APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre, based at University College Cork, is delighted to announce that two of the six successful Innovative Training Networks (ITN) awarded by the EU to Irish universities this week, will be led by APC researchers, Dr Cormac Gahan and Dr Brendan Griffin. These new ITNs, which were successful at the evaluation stage and have been invited to participate in preparing the grant agreements worth €5.66m, will provide top-level research and training opportunities for two collaborative PhD Programmes across Europe, coordinated from APC.

The prestigious EU 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks action announced funding for 147 projects worth €530 million this year which will support around 2000 early-stage researchers. It is an extremely competitive initiative.  1,509 eligible proposals were submitted for this funding call with only 147 being funded.

“Successfully securing two Innovative Training Networks at APC represents a major achievement. These are two out of only six awards to Ireland. It is a recognition of the quality of our research, our diverse networks, our talented staff and our commitment to excellence. We look forward to these collaborative networks creating new cutting edge programmes to develop the next generation of scientists who will be prepared to meet the changing needs of society, industry and the economy,” said Professor Paul Ross, Director at APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre.

Dr Cormac Gahan, APC Microbiome Ireland, School of Microbiology & School of Pharmacy, UCC, will co-ordinate COL_RES (Colonization Resistance) which will investigate the mechanisms by which the gut microbiota protects against serious foodborne pathogens, including Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria and Campylobacter. Food and water borne diseases cause 23 million illnesses in the European region with 5000 deaths per annum and represent an increasing challenge to global health. COL_RES will fund 8 PhD students to work with leading scientists across Europe to identify next generation probiotics that can protect against multiple infectious agents. These early stage researchers will also gain industry experience by doing placements, preparing them for problem solving and entrepreneurial roles. This ITN is worth €2.2m in total and will recruit 3 (of the 8) PhD students in the APC.

Dr Brendan Griffin, APC Microbiome Ireland and School of Pharmacy, UCC will co-ordinate InPharma. This ITN aims to eliminate animals from the development of oral drug formulations bringing together leading  scientists from 6 multi-national pharmaceutical companies, 5 research institutions and 9 technology and service providers (SMEs). The PhD students will gain experience working with pharma and regulatory agencies to create a research network involving 9 European countries. InPharma will advance the use of computational and in vitro assessment tools to establish a fully integrated, animal-free, end-to-end modelling approach to oral drug product development. InPharma has recieved €3.5m in EU funding and will provide opportunities for 11 PhD students across Europe, including 3 PhD students supervised by Dr Griffin.

See full list of the EU funded projects (including the other 4 Irish projects) here