started timely, right after the recruitment of the ESRs involved. So far, no major deviations from the planned activities have been implemented, as described in the Scientific reports submitted as Deliverables of the project.
From the educational standpoint (objective iii), 14 out of 15 ESRs have already been enrolled in a specific PhD programme. All ESRs have already attended several academic courses and training activities.

In February 2016 all the ESRs participated to the first School of MUSICA, held in Lecco (Italy) and organized by POLIMI. All Beneficiaries were involved in the teaching activies and the School has been included in the teaching initiatives Bioengineering PhD Program of Politecnico di Milano, awarding 5 ECTS credits. Moreover, in that occasion all ESRs had the opportunity to present their work during a poster session.
Furthermore, ESRs participated to international Schools and conferences

Concerning the dissemination, the results of the MUSICARE have been presented in both articles in peer-reviewed international journals and international conferences.

Finally, The MUSICARE networking has been already activated through Secondment periods for a total amount of 24 months. Details about accomplished and planned Secondments have been reported in Deliverables 1.2 2.2 and 3.2 (work package Scientific Reports).
"Five key features can be identified in the MUSICARE directed towards the promotion of professional excellence of the involved young researchers:
1. The highly qualified and equilibrated mix of the three sectors involved, namely universities, industries and hospitals, all playing a pivotal role within the research and training program: they are all fully committed to the research activities, managing workpackages, coaching ESRs and collaborating in the outcome of the project results. Within this context, all the 15 recruited ESRs (7 by universities and 8 by private industrial companies) have been enrolled in a PhD path covering a broad range of medical care-related subjects. Thus at the end of MUSICARE, ESRs will gain the PhD title and can be considered as experienced researchers, with the opportunity to find a job with a middle-high remuneration. In addition MUSICARE will expose ESRs to different ""schools of thought"" in terms of disciplines, approaches, cultures, and techniques, offering them the opportunity to acquire an “open minded” view of their professional skills thus contributing to the creation of the necessary conditions for a highly rewarding career.
2. The very strong relevance given to secondments: each recruited fellow will act not only at the institution that recruited him/her, but also at institutions of a different type. This will have three major positive benefits, in terms of: i) education/training - the ESRs will be provided with a unique opportunity to acquire complementary experiences and to enter in contact with very different realities acting in the cardiac care area; ii) internationalization - secondments will enhance the possibility for the recruited fellows to operate in different countries; ii) public-private interaction - ESRs will act as bridging elements between research and training, speeding up the knowledge transfer between the two worlds. Currently, this kind of interaction is not an established practice within PhD programs or within the industry.
3. The multiscale nature of the scientific topics investigated, which span over different scales and emerging technologies, ranging from minimally invasive and patient specific approaches (at organ scale) to futuristic approaches linking (nano)technologies, tissue engineering and cell based therapies. Thus, the recruited fellows will be trained to use a broad range of equipment and methodologies, and to tackle cardiac care issues through a comprehensive approach. This expertise may be used in other medical fields where those technologies are applied, widening the opportunities for the ESRs to find a job after the end of the project. The acquisition of multi-scale background, together with the exposure to a multi-sectoral environment, will contribute to make the ESRs as versatile as possible. In a short-term perspective, this will increase the likelihood of getting a high-profile job at the end of the PhD program. In a longer-term perspective, this will help ESRs to develop a top-level (research) career. It is envisioned that by participating to MUSICARE, ESRs will gain an integrated expertise improving their career perspectives with the possibility to foster their career in both academic and/or private company research divisions, through a long-lasting European network.
4. The strong background gained by the ESRs in handling transectoral and multidisciplinary challenges, will allow them to transfer their knowledge to different biomedical fields where technology is pivotal, such as navigation and robotic medicine, and cancer therapies.
5. The strong involvement of the recruited fellows in dissemination and outreach activities. ESRs will be encouraged to publish the results of their activities, to participate in international events, such as conferences, workshops, summer schools, and to interact with a wide audience, also beyond the borders of the scientific community. These activities will introduce the recruited fellows to a network of international contacts that will be helpful for their future careers.