LEADING COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH AND TRAINING NETWORKS
The CRG is leading several collaborative research and training networks funded by the European Commission under its Framework Programmes, thanks to its excellent research and dedicated support by the International and Scientific Affairs team. This continued leadership results in high visibility, a strong reputation as well as relevant scientific and innovation output.
In 2015, five proposals were submitted and five projects were awarded (~€13.8M as total requested EC contribution, €2.9M as CRG requested EC contribution), as detailed below:
H2020 projects initiated in 2015:
- MycoSynVac Coordinated by Luis Serrano.
- OPATHY Coordinated by Toni Gabaldón. This is a training network and calls for 13 Early Stage Researchers (300 applications from 57 different countries) to be hosted in 11 institutions from seven European countries).
- LIBRA Coordinated by Isabelle Vernos. This is the milestone project to implement gender equality actions in EU-LIFE research institutes, launched last October 1, 2015.
- MiniCell Coordinated by Luis Serrano.
H2020 projects awarded in 2015, to start in 2016:
- CellViewer Coordinated by Pia Cosma.
- DivIDE Coordinated by Isabelle Vernos.
Other FP7 projects ongoing in 2015 were BioPreDyn (Johannes Jaeger), 4DCellFate (Luciano Di Croce), Swarm-Organ (James Sharpe) and FLiACT (Matthieu Louis), which organised a “Fly Neuroscience” workshop in Ghana (December 14-17, 2015) with the participation of FLiACT junior researchers. It was addressed to 31 participants from Ghana, Congo, Nigeria and Ethiopia. Altogether, these networks involved more than 70 institutions from different European countries, including several industrial partners, and mobilised a total EC contribution of more than €35 million.
Additionally, the CRG strengthened its position in several relevant pan-European infrastructure networks, such as ELIXIR (becoming part of the Spanish node of the infrastructure), EuroBioImaging (participating in the second preparatory phase and sitting on the interim board), ISBE (as work-package leader), and the new H2020 projects CORBEL and EXCELERATE.
EU-LIFE, the European Life Sciences Institutes for Excellence, is a key initiative chaired by the CRG to promote excellence in research, strengthen integration among European research institutes in life sciences, and develop and share best practices in research, research management, and training. Several CRG members are actively participating in EU-LIFE working groups, and this participation resulted, among other important outputs, in:
- Launch of the H2020-funded project on gender equality: LIBRA.
- Publication of a paper on stimulating translational research in Europe (Trends Mol Med. 2015 Sep; 21(9):525-7. doi: 10.1016).
- Organization of the scientific workshop on “Epigenetics and Disease” (BRIC, Denmark, May 2015).
- Implementation of a new on-line tool to help postdocs and young PIs make their next career moves.
CORE FOR LIFE – The CRG’s Core Facilities form part of the Core Facilities Excellence Alliance “Core For Life”, which also includes EMBL (Heidelberg, Germany), VIB (Belgium), MPI-CBG (Dresden, Germany), IMP and CSF (Vienna, Austria), and the Functional Genomics Centre Zurich (Switzerland). Core For Life is aimed at sharing and consolidating procedures, joining efforts in personnel training and technology validation, and sharing access to facilities across institutes. A remarkable benchmarking initiative was begun in 2015 involving the proteomics, genomics and microscopy working groups. Within this initiative, the proteomics unit at the CRG has developed and deployed an MS-data processing server to perform cloud-based quality control assessment of mass spectrometric analysis among the different nodes of the alliance, with the final aim of becoming a European reference centre for quality control of proteomics data.
The CRG, through its International and Scientific Affairs team, explores new opportunities all around the globe to attract the most talented researchers, establish scientific collaborations, and increase the visibility of its research. Following is a list of some of the most relevant international actions carried out in 2015.
Argentina. In the framework of the collaboration agreement with the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva of Argentina:
- Joint projects between the CRG and Argentinian groups. Four joint collaborative projects to exchange personnel started running in 2015.
- Two joint courses were organized, one on “Genome Editing” in Barcelona, and the other on “Chromatin and Genome Regulation” in Buenos Aires.
CRG-Novartis-Africa mobility programme. The partnership with Novartis to boost capacities in developing countries was consolidated in 2015 in the CRG-Novartis-Africa mobility programme. The highlights of this programme in 2015 were:
Israel. Tel Aviv University (TAU) and the CRG co-organized a joint mini-symposium (Tel Aviv, January 2015). The CRG delegation included 9 junior and senior Principal Investigators (PI’s). The main goal of the symposium was to intensify existing collaborations, and identify new ones for potential joint projects in the field of Gene Regulation, Genomics and Stem Cells in Disease. A total of 18 speakers, from renowned senior scientists to young junior PI’s, presented their research in front of an audience of 120 participants, including faculty, graduate students and post-docs from Tel Aviv University and neighbouring institutions and hospitals.