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Unleash IMM’s research excellence in immunity and infection through twinning to infect Lisbon and Portugal with its increase in competitiveness and innovation

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - TwinnToInfect (Unleash IMM’s research excellence in immunity and infection through twinning to infect Lisbon and Portugal with its increase in competitiveness and innovation)

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-12-31

TwinnToInfect represented the opportunity to integrate the European circle of research excellence institutions by cementing a sustainable science, technology and innovation network through two internationally-leading organisations in the immunity and infection area of research, the Institut Pasteur and the Francis Crick Institute. Based on science and innovation driven clustering of Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM), the Institut Pasteur and the Francis Crick Institute will allow:
1) Strengthening the science and technology capacity of iMM in immunity and infection research field;
2) Leveraging the research excellence and value creation through innovation with a beneficial impact for iMM as a whole, Lisbon and Portugal.

TwinnToInfect scientific strategy will contribute to the development of immunity and infection research, focused on lymphoid development and homeostasis, how the immune system deals with infection and on the deregulated host-pathogen interaction, and consequent life-threatening infections and inflammatory disorders. iMM will effectively contribute to research excellence and value creation in health at both National and European level by establishing new collaborations within the consortium and the business community in order to boost research achievements.

Scientific capacity - TwinnToInfect has decisively contributed to the strengthening of the existing and establishing new sustainable collaborative efforts with world-leading researchers from the research-intensive institutes of TwinnToInfect in Immunity and infection research fields. This impact is transversally diffused on other research areas at iMM, creating a critical mass to sustain a solid excellence level. The most tangible effects of the TwinnToInfect are:
- improving the human and technical capacity through knowledge exchange,
- promote iMM researchers' mobility and training, therefore improving their future career prospects.
- increasing success rate in international competitive funds through mentoring and intensified collaborative efforts;

Innovation capacity - Immunity and infection holds a great promise for value creation at iMM, especially through the development of marketable innovative products. In this line, effective measures have been implemented under the scope of the TwinnToInfect as to seed and nurture
entrepreneurial mind set among iMM researchers

International collaboration – One of the strategic decisions of iMM since its foundation has been strengthening its international profile and visibility, by establishing and sustaining a solid collaborative network. At the moment, the authorship of peer-reviewed scientific publications of iMM is shared with partners from over 85 countries worldwide. TwinnToInfect contributed to address the networking deficiencies and insufficient interdisciplinary critical mass of science in Lisbon by linking iMM with world-leading biomedical research institutions
Our main achievement and milestone during the 1st reporting period was the definition of the KPI and the successful launch of Staff Exchanges, Expert visits, Travel Awards and Mentoring Activities. The project has been experiencing iMM-wide visibility and community interest through new applications submitted each month, promoting the development of networks and collaborations amongst research groups of the consortium.
The Project Management portion includes:
The Project Management portion includes:
1. Participation in EU Widening Meetings.
2. 54 Staff Exchanges - 54 Staff Exchanges and 16 Travel Awards during project's implementation.
3. Mentoring and training of young researchers and of support/structural teams - The following activities have been implemented:
• Two Summer Schools;
• 16 onsite training Activities for iMM support Units
• 2 The Tech Transfer Events – iMM Innovators and IMM Summmit
• 23 expert visits occured during the three year of the project listed below were perceived by all iMM community as an essential way to leverage iMM research capability based on knowhow and experience exchange.
4. Communication and Dissemination – A more proactive approach was define to leverage on Project results with an active engagement with TV and radio journalists and producers; Production of new videos and graphical artwork to illustrate the points above and research outputs to the general public;
At IMM: By increasing research excellence; improving its technical resources both at human and equipment knowledge; increasing rate of international competitive funds, including a strategy to achieve excellence in human resources and specific training activities such as mentoring and staff exchange activities.
At the Regional level: By potentiating the economic and social development of the Lisbon region, through a closer collaboration with the business, to get them interested in organising a “immunity and infection” activities such as summer schools, Tech transfer events, where Group Leaders and Industry scientists would perform a short presentation on their research, interests, methods, equipment available, human capital, employment and entrepreneurship.
·At the National level: Through the Staff Exchanges, travel awards, experts visit from Institute Pasteur and Institute Crick that add the international visibility and research excellence of the whole country and potentiate the competitiveness of the national research.
At the European level: By expanding collaborations amongst groups between iMM Lisboa, Institut Pasteur and Crick Institute that will contribute to research excellence and value creation in health at National and European level. As such, it is expected greater impacts by bringing closer the Industrial stakeholders, institutions and researchers, thus, improving the opportunity to achieve more beneficial results in society, whether in health of economics.
Population aging in Europe is one of current biggest health related challenges where immunity and infection is at the centre of many age-related disorders such as an increased risk of infection to several pathogens, reduced responsiveness to vaccination, diabetes and metabolic syndromes. Sharing experiences, knowledge and project outcomes, will allow to accelerate the process of finding new ways to diagnose and treat patients, ensuring and extending quality of life. TwinnToInfect is in a unique position to provide Europe with the knowledge exchange that can benefit researchers by boosting project results.
TwinnToInfect intends to fulfil the country-specific recommendations recently issued by the European Commission in order to effectively contribute to the improvement of the research and innovation performance in Portugal. TwinnToInfect aims to promote synergies within projects from institutions, encourage initiatives and networks, all under the same research focus.