Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - RNATRAIN (The European non-coding RNA network)

The aim of the RNAtrain network ( is to provide 10 early stage researchers (ESRs) and 3 experienced researchers (ERs) with high-level training in an important and emerging scientific field. The training encompasses a broad set of skills including hypothesis-driven scientific approach, hands-on competencies in a wide range of state-of-the-art techniques, transferrable skills of importance in both academia and industry, including commercialization, and networking and dissemination skills. RNAtrain facilitates this training via a series of meetings, workshops and secondments and by hosting partners from both academia (9 partners) and industry (2 full and 1 associated partner).

The research focus of RNAtrain is non-coding RNA and the research projects aim to explore the significance and mechanistic impact of ncRNAs in development and disease using a multidisciplinary approach and cutting-edge techniques.

Non-coding RNA is a new research field in rapid development. It holds the potential to explain many fundamental biological phenomena and there is a vast prospective for the development of ncRNA-derived diagnostic and therapeutic tools. Hence, biotech and pharmaceutical companies are actively looking into this unexplored territory for novel targets. Therefore, there is a substantial and unmet need for the training of scientists in ncRNA biology, methodology and exploitation. Although non-coding RNA biology is complex, and likely impacts the majority of cellular pathways, RNAtrain has the critical mass needed to provide technical expertise and training in this area.

During the initial 2 years of the project, RNAtrain fellows have received local or network coordinated training in a host of key research techniques, in scientific approaches, research ethics, project and time management, oral and written scientific communication, collaboration and scientific outreach. Also at this stage several fellow secondments have been completed. Furthermore, the fellows have presented their research aims, approaches and progress at 3 network meetings. In addition, the individual projects have been discussed by fellows, supervisors and network co-supervisors at each network meeting.

While the initial phases of the individual fellow projects to a large extend have focused on establishing methods and identifying important ncRNAs to focus on, the coming period will concentrate on more mechanistic studies. Here, the broad technical expertise of the network becomes pivotal and these network strongholds will be exploited to forward both fellow training and scientific progress.

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Life Sciences