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Multidisciplinary Institute for Ageing

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MIA (Multidisciplinary Institute for Ageing)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-05-31

MIA Teaming project is a partnership between the University of Coimbra, PT (partner in a low-performing country) and the University of Newcastle, UK (partner in a high-performing country) to create, in Coimbra, a new Centre of Excellence in Ageing Research - the Multidisciplinary Institute of Ageing (MIA). The creation of this new Centre of Excellence is being coordinated by the regional authority Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Centro, with the tight collaboration in the operational coordination by University of Coimbra.

The overall objective of MIA is to perform world-class fundamental research in ageing and foster its translation into human interventions, improving health and wellbeing of an ageing population, inspired by the successful international example of the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing (NUIA, UK) and the European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing (ERIBA, The Netherlands). The institute will be based on a World-class research core on biology of ageing, with simultaneously peripheral services and social partnerships that will help to support and give a social meaning to the research.

To understand a complex process like ageing, a multidisciplinary outlook and collaboration between a range of scientific domains will continue to be promoted amongst the partners of MIA Project, as well as inside each institution research groups to foster critical mass creation in the understanding this social critical problem. Additionally, the MIA project aims at converging scientific research and public, patient and local business engagement to bring together, to a Vitality Campus university, health care, volunteer sector and business activities so that this network supports the healthy ageing and independence-through life of the local population and promotes innovation in products and services.

Within this context, the main goals and objectives of this MIA Project – Business plan creation were to:
(1) to deeply study the local environment and plan adequate activities to implement MIA with the successful examples of the NUIA (United Kingdom) and ERIBA (The Netherlands) as role models;
(2) to promote institutional engagement between the partners of the consortium to consolidate the future of MIA.

In the second phase of the project, the main goals and objectives are to:
(1) perform world-class research into the biology of ageing with the aim to detect and validate targets for health-prolonging interventions as well as to identify and validate potential biomarkers allowing early detection of diseases and enabling assessment of intervention efficiency;
(2) translate research results into clinical intervention and towards innovation and technology transfer;
(3) train young researchers in both fundamental and translational research;
(4) engage the public in support and implementation of innovative good practices, pharmacological and lifestyle interventions.
At the closure of the CSA phase of the MIA Teaming project, all the initially proposed objectives have been achieved. Bellow follows a description per work package.

Achievements from WP1 – “Management”
Goal: “Building a provisional governance structure to assure the establishment of MIA in the CSA phase”
Achieved: 25 deliverables produced;
15 milestones accomplished;
>40 Million euro direct investment;
>65 Million euro total investment;
Installation Committee in place to ensure transition of MIA phase 1 to phase 2;
Selection of 1 ERA Chair holder among 16 international applications following 2 open calls (top ranked candidate h factor 31; 3876 citations; papers in Nature Methods, Nature Communications, Cell Stem Cell, PNAS, and others, 6 Million euros attracted since 2008).

Achievements from WP2 – “Create a constructive and sustainable partnership”
Goals: “MIA business model and scientific development supported by an inspiring teaming partnership. Activities will support collaborative networks in the area of science, advanced teaching and innovation/entrepreneurship.”
Achieved: >400 scientists participated in International Ageing Conferences (UC, UNEW and UMCG);
>300 participants in the Regional Meeting Ageing@Coimbra;
6 scientists, MSc and PhD students involved in twinning collaboration;
joint submission of 6 H2020 and EIT Health KIC projects;
2 PhD courses involving 20 lecturers from UC, UNEW and UMCG, 41 students;
1 summer school involving 24 lecturers and 21 students;
1 EIT Health Short Course approved (partnership with UNEW and UoC).

Achievements from WP3 – “Preparation of the business plan”
Goal: “Collaborative actions between team partners and working groups to identify resources, design science and business development strategies and elaborate a detailed business plan to support the creation and long-term sustainability of a science centre of international reputation”
Achieved: 1 business plan for MIA-Portugal endorsed by 5 letters of commitment and support.

Achievements from WP4 – “Engagement, communication and dissemination”
Goal: “Engage with national and international stakeholders to create a “spirit of teaming”, ownership of responsibility for the success of a common mission, leverage the critical mass and excellence of strategy and outcomes.”
Achieved: 1 advocacy committee (commitment of coordinator);
1 civic society group and charity “Friends of MIA” (commitment of coordinator);
1 MIA-Portugal web site and facebook;
1 Ageing@Coimbra portal;
2 short movies (youtube) on Ageing@Coimbra and 1 on MIA;
web site and facebook visits > 62400;
1 high-level advocacy meeting at the national Parliament;
1 regional meeting Ageing@Coimbra,
>300 participants, closing session with the President of Portuguese Republic;
3 high-level meetings in Brussels and Groningen;
1 news in a major national TV with a target audience 766,260 people and media market impact of 194.724 euros;
>360 news published in printed and online regional and national media (Ageing@Coimbra, including MIA-Portugal project).

For further information, please consult Deliverable D1.4 or the Technical Report.
MIA-Portugal presents itself as a vehicle to increase the socio-economic impact of Healthy Ageing Research in the Centro Region of Portugal. Indeed, throughout the past year several activities have been submitted/approved with a linkage to the Institute. More specifically: 3 for H2020/FP7 funding, 6 for European Structural Funds, and 8 to EIT Health projects in the different pillars of the Knowledge Triangle.

As for its wider societal implications, MIA-Portugal will be set out in the Ageing@Coimbra Vitality Campus, with which partners it has already established strong partnerships as it is the case of Instituto Pedro Nunes and Biocant (both Teaming partners for the second stage of the project), the Coimbra Hospital and Universitary Centre, Cáritas Diocesana de Coimbra, among others. Altogether, the Vitality Campus will support interdisciplinary knowledge offers to elderly people, health-preserving prevention strategies, knowledge transfer, co-creation and co-development of technology and life-long learning, health and social integrated care. In the past year, different strategies have been aligned to implement in the Vitality Campus, namely in the areas of: innovation and technology transfer, translational and clinical research, the integration of MIA-Portugal, and its economic sustainability.

To note that Ageing@Coimbra has been recognized as one of the most relevant Reference Sites of EIP-AHA with 3*** (2016 call), member of the Reference Site Collaborative Network and the Covenant on Demographic changes; under the umbrella of the Regional Authority CCDRC.
Kick-off meeting
Gender analysis