ISACB European network
Claudia Goettsch1, Valentina Bonito2, Carlijn Bouten2
1RWTH Aachen, Medical Clinic 1, Germany
2Eindhoven University of Technology, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Netherlands
In 2016, during the ICACB meeting in Banff, Canada, ISACB leadership and several ISACB members discussed the need of an ISACB European Chapter being an integral part of ISACB. The ISACB represents a unique platform for basic and applied researchers in all areas of cardiovascular biology. Among the members are innovative and leading scientists in the field. The biennial meeting covers a wide range of basic and applied cardiovascular biology and researchers of all career levels contribute to the discussion in a fantastic collegial atmosphere. There is no such society covering such a multidisciplinary science topic in a broad, yet focused way in Europe. Therefore, our overall aim is the fostering of a European ISACB network.
Here, we present several options and routes to start and sustain such a network, which should – in our view – support and bring together individual ISACB members at all career levels. A special focus and interest is the recruitment of European academic scientists, clinicians, and industry-based scientists in the field of applied cardiovascular biology. The enormous European scientific potential in applied cardiovascular biology can be used as an important force to accelerate the development of breakthrough discoveries in the cardiovascular field - one goal of ISACB.
Our first suggestion centers on the promotion of network building among early investigators. To reinforce the overall mission of the ISACB, the active involvement of young talented researchers within the Society is of utmost importance. The organization of dedicated winter or summer schools represents a valuable, unexplored tool to: I) increase awareness and convene effective knowledge dissemination; II) promote networking among young researchers; III) provide innovative methodological approaches to major unsolved cardiovascular-related problems; and IV) identify a cohort of future leaders in the applied cardiovascular field and active members of the ISACB. One example would be a strategic partnership with the EuroTech Alliance. The EuroTech Alliance Universities bring together four leading European technical universities: the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TU/e, Netherland), the Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU, Denmark), the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, France) and the Technische Universität München (TUM, Germany). The EuroTech Universities are committed to finding technical solutions that address the major challenges of modern society. Therefore, the EuroTech Universities Alliance anchors its activities in expediting the development of the Health & Bio Engineering Area, where the partner universities offer complementary strengths in education and research. Along this line, the EuroTech Alliance funds yearly selected summer/winter schools organized by doctoral candidates from the EuroTech Universities, to “build a community between PhD candidates and provide participants with knowledge at the cutting edge of science & technology” (more info: http://eurotech-universities.eu/call-for-proposals-eurotech-summerwinter-schools/). The expected deadline for the next summer/winter school application is February 2018.
Since the ISACB is devoted to strengthen the communication between academia researchers and industry-based scientists, the European program Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions “Innovative training networks” might be of ISACB interest. These training networks bring together universities, and companies from different countries worldwide to train a new generation of researchers. Importantly, applicants from both in and outside academia are encouraged. The training programs are multi- and interdisciplinary and cover scientific and technological research areas, expose researchers to different sectors, and include a comprehensive set of transferable skills.
The European Union offers several possibilities to financially support network building and collaborative international research across EU countries and with other continents, with varying degrees of success rates. The most attractive ones for starting new partnerships or collaborations between ISACB members are the Erasmus program – for mobility of researchers – and the COST program – for network creation.
The Erasmus program is a EU exchange and mobility program for students, lecturers and staff (www.erasmusprogramme.com). The program comes with a series of possible scholarships for study abroad. Whereas the Erasmus program is open to Europeans, the parallel program “Erasmus Mundus” is oriented towards globalizing European education. This program is open to non-Europeans and offers attractive exchange programs on a global scale.
The COST program of the European Union provides opportunities to start or join a network in an area of interest (http://www.cost.eu/about_cost). International partner organizations, including those from North and South America, Africa, and Asia, can join COST (see: http://www.cost.eu/about_cost/strategy/international_cooperation/ipc). COST provides support for activities such as: the development of European-based scientific and technological networks in any scientific or interdisciplinary domain; the exploitation of research outcomes by integrating all stakeholders; the dissemination of results; and the facilitation of the international collaboration of European research networks, thereby increasing their efficiency, effectiveness and impact at a global level. COST Actions are Science and Technology networks open to researchers, engineers and scholars from universities, research centers, companies, as well as other stakeholders and relevant legal entities. COST Actions are set up to achieve specific objectives within a four-year duration based upon the sharing, creation, dissemination and application of knowledge. These objectives can be reached through COST networking tools like meetings, training schools, short-term scientific missions and dissemination. A major benefit of COST Actions is the ability to build bridges among academia, cultures, and disciplines and between Europe and the world. The average budget per COST Action is 120.000 Euro and the annual budget amounts to 37.500.000 Euro. The most recent call was published on January 11, 2017 and the deadline for application of a network is September 7, 2017.
We are devoted to increasing the awareness of ISACB in Europe. The ISACB European chapter will be a valuable asset to the ISACB, and we encourage all ISACB members in helping us forge new international collaborations.
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