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Towards outstanding research and training in tumour biology at IMM

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ReTuBi (Towards outstanding research and training in tumour biology at IMM)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2017-03-31

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. The ReTuBi scientific strategy will therefore contribute to the development of cancer and tumour biology research, focused on four main scientific axes: cancer stem cells; cancer signalling; tumour angiogenesis and cancer invasion and metastasis.
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 first reporting period we have reached the following activities:
• Staff Exchanges - the first staff exchanges activities started on May 2016 and during the first report period of the project's implementation, the ReTuBi has conducted 11 staff exchanges. We envision to continue to increase the number of staff exchanges applications.
• Scholarship Conference Award – the first initiative was launched on March 2017 with five successful wining applications. It is expected to launch more seven cut-off dates until the end of the project.
• Workshops – the “High-Resolution Microscopy Workshop” (17-22 October 2016) and the “Career development and soft skills for young scientists Workshop” (22-24 February 2017) were two significant events that highly benefit the scientific excellence of the regional and national community.
• ReTuBi Lectures – on October 2016 and March 2017 we have received two 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 First Summer School will be held from May 29-31, 2017 in parallel with the Interim Project Meeting and two Scientific Symposia (one on cell migration and another on signaling). This will maximize 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.
Through the ReTuBi network, iMM aims to create a significant improvement in the overall scientific and innovation capacity in the tumour biology research field. The dynamic and intensive research framework is focused on promoting the exchange of know-how in research excellence and cutting-edge technologies to tackle current and future challenges in tumour biology. The networking activities and collaborative exchanges are designed to maximise the impact of ReTuBi in 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. For iMM, the potential expected impact is the increasing of research excellence with particular focus on cancer and tumour biology research field, by promoting collaborations with partner institutions, regional and national scientific community, by improving the human and technical capacity through staff exchange and expert visits. This will also lead to an international exposure, increasing the success rate in national and international competitive funds through intensified collaborative efforts. At the Regional level, the impacts are the the improving collaborations with Portuguese medical institutions related with the treatment of cancer patients (e.g. Hospital Santa Maria), that create privileged opportunities for 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, this will add international visibility and research excellence of the country and will potentiate the competitiveness of the national research. At the European level by expanding collaborations amongst groups between iMM Lisboa, Institut Curie and DKFZ this 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 stakeholders, institutions and researchers, thus, improving the opportunity to achieve more beneficial results in society, whether in health of economics. ReTuBi aims to create 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 implementation of workshops, summer schools, scientific seminars will foster a lively and dynamic networking environment between the different ReTuBi partners. Potentiating transfer of knowledge, competences and know-how to the partnering institution human resources are the key measure for a long-lasting impact of the ReTuBi initiative. ReTuBI aims to promote synergies within projects from institutions, encouraging initiatives and networks, all under the same research focus. Sharing experiences, knowledge and project outcomes, will allow to better understand the disease and to develop innovative therapies. ReTuBi is in a unique position to provide Europe with the knowledge exchange that can benefit researchers by promoting project results.
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