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Increasing scientific, technological and innovation capacity of Serbia as a Widening country in the domain of multiscale modelling and medical informatics in biomedical engineering

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SGABU (Increasing scientific, technological and innovation capacity of Serbia as a Widening country in the domain of multiscale modelling and medical informatics in biomedical engineering)

Reporting period: 2022-01-01 to 2023-12-31

The EU-funded SGABU project aims to enhance the research capacity and capabilities of the University of Kragujevac (UKG) in Serbia in the sector of biomedical engineering. In this scope, UKG collaborates with four EU leading research institutions (University of Ioannina in Greece, Vienna University of Technology in Austria, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium and Coventry University in the United Kingdom). The cooperation has been established through meetings, study visits, summer schools and workshops. One of the main project results is the computational platform for multiscale modelling in biomedical engineering, which is integrated, tested and validated on the patients with cardiovascular, bone and cancer disease, as well as with experiments for tissue engineering. All SGABU objectives are achieved: 1) Developed scientific strategy for research and innovation capacity building in the domain of multiscale bioengineering modelling and medical informatics at UKG; 2) Established a competitive network in the European Research Area and to foster long-lasting partnerships with project partners; 3) Empowered research staff at all partner institutions through joint project activities and more actively engaged in sharing and upgrading innovative knowledge for better social impacts; 4) Integrated already developed solutions and various datasets related to cancer, cardiovascular, bone disorders and tissue engineering into one multiscale platform; 5) Prepared the ground for the future joint and dual PhD studies at UKG.
In the reporting period, SGABU project has accomplished planned activities according to the Grant Agreement.
In WP1, the administrative and financial management including quality control is performed.
In WP2, dissemination and communication of project’s results through various channels, attracting the identified stakeholders and raising the awareness of SGABU is successfully completed. The final exploitation plan is created, enabling sustainability of project results.
In WP4, the training activities such as workshops, collaborative academic and industrial activities are completed. As part of training activities (Task 4.1) two SGABU workshops and four summer schools have been organized. Collaborative academic activities (Task 4.2) included peer-reviewed scientific publication, joint conference publication and joint project proposals. In collaborative industrial activities (Task 4.3) a few companies have been approached.
In WP5, based on the outcomes of WP3, the partners explored opportunities in the four main applications of the SGABU platform (Task 5.1): Bone modelling, Cardiovascular disease modelling, Cancer modelling, Tissue engineering. Partners developed teaching material and knowledge framework (Task 5.2) as well as computational resources in parallel with models integration into the SGABU platform (WP6).
In WP6, collection of data (Task 6.1) and multiscale models and solutions (Task 6.2) is completed in parallel with their integration into unified SGABU computational platform (Task 6.4) and creation of learning material (Task 6.3).
WP7 included testing and validation of the SGABU platform. It involves: (i) the testing and validation methods for the multiscale models integrated into the SGABU platform and (ii) the evaluation and refinement of the final platform with all the integrated components through system testing, and usability assessment.
In WP8, the project management and administration skills of International Projects‘ Office (IPO) are upgraded through numerous activities during the project lifetime.
In WP9, the ethics requirements have been achieved.
The key advantage of the platform is the utilization of new, contemporary and distinct technology for its many levels of architecture. Because these technologies are completely independent of the underlying infrastructure, the platform may be simply transferred to any private or public cloud as necessary. Also, students and scholars who use the platform get several benefits. For example, users can use the SGABU platform without installing any new software on their local devices, because it is executable from any web browser. Platforms like SGABU are more than just common software products with a defined purpose and a short to medium lifespan. Throughout the conception and development of the SGABU platform, two critical elements have been addressed: (i) all of the components were created using industry-standard frameworks and interfaces, and (ii) FAIR principles were closely followed due to the use of well-known workflow management systems. The end result is a solution that is portable, extendable, and for the time being, ready to serve students and researchers. In the future, upon further upgrade of the platform features, we aim for its integration into the clinical practice.
Lastly, the SGABU network that was created during the project shall become one of the main research streams contributing to better quality results and research excellence of the University of Kragujevac researchers, especially in the area of bioengineering. Through carefully organized project activities, realized with and monitored by partners with recognized RDI potential at the EU and global level, we are putting our best efforts to create conditions to stimulate talents, foster innovation and secure international visibility and attractiveness of our institution and research group even outside the scope of scientific areas that were the focus of the project. The SGABU project shall have an immense impact not just on the improvement of the quality and quantity of UKG research, but also on adjusting the outcomes to be usable to some of the unanswered issued in society in Serbia and all relevant stakeholders. The final goal is being reflected in the fact that sustainability can be easily achieved once we become equal with the partners in the area of bioengineering which will consequently raise the international profile of our research and our university since we will become more competitive in the European research area.
Basic concept of the project