Scientific and technological objectives of the research and training Programme
Scientific training projects. The 13 scientific projects described hereafter represent the training-by-research effort of NanoTOES. Each project will be carried out by one fellow (ESR or ER) under the supervision of one of the NanoTOES partners, and in direct collaboration with other partners of the consortium. Experimental work is expected to start at month 7 and to end by month 42.
See the Fellows’ Research Projects.
Work packages. The project consists of six sub-programmes, which are organised as work packages (WP) and tasks. The first four WP focus on specific research areas while the fifth is the specific training WP and the sixth deals with management. Partners involved in a specific WP or task are indicated, and WP and task leaders are underlined.
See the Project Work Packages.
Milestones are used to follow the successful progress of the scientific topics and the training activities of the consortium as a whole. All partners are involved all these milestones, which will be addressed in the periodic, midterm and final reports to the commission. For details see B.2.1.
|Month||Milestones (Number)||Partners involved|
|6||Fellows selection (M6)||all|
|12||Seminars (M3), Proficiency (M6), Rotations (M8), Journal clubs and lectures (M9)||all|
|18||Scientific progress (M1), Collaborations (M2), Seminars (M3), International congresses (M4), Proficiency (M7), Journal clubs and lectures (M9), Training courses (M11)||all|
|24||Scientific progress (M1), Seminars (M3), Proficiency (M7), Rotations (M8), Journal clubs and lectures (M9), Summing up (M12)||all|
|30||Scientific progress (M1), Collaboration (M2), Seminars (M3), International congresses (M4), Proficiency (M7), Journal clubs and lectures (M9), Graduate courses (M10), Training courses (M11)||all|
|36||Seminars (M3), Proficiency (M7), Journal club and lectures (M9)||all|
|42||Scientific progress (M1), Collaborations (M2), Seminars (M3), International congresses (M4), Proficiency (M7), Journal clubs and lectures (M9)||all|
|48||PhD theses (M5), Summing up (M12)||all|
Deliverables: Besides of the lead partners indicated, all partners will contribute to the Midterm and Final report, to the reports on fulfilment of milestones and to the completion of the PhD theses. The partners contributing to the various scientific tasks are indicated in the WP list above. For the list of deliverables refer to part B.2 Implementation.
The network as a whole undertakes to provide a minimum of 444 person-months of Early Stage and Experienced Researchers whose appointment will be financed by the contract. Quantitative progress on this, with reference to the table contained in Part C and in conformance with relevant contractual provisions, will be regularly monitored at the consortium level.
Training-by-research will take place during the entire period of internship of the fellows in the hosting institutions, under the supervision of expert researchers acting as tutors. The projects’ periodic progress reports will be checkpoints to assess the fellows’ advancements, both from the scientific point of view (M1: Scientific progress reports) and in regard to acquisition of complementary skills such as communication, critical evaluation, problem-solving (M7: Fellows’ proficiency checkpoints). Each PI will care for regular progress checks of her/his fellow.
All fellows will be trained from the beginning to follow the rules of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) in their projects. The industrial partners ACS, Grimm and Bayer will ensure that the training also involves work under certified standards as required in industry. NILU, a private research institution which maintains a strong training programme, will also contribute to training towards GLP standards.
Interdisciplinary training is a key element of NanoTOES that needs to encompass expertise in very different fields (chemistry, physics, biology, environmental sciences, etc.). Secondments are obligatory and are specified in each project. Each ESR will spend at least 2 months and each ER at least 1 month during the project in partner institutions, and all fellows will have interactions both with academic and industrial partners to ensure intersectorial exchange (M2: Collaboration progress reports; M8: Fellows’ rotations). Fellows will gain knowledge outside of natural sciences and engineering also by participating in obligatory courses on Complementary Skills that address key issues such as environmental impact and regulatory procedures, ethics in science, project management, grant writing, IP protection, commercial exploitation of results, entrepreneurship, economics, communication, research policy, presentational skills and gender policy (see below, Schedule of Training measures, Deliverables and Milestones for the individual fellows). Outstanding experts will be invited as guest lecturers. To increase communication and networking, the coordinator will arrange and promote joint courses with other ongoing EU initiatives (M11: Participation of fellows to training courses). Partners NERC, UCD, NILU and IST coordinate ongoing FP7 projects on nanosafety which allows the fellows to be involved in and interact with European cutting edge research in their field, including the opportunity to achieve an interdisciplinary network of contacts.
Personal career development. At the start of their contract, fellows receive a Manual for Fellows, prepared by the responsible MC members. The Manual will contain information about the FP7-PEOPLE-ITN-2010 programme, the NanoTOES structure, timeline, procedures and communication routes, and about good scientific practice including GLP and ethical standards. It will also inform fellows about scientific writing, job perspectives (including reference to the Researchers Mobility Portal for the European Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess), administrative questions such as taxes, social security and pensions, and gender issues. A Personal Training Plan will be set up for each fellow that will include the scientific project and the tutor assigned (including a second tutor when required by a PhD programme), the timeline of training, secondments to other institutions, contacts with industrial partners, and a list of skills to be obtained during training. Checkpoints will be both scientific (M3: Fellows’ seminars) and specifically of training (M9: Participation to journal clubs and lectures). A quality assessment questionnaire will be given to the fellows at the end of all meetings and training events in order to assure that training is tailored to the fellows needs.
