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H2020

INCIPIT Report Summary

Project ID: 665403
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INCIPIT (INnovative Life sCIence Phd Programme in South ITaly)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2017-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The INCIPIT CO-FUND project aims to provide an innovative, multidisciplinary and intersectoral training in the field of Life and Biomaterial Sciences for Early Stage Researchers (ESR) and create a node of excellence in the South of Italy by pooling the different and complementary expertise of 8 research institutes of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), as well as the competencies of 3 Doctoral Schools and several academic, non-profit and industrial Organizations.
The project deals with societal challenges related to health, which are a high priority for Europe 2020: cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, both being a strong burden for public health. In addition, INCIPIT addresses issues such as how to manage, integrate and analyse a considerable number of data resulting from high throughput analyses, including results from genetic and epigenetic studies, which are of growing importance and interest for science and for the benefit of its results on society.

INCIPIT envisages the recruitment of 35 PhD students through transparent and equitable selection procedures, based on merit and equal opportunities. The calls are open to applicants from everywhere in the world. This contributes to create for the INCIPIT PhD students an international context and strengthen science diplomacy. On the other side, it provides critical mass and give an additional boost to the much-needed internationalization of the PhD research programmes in the South of Italy.
The participation of different research institutes of CNR (IAC, IBB, IBP, ICAR, ICB, IEOS, IGB, IPCB), with different and complementary expertise (ranging from biology and genetics to mathematics, statistics, engineering, computer science, chemistry and medicine and offering well-equipped laboratories and cutting-edge technologies) ensures to the fellows the intersectoral exposure and the interdisciplinarity research options. The participation of private industries in some of the PhD activities and the specific training on transferable skills favour the strengthening of Academia-Industry links while providing the PhD students with tools useful to their employment/career and to the socio-economic growth of countries.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

According to the INCIPIT programme, the following main activities have been carried out: a) Management of the programme; b) Launch of the Calls and Evaluation and Selection of PhD students; b) Implementation of training activities and research projects; c) Dissemination of the project opportunities and first project results.
With reference to the first points, the MAC (Management Committee) and the SB (Supervisory Board) have been established.
MAC ensured the launch of 35 calls dealing with: Structural Biology and Biocatalysis, Human disease and their mechanisms; Drugs design, discovering and delivery; Computational biology, Regenerative medicine and stem cell biology, Cancer treatment; Metabolism and inflammation. For each call one or two supervisors have been assigned.
MAC acted as Help-desk, providing applicants with continuous support and information.
For each call, a Scientific and Evaluation Committee has been set up. With the first round of calls, 314 applications were received by the MAC. The candidates came from 44 different Countries. At the end of the evaluation process, 14 PhD fellowships have been assigned with contracts starting from the 1st of November or the 1st of December 2016.
With the second round of calls, 571 applications were received by the MAC. The candidates came from 53 different Countries. At the end of the evaluation process, 14 PhD fellowships have been assigned with contracts starting from the 1st of November 2017.
Four candidates did not accept the position. MAC had the opportunity to replace only one of these fellows.
Therefore, at the end of December 2017, INCIPIT had 28 fellows contractualized (9 from India, 2 from Portugal, 3 from Spain, 2 from Polland, 2 from Egypt, 2 from Iran, 1 from Mexico, 1 from Republic of China, 1 from Somalia, 1 from Cyprus, 1 from UK, 1 from Lebanon, 1 from Italy, 1 from France) with 61% of women and other 4 candidates to be contractualized at the beginning of the year 2018. PhD fellows contributed to increase international research activities in the South of Italy: their demand of internationalisation had a positive impact on the environment and the working team of the Host Institutes. On the other side, the Fellows declared to achieve the following first results: the possibility to experience intersectoral research team work, acquire a better approach towards scientific thinking, be involved in the publication of scientific papers and in project proposal drafting, attend international conferences and congresses useful for their career.
MAC ensured the day-to-day management, including the recruitment of ESR and their enrolment into the PhD Doctoral Schools, the organization of their secondment, the submission of the Deliverables envisaged for the period, the reporting of the fellows data on the EC portal, the training on transferable skills (“How to write for biomedical journals and how to present scientific data”, 10.04.2017; “Management and Leadership for Young Scientists”, 18-19.07.2017), the training on “Animal experiments: Regulatory framework, ethical issues and 3Rs principle application” and the regular implementation of the theoretical courses run by Universities Doctoral Schools as well as the laboratory activities envisaged in the frame of the doctoral research projects.
Apart the above mentioned training courses, ESR had the opportunity to work in team on specific research projects and attend training courses related to the main subject of their research. Moreover, they attended congresses (i.e. ABCD congress 2017, 59th Congress of the Italian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), summer schools (as 7th Neuron Technology SS). The first experiences and results have been drafted by the Fellows appointed with 2016 calls in occasion of the Mid-Term Meeting. A similar initiative will be done in 2018 for the Fellows appointed with 2017 calls.
The calls and the aims of the project were disseminated through the INCIPIT web si

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

PhD fellows contributed to increase international research activities in the South of Italy: their demand of internationalization had a positive impact on the environment and the working team of the Host Institutes. On the other side, the Fellows declared to achieve the following first results: the possibility to experience intersectoral research team work, acquire a better approach towards scientific thinking, be involved in the publication of scientific papers and in project proposal drafting, attend international conferences and congresses useful for their career.
The expected results and the potential impact on society are the following: contributing to research excellence; improving internationalization of research and of doctorate training programme; enhance research careers, by providing the PhD fellows with opportunities of research in Italy and abroad; contributing to socio-economic growth by investing on R&I dealing with global issues; increasing opportunities of employment and/or entrepreneurship; favouring science diplomacy.

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