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International Doctoral Programme in Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - iMED (International Doctoral Programme in Molecular Mechanisms of Disease)

Reporting period: 2019-04-01 to 2021-03-31

In order to innovatively address the increasing complexity of societal challenges, there is a growing need for researchers to collaborate, to enter interdisciplinary collaborations, and to communicate and exploit their research. Traditionally, research training in academic institutions focus on solid core scientific training and do not always meet such diverse needs. With the International Doctoral Programme in Molecular Mechanisms of Disease (iMED), our OVERALL OBJECTIVE is to create an international competitive doctoral training programme that train a next generation of researchers with abilities to perform and connect excellent science to exploitation and value for the surrounding society. Through a personalized research and training programme, we will ensure that they exploit the full potential of their talents. They will obtain a broad research and transferable skills-set including empowerment and competences to build their individual research career.
Overall, iMED will provide a structural and intellectual framework for the fellows to develop strong research skills and empower diligence, ambition and creativity. All fellows will work on interdisciplinary projects within biomedicine, providing new knowledge of important biological processes and disease mechanisms, with the potential to advance technological development and potential new diagnostic tools and treatments for particularly cancer and neurological diseases. Further, iMED will contribute to implement the EU Principles of Innovative Doctoral Training and the Code of Conduct for Recruitment of Researchers and improve Europe’s attractiveness as an advanced research training destination.
During the first two years of the project, we have successfully recruited 23 international young talented PhD-fellows, who will perform their research projects in biomedical sciences at Biotech Research and Innovation Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark. Cross-disciplinary projects have been developed, the fellows have assessed ethical issues in their projects and made plans for how to handle the data coming out of their projects. They have received training in research and specific techniques, to secure research at a specialized level and the scientific projects are progressing. Also, fellows have made personalized career development plan to secure progression towards their desired career goal. iMED has further organized transferrable skills training supporting the fellows to develop skills and competences that are broadly applicable also outside the laboratory, contributing to their future ability to contribute to solve societal challenges and supporting their career development.
The iMED programme will deliver scientific results within the field of biomedicine, with the potential to 1) advance our understanding of important biological processes and mechanisms that leads to disease, to 2) provide new technological solutions in the biomedical field and to 3) provide the foundation for new diagnostic tools and treatments. Thus, the research hold potential to advance our scientific understanding, but also to provide optimized and new solutions to benefit the European health care sector. The primary areas where iMED will deliver scientific result are within cancer, stem cells and neurological diseases.
Aside from the scientific impact of iMED, the programme will provide a next level of PhD training in Europe, by providing a personalized training and career development programme for young researchers. The researchers will be nurtured and challenged to develop their competences in six main areas important for the researchers to successfully implement their research projects, but also to excel their future career: Research proficiency, innovation and entrepreneurship, communication and dissemination, research governance, collaboration and personal competences. These competences are crucial to secure that the next generation of researchers will possess the abilities to perform and connect excellent and responsible research to exploitation and value for the surrounding society.

Last, the well-developed iMED selection processes provides a new level of transparent and merit-based selection practices in research. These will not only impact on the recruiting institution, but also help contribute to the implementation the principles set out by the EU for the human resources development in R&I, through best-practice-sharing widely across European life science research centers.
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