2018 ended with a good outlook for a number of CRG research groups that leveraged external resources to pursue new research goals while strengthening the Institute’s international positioning as a biomedical reference centre.
A major effort was made at European level, resulting in an increase in the number of grants awarded for research projects under the Horizon 2020 framework programme.
Participation by the Institute’s researchers in major collaborative projects includes: The LifeTime Initiative (Marti-Renom, Hey, Di Croce), a partnership led by a multidisciplinary consortium distributed over 18 European countries, aiming to revolutionise healthcare by understanding and predicting how cells changes as they age and progress towards disease; ‘BCLLAtlas’ (Gut, Heyn), a prestigious ERC Synergy grant whose objective is to shed full light on the origin and progression of leukaemia; ‘ChromDesign’ (Di Croce), a European interdisciplinary network training thirteen top PhD students to investigate how the genome is organised over time and its relationship with health and disease; ‘IMMUcan’ (Gut), a project funded under the European Innovative Medicine initiative, which proposes the creation of an integrated European cancer data platform as the cornerstone for designing new therapeutic interventions.
Moreover, the Institute is now involved in an international project funded by the European Commission whose objective is to build a platform for long-term cooperation between China and Europe to address common research and innovation priorities in health.
The Institute’s scientific and technological units were also successful in securing external resources to support its research infrastructure and participation in key cooperation platforms such as: the national biomedical imaging community (Zimmermann); the Spanish Singular Scientific and Technological Infrastructure (ICTS), IOT, for the use of omics technologies in personalised medicine (Beltrán); the European Proteomics Infrastructure Consortium (Sabidó).
The overall number of fellowships from national and international funders also increased last year, allowing PhD students and Postdoctoral researchers from nineteen research groups to carry out their own scientific projects and improve their career development prospects.
In 2018, the ”la Caixa” Foundation launched the first edition of its Health Research call to fund the best biomedicine and health research proposals across Spain and Portugal: two remarkable collaborative grants are now headed by CRG Principal Investigators, aimed at identifying new molecules to fight against cancer progression, including metastasis (Gebauer) and at using stem cells to regenerate retina cells and recover sight (Cosma).