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ERA Chair Position for Excellent Research in Oncology

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Chaperon (ERA Chair Position for Excellent Research in Oncology)

Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2020-10-31

The Biomedical Center of the Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen (FMP), Charles University (CUNI) in the Czech Republic provides high-grade regional research infrastructure in the fundamental field of cancer biology and oncology. Despite its advanced research and innovation performance, the centre has not reached its full potential. The main reason is its inability to attract top-class researchers, be it established experts as well as promising young scientists and PhD students. The EU-funded Chaperon action plan aims to recruit a world class researcher and research manager to establish a new laboratory of Translational Cancer Genomics, take the lead in research, and help moderate the transformation of human resource policies and managerial processes. Through its three specific objectives, i.e. to i) facilitate structural changes at FMP and CUNI, ii) create suitable conditions and research environment, and iii) recruit an international-level expert in patient-oriented cancer genomics leading to research excellence, the Chaperon projects contributes to the development of the immensely socially relevant field of biomedical research, especially in oncology and cancer biology.
In the first 6 months of the project implementation, the ERA Chair holder selection procedure was carried out according to the plan. Prof. Kari Hemminki, Ph.D. was selected as the ERA Chair holder and hired. The Laboratory of Translational Cancer Genomics was established at the Biomedical Center of the Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen, Charles University, under the leadership of prof. Hemminki. The core team of the Laboratory was being assembled with a slight delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic, however, finally reaching near its full operational capacity towards the end of the period. The ERA Chair holder familiarized himself with the conditions and procedures at the host institution and initiated his consulting and advisory activities, including several institution-wide events and supporting activities under the auspices of the ERA Research Club. At the same time, the Laboratory started producing scientific results in the form of research papers.
The Chaperon project action plan is set to achieve multiple goals increasing the quality and excellence of the Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen and Charles University, and, in consequence, also of the Czech research environment. These goals comprise positive impacts in the domains of compliance with ERA priorities, attracting excellent scientists, elevated excellence in cancer research, and international competitiveness. In the first implementation period, the course towards the fulfilment of these goals has been firmly set by starting the catalysis of institutional changes while advancing the state of the art in cancer research.