Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - ALEA JACTA EST (Shaping the Future of a New Generation of Hybrid Human Resources for the Tissue Engineering of Connective Tissues)

Tissue engineering (TE) emerged in the last decade of the 20th century as an alternative approach to circumvent the existing limitations in current therapies for organ failure or replacement, which were mainly related to the difficulty of obtaining tissues or organs for transplantation. TE is a multidisciplinary field, covering several research areas that include materials science, processing and design, surface engineering, cell and molecular biology and animal in vivo assays. However, and in spite of the fact that some European groups emerged as leaders in this particular field, Europe is still trailing the United States of America in the same areas for a large margin, therefore is urgent to cut off that scientific gap. This gap exists mainly due to two main reasons:
1. the fragmentation of TE research in Europe; and
2. the so-called 'brain drain' of young post-graduate students to the United States of America.

The main aim of the ALEA JACTA EST project was to help to invert this situation by combining the expertise of seven partners of excellence, which were all recognised as leaders in their fields of research and education, through the formation of an early stage post-graduation training program at the PhD level. In this sense, it was possible to create a multi-site PhD program, lasting three years, with a clear and strategic European dimension, operational in all seven different Institutions, with six of them awarding degrees. Therefore, the grant holders could chose to perform their research among the following host institutions:
1. University of Minho, 3B's Research Group, Department of Polymer Engineering (3B's-UM), located in Portugal
2. Institute of Science and Technology of Polymers (CSIC), located in Spain
3. Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, LBI Trauma Care (LBI), located in Austria
4. Johannes Gutenberg-University, Institute of Pathology (JGU), located in Germany
5. University of Sheffield, Centre for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, School of Clinical Dentistry (USHEF), located in the United Kingdom
6. University of Keele (KEELE), located in the United Kingdom
7. Materialise NV (MATERIALISE), located in Belgium.

This training program was able to generate multidisciplinary researchers, fully able to work within the TE field and prepared with the necessary tools to become leaders in this field in the near future. The ALEA JECTA EST training program also fostered synergies and complementarities of not only scientific knowledge and experience but also of research cultures. The success of this project was a result of the quality of the selected students and the planned activities. On the other hand, the exemplary interaction between the partners during the four years of the project was also an essential condition to ensure the constant mobility of the students within the consortium and resulted in great advances in the performed cooperative research activities. The scientific outputs were integrated within a greater research platform of the EXPERTISSUES network of excellence.

The ALEA JACTA EST training program contributed towards the enhancement of the mobility of graduate students among the different partners, but also gave them a great background that would allow them for sure to conduct competitive research in a cutting-edge multidisciplinary area. We strongly believed that, as a result, the ALEA JACTA EST project offered its contribution on increasing the global competitiveness of European researchers as well as on motivating the selected early stage trained fellows to seek careers within Europe.

Reported by

UNIVERSITY OF MINHO
BRAGA
Portugal