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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 1 - 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: 2020-10-01 to 2021-12-31

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 will be established through meetings, study visits, summer schools and workshops. One of the main project results will be a computational platform for multiscale modelling in biomedical engineering which will be integrated, tested and validated on the patients with cardiovascular, bone and cancer disease, as well as with experiments for tissue engineering. The objectives of the SGABU project are: 1) To develop scientific strategy for research and innovation capacity building in the domain of multiscale bioengineering modelling and medical informatics at UKG; 2) To establish a competitive network in the European Research Area and to foster long-lasting partnerships with project partners; 3) To empower research staff at all partner institutions through joint project activities to be more actively engaged in sharing and upgrading innovative knowledge for better social impacts; 4) To integrate already developed solutions and various datasets related to cancer, cardiovascular, bone disorders and tissue engineering into one multiscale platform; 5) To prepare 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 and data management plan (DMP) is being performed.
In WP2, dissemination and communication of project’s results through various channels, attracting the identified stakeholders and raising the awareness of SGABU are on-going. The project’s initial Key Exploitable Results (KERs) have been established.
In WP3, the Task 3.1 State of the art in the multiscale modelling in biomedical engineering, Task 3.2 State of the art in bioinformatics, imaging informatics, sensor informatics, public health informatics and Task 3.3 Identification of best practices for building the innovation capacity have been accomplished. The outcomes of WP3 provided an insight into existing bioengineering capacities at UKG in order to identify gaps and define strategies to overcome these by application and implementation of the activities and initiatives used by worldwide renowned universities in the bioengineering field.
In WP4, the training activities such as workshops, collaborative academic and industrial activities have been started. As part of training activities (Task 4.1) three online SGABU workshops 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 are developing teaching material and knowledge framework (Task 5.2) as well as computational resources in parallel with models integration into the SGABU platform (WP6). The reference architecture of SGABU platform is defined (Task 5.3) as well as protocols for communication and integration of models and solutions (Task 5.4).
In WP6, collection of data (Task 6.1) and multiscale models and solutions (Task 6.2) have started in parallel with their integration into unified SGABU computational platform (Task 6.4).
The WP7 has not started yet.
In WP8, International Projects’ Office (IPO) has attended over 8 seminars and trainings and followed myriad of presentations related to applying for international EU projects (Task 8.1). Also, IPO held several one-day trainings for staff from 12 faculties and 1 research institute (Task 8.2) actively worked on preparation of numerous project applications (Task 8.2) and promotion of the IPO activities (Task 8.4).
In W9, the ethics requirements have been achieved.
SGABU has already produced and will produce a wide range of beyond the state of the art results. SGABU platform’s purpose is to interconnect a number of various tools into repeatable data- intensive pipelines of workflows. The integration of the platform is performed according to the standardized procedures, following the integration plan. It represents a platform for adaptive knowledge discovery of multiscale models and for different datasets. The major advantage is using a new, modern and different technologies for different layers of architecture while building a platform. These technologies are completely independent of operating system, which allows easy transfer of the platform from the virtual machine to the public cloud, if the need arises. There are many advantages for users which are using a SGABU solutions. Users can directly use the platform without any new software installations on their local devices, because SGABU platform is executable within a web browser.
We anticipate that final version of the platform will have a huge impact on not just research level, but also educational. Universities and faculties will be able to use the platform to demonstrate the use of different modelling examples, illustrating the learning process from idea to implementation. Also, the platform offers interactivity, meaning that changing the input parameters will show how these parameters affect the final result, allowing the user to test the deduction process, as well as conduct research in the areas of SGABU project. The SGABU platform will also include relevant geometries, exe files and tutorials in order to facilitate the learning and training process and enable students to perform modelling and simulations virtually in the university laboratories (WP6). Such a platform is planned to be used at PhD level courses, but can also be adapted to be used on the Master level. The platform can be used for further validation and parametrization of models (WP7), providing new opportunities for research in the field of bioengineering and be offered to interested stakeholders, such as clinics, medical organizations and similar.
The SGABU network will help to be part of the main research streams and trends contributing to the levelling up the ERA towards to less advanced regions. Through carefully organized project activities, realized with and monitored by partners with recognized RDI excellence at EU and global level, we are putting our best efforts to create favourable conditions to stimulate talents, foster innovation and secure international visibility and attractiveness of our institution and research group. The SGABU project will have a significant impact on our mission to: 1) Improve the quality of our research; 2) Make RDI more relevant to the needs of society in Serbia and all relevant stakeholders; 3) Become a national and regional leader in the area of multiscale modelling; 4) Raise the international profile of our research; 5) Become more competitive within the ERA.
Basic concept of the project