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Promoting smart specialization at the Technical University of Moldova by developing the field of Novel Nanomaterials for BioMedical Applications through excellence in research and twinning

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NanoMedTwin (Promoting smart specialization at the Technical University of Moldova by developing the field of Novel Nanomaterials for BioMedical Applications through excellence in research and twinning)

Reporting period: 2020-02-01 to 2022-10-31

The main objective of the NanoMedTwin is to promote the Smart Specialization Strategy in Moldova through developing the field of nanomaterials for biomedical applications by enhancing the scientific excellence of the National Center for Material Study and Testing (NCMST) of the Technical University of Moldova via a collaborative strategic partnership program with leading research institutions in Europe. In addition, promotion of technology transfer to national medical institutions within the NanoMedTwin project aims at sustaining high-tech research and development in Moldova and attracting new investments for the creation of new jobs, thus leading to a considerable economic and societal impact. This is implemented by:
- Collaboration of NCMST with EU partners, aiming to promote links between Nano and BioMedicine fields, via expert staff visits, student visits for training at research intensive institutions and organizing attendance by NCMST students of specific modules of Master and PhD programs at the partner institutions.
- The training of a new generation of researchers was realised through establishment of a nanobiomedicine training program which integrates the principles of nanoscale science and biomedicine in research and coursework, via organizing a relevant multidisciplinary training program for graduate students, MSc and PhD students and young researchers at NCMST; organization of a summer school; online based training, as well as training and support in Horizon 2020 program and towards the future framework program.
- Developing a strategic programme focusing on the field of nanomaterials for biomedical applications, establishing links with medical institutions in Moldova and building of capacities for the promotion of technology, via short term visits of experts and training of students from NCMST to partner institutions for acquainting with best practices in innovation and technology transfer; organizing a training program and a summer school in topics of innovation and technology transfer.
The main activities carried out during the duration of NanoMedTwin projects and the main results achieved include the following:
- Aiming to promote the links between Nano and Biomedicine fields, 11 expert staff visits were performed to all partner institutions and NCMST, and 19 student training visits form 4 to 6 months in duration were carried out to the consortium partners. The expert visits aimed at identifying research and training activities based on joint interests. The students training visits focused on nanotechnology fabrication and characterization, tissue engineering and biomedicine, as well as extensive networking with peers and liaison with internationally recognised experts.
- The Advanced Training Course on Nanotechnologies and Biomedical Engineering of 188 hours included topics such as nanotechnology, nanoelectronics, nanomedicine and nanomaterials, biomedical engineering, biomaterials, biocompatibility, bioengineering and bioinstrumentation. The courses attended by up to 35 students lasted from October 2019 to May 2020. Two Autumn Schools on Nanotechnologies and Biomedical Engineering were organized in September 2019 and June 2021.
- Focused on building capacities for the promotion of technology transfer in the field of nanomaterials for biomedical applications, senior staff visits and a student training visit (4 months) were carried out to the UnivBris. Due to restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemics, part of activities in 2020 and 2021 were carried out online, including an online meeting with experts in IP and TT from the UnivBris in October 2020, followed by an online meeting with experts in business development and research commercialization from KTH in December 2020. An extensive training on IP protection and Technology Transfer, with a duration of 60 hours, has been developed by national experts and delivered to students and young researchers, during October-December 2020. It was then complemented by the Research and Innovation Workshop series, delivered online by the Spin Up Science team from the UK in March 2021 and by the second Summer School focused on “Innovations in Nanomedicine” in July 2022.
- Researchers from NCMST, TUM and other research institutions in Moldova received training on H2020 provided by EFPC. Four three-day workshops on Framework Program proposal preparation and project implementation, as well as Financial Rules and Regulations were attended by about 120 participants and receiving a very positive feedback from the audience.
- NanoMedTwin network of regional, national and European contacts increased, based on activities of mutual interest and new collaborative links. The international visibility of Moldova in nano-biomedicine increased considerably due to the organization of 2 editions of the International Conference on Nanotechnology and Biomedical Engineering, held in Chisinau in September 2019 and November 2021 (online), with active participation of NanoMedTwin consortium partner experts. The Proceedings of the ICNBME conference were published by Springer. The brokerage event organised in September 2022, brought together researchers, entrepreneurs, students and decision makers from Moldova, Romania, Germany, Italy and Japan. NCMST integration in the activities of the European Technology Platform on Nanomedicine (ETPN) resulted in preparation and submission of several research projects with international consortia.
- Dissemination of NanoMedTwin project results was ensured via participation in international conferences and workshops, four newsletters, via national mass-media (TV Companies, Radio-Moldova, news agencies portals). Thirty-nine scientific papers have been published by the project team in high-rank international journals.
The activities in the NanoMedTwin project have generated a positive impact on the scientific human capacity in Moldova in the area of nanoscience and nanomedicine. In particular, the project contributed to the consolidation of the research staff and students from Moldovan institutions working in this area.
The research-intensive partners of the consortium had access to the emerging pool of talent and markets in Moldova in the field of nanotechnology. The strengthening of networking on a regional and European level has been used for preparing joint European and international research projects and to plan future twining activities with centres of similar expertise. Due to new possibilities for collaborative interactions and sharing of the expertise, research excellence has considerably increased, the project team managing to publish 39 Open Access papers in high-rank international journals.
Project activities will also provide a long and medium-term impact via translating nanobiotechnology science into economic and societal benefits and improving technology transfer to industry. Most importantly, this will sustain a dynamic development of research in nanotechnologies and nanobiomedicine in Moldova through expanding NCMST activities and increasing its level of excellence, so that it can compete and collaborate with leading research institutions in Europe, gain access to excellent project consortia for future EU calls for funding.
NanoMedTwin H2020 training workshop in April 2019