European degree in Nanotoxicology. NanoTOES will promote a European specialisation/PhD degree in Nanotoxicology, to be mutually recognised by the participating institutions. PLUS will take responsibility for harmonising procedures aimed at establishing a joint doctoral programme supervised by at least two PI, of which one can be from a different institution. Fellows will be enrolled either at the doctoral programme of PLUS or in a parallel course at the partners’ local Universities upon joint agreement, so as to obtain a mutually recognised degree.
Different backgrounds and interests of ESR and ER will be addressed. The aim of the programme is for ESR to reach good theoretical and practical skills, while ER will have more targeted training to assume leading positions in science and industry in the near future. Checkpoints are scientific (M4: Participation to workshops; M5: PhD thesis) and related to training (M10: Graduate courses).
Risk management and risk assessment will be for each project a task for the PI, who will be assisted by other partners, external members of the SB or external ad hoc experts with expertise appropriate to the specific risk. At all meetings the PIs will report on whether or not a risk management is required. Risks becoming apparent between meetings will be immediately reported to the coordinator, who will seek support from other partners as suitable.
Adequate combination of local specialist training with network-wide training activities. The training structure will comprise local and network-wide activities. Locally, fellows will attend scientific lectures as well as existing courses in oral presentation, scientific writing, patent issues, and language classes. Wherever possible, they will be included in local teaching programmes, e.g. ongoing (English language) PhD courses in specified areas of neuroscience and in the practical “In vitro Cell Technology” course at IEM-HAS, the Master in Nanotechnology degree of the UAB, and the Doctoral School “Immunity in cancer and allergy” at PLUS. PLUS and Grimm will organize an IPR training course in Salzburg, including a visit to the European Patent Office at Munich with presentations from patent experts. In addition there will be laboratory courses open to all NanoTOES fellows, e.g. Screening methods using reporter genes at PLUS, Biological control and standardisation methods and assays at CNR, the latest development of the detection of DNA damage and repair, standardization of these methods for nanogenotoxicity and latest high-throughput developments at NILU, Basics of the handling of NP for biological tests (degradation, aggregation and protein corona formation) at ICN, and BioNanoInteractions master classes at UCD. Additionally both NILU and IEM-HAS regularly organize workshops and courses for young researchers. The Health Effects Group at NILU is organizing a practical one-week international course for young researchers and scientists on In vitro genotoxicity testing of NP within FP7 NanoTEST and courses on Risk assessment, life cycle analysis and impact of assessment of nanomaterial within FP7 NanoImpactNet. All these courses will be available for NanoTOES fellows. Moreover fellows allocated or seconded at NILU will also obtain extensive skills in mentoring and running cytogenetic practical courses for PhD students.
Besides the obligatory training events defined by the milestones listed in the work plan, the Personal Training Plan will define for each fellow which of these and further training events the fellow should attend, based on individual skills and interests.
Creating networks between specialists from different areas through joint initiatives is the basis to defeat fragmentation of knowledge. We will therefore organise two open conferences after 2.0 and 3.5 years of the programme. The first conference, tentative title “Need for biological assays for new nanomaterials”, will be held in Budapest and will address the requirements for biological assays arising from the ongoing development of materials with new properties, and will focus on the needs of nano-producers and regulators. The second conference, tentative title “Novel nanotoxicological requirements and assays” will be held in Siena, will focus on differences in the approaches to assaying of particles compared to chemicals and will emphasize the development of the field of nanotoxicology for preclinical studies, with a focus on the testing requirements of the biomedical industry. All partners will participate in these two events. The aim is to open each conference to at least 20 participants from outside the consortium, either as invited speakers or as attendees, including representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology companies, and relevant regulatory agencies. Involving researchers from other institutions and industries will enhance interactions with related European projects.
Communication between fellows will be facilitated via a Fellows Blog and Information Board on the NanoTOES website. Peer-to-peer learning is an important aspect, which can be particularly fruitful in a cross-disciplinary and multi-site network. We expect that intensive interaction via meetings, secondments and the Web will result in productive cooperation documented by joint publications. Fellows will also be fully involved in European activities to link efforts in nanosafety, like FP7 NanoImpactNet (coordinated by partner 7) and in the “Nanosafety Cluster”, a network of European and national projects, and with future developments in the field, such as the potential nanosafety analytical infrastructure (led by partner 4). This involvement will enable fellows to learn from experts and peers from many different areas.
All fellows will be involved in Open Door Events held at their local hosting institution aiming at informing the general public about research issues. Active participation in these events will aid in developing organizational and communication skills of the fellows.
Partner 12, Bayer, will organize during two of the regular meetings Meet-the-Manager Workshops, where fellows will present their findings to company managers. This will be an important opportunity to deliver training in communication with non-scientific audiences and to facilitate inter-sectorial interaction and networking. The event will also include lectures from senior industrial staff on Industrial perspectives on nanotechnology and on Structuring research careers in industry. Participants will include senior staff from the pharmaceutical industry, and the programme will thus specifically also cover the topic From Bench to Bedside development.