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Towards outstanding research and training in tumour biology at IMM

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ReTuBi (Towards outstanding research and training in tumour biology at IMM)

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

The Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM Lisboa) aims to fight cancer by reinforcing its capacity for outstanding pre-clinical and translation research, and by creating a dynamic cluster of excellence within the Lisbon region in the field of cancer research. Towards this goal, the ReTuBi project represents 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 cancer and tumour biology area of research, the Institut and the DFKZ – Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum. Based on science and innovation driven clustering of iMM Lisboa, the Institut Curie and the DKFZ will allow: to improve the quality and impact of pre-clinical research in tumour biology at the iMM; to implement and develop novel technology at iMM, Institut Curie and DFKZ crucial to tackle current and future challenges in tumour biology; to stimulate a long-term impact in innovation at iMM, Institut Curie and DFKZ by fostering research excellence and technological development, with an increase in intellectual property and technology licensing in tumour biology; to enhance iMM researchers’ ability to integrate networks of excellence within Europe and to promote awareness of the societal impact of iMM’s research in the cancer field, with special focus in oncological patients and respective families as well as the medical community. In conclusion, the Retubi project successfully achieved these goal through the multiple activities that were implemented and developed.
The ReTuBi efforts on promoting its networking initiatives have been rewarded and the project has been experiencing iMM-wide visibility and community interest through new applications, promoting the development of networks and collaborations amongst research groups of the consortium. Regarding the ReTuBi second and final reporting period we have reached the following activities:
• Staff Exchanges - During the second report period of the project's implementation, the ReTuBi has conducted 35 staff exchanges.
• Scholarship Conference Award – For the second report period, we awarded 21 conference awards

• Workshops – we organized the Second Edition of the Career Development and soft skills for young scientists – From Lisbon to the World (February 20-21, 2018, iMM, Lisbon, Portugal) and the second edition of the Workshop on High-Resolution Light Microscopy (October 22-26, 2018, iMM, Lisbon, Portugal)

• Scientific Symposia. We held two scientific symposia on the second reporting period: one related to “Cancer metastasis and cell migration” in 2-4 May 2018, Douro, Portugal. A second one related to “Stem cells mutagenesis” on July 3-5, 2018, Montargil, Portugal.
• Joint lab meetings – We organized a total of 5 joint lab retreats between iMM, DKFZ and Curie Institut labs.
• ReTuBi Lectures – in the second report we received 19 expert visits whose lectures promoted the quality of the research knowledge to the iMM research community, with a special focus on the PhD and Post-doc communities.
• ReTuBi Joint Summer School – the Second Summer School was held in September 17-20, 2018 in parallel with one Scientific Symposia on signaling (SINAL 2018). This maximized resource efficiency and ensure high number of participants by promoting themes related with the cancer and tumour biology.
• Communication and Dissemination – through communication and dissemination activities efforts are made to raise awareness towards the ReTuBi project through the development of the ReTuBi logo, website page, press releases, brochure, newsletters, social media, events and meetings.
• Ethics – Staff exchanges are the activities susceptible of having associated ethical issues, therefore, specific scientific activity plans for each staff exchange are previously defined. Consequently, eventual ethical issues involved in each individual staff exchange is intrinsically connected with the design of the activity plan for that staff exchange, and the ethics assessment process for each individual exchange is also required to be carried out closer to the actual timing of the visit.
iMM improved the overall scientific and innovation capacity in the tumour biology research field through the ReTuBi network, The research framework promoted the exchange of know-how in research excellence and cutting-edge technologies to tackle current and future challenges in tumour biology. The designed networking activities and collaborative exchanges effectively had a disrupted impact the scientific capacity and excellence of iMM members, increasing their participation in European networks of excellence and generating long-lasting collaborations between the different partners. This impact was particular focus on cancer and tumour biology research field, solidifying collaborations with partner institutions, regional and national scientific community, by improving the human and technical capacity through staff exchange and expert visits. Retubi also lead to the increase of the success rate in national and international competitive funds through intensified collaborative efforts. At the Regional level, iMM improved the collaborations with Portuguese medical institutions related with the treatment of cancer patients and increased pre-clinical research by promoting a strategic environment to create a cluster of excellence within the Lisbon region in the field of cancer research. At the National level, through the Staff Exchanges, Scholarship Conference awards and Experts visits, iMM increased visibility and research excellence. At the European level, the increase of collaborations amongst groups between iMM Lisboa, Institut Curie and DKFZ had an irreversible effect on the research programs on tumour biology at iMM. ReTuBi created a significant improvement in the overall partnering institutions scientific and innovation capacity, which can only be achieved by long-term engagement of the current networking activities. The multiple workshops, summer schools and scientific seminars that were organized during this project potentiated such network activities.

As such, it is expected greater impacts by bringing closer stakeholders, institutions and researchers, thus, improving the opportunity to achieve more beneficial results in society, whether in health of economics. Such effects are already being observed by the increase of interactions between our institute and society in general, via the increase of interaction with general media, patient associations and social media. Furthermore, we further expect in the future to increase the economical impact of this network via patent licencing, spinoff company creation, competitive national and international funding.