A consortium of universities working to promote research excellence celebrated its 10th anniversary at a symposium in Barcelona this week.
Professor Dermot Kelleher, current chair of Eurolife, said at the symposium, ‘This is a significant occasion which celebrates the contribution of the Eurolife Network to postgraduate education and research at the European level. Through our partnership over the last 10 years we have grown to become an organisation that has taken a leadership role in developing innovative approaches to postgraduate research and training, scholar exchange and collaborative research networks, harnessing our individual institutional strengths for clear European added value in a trans-institutional cooperative strategic venture‘.
Eurolife was formed in 1999 when the seven universities signed a document committing themselves to a Eurolife Network of European Universities. Since then, a number of EU-funded research projects have developed under Eurolife. Successful projects so far have included Eurogendis, a postgraduate training programme in the genetic basis of human disease, and Eurosterone, a training network that is researching diseases that are of major economic concern in Europe such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Current projects include the EUR 11 million-funded Autocure, led by Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. Funded under the Sixth Framework Programme, it is developing new therapies for common inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Another project, Eugeneheart, is being led by University Medicine Göttingen and is developing new approaches to prevent and treat heart failure through better understanding of the heart’s signalling molecules.
In the field of education, Eurolife is running a Joint Programme in Translational and Experimental Medicine (JPTEM), which is promoting exchanges between postgraduate students. Professor Mark Lawler, chair of the JPTEM, said of the initiative, ‘This innovative programme has allowed students to perform part of their research project at Masters’ level at a partner Eurolife institution, providing the student with an enriched high-quality training experience and a skills set that contribute to their career and personal development as future research leaders in the life sciences‘.
At the symposium, the Eurolife Scholarship Programme for Early Career Researchers was launched. This is an exchange programme in which early-stage researchers can visit partners for three to six months to investigate research priorities. The scholarship programme will give researchers the chance to learn new skills and build networks across Europe.
Dr Albert Tauler, Biomedicine professor at the University of Barcelona said, ‘The Eurolife exchange programme is an excellent tool to promote scientific collaboration. It provides the opportunity to work in another laboratory and help initiate new joint programmes of research. In addition to the scientific benefits, exposure to different cultures encourages early career researchers to appreciate the sense of unity as well as the diversity of Europe in research‘.