In September 2017, Dr Colin Clarke, Principal Investigator (PI) at the Dublin-based National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), intended to submit a European Training Network (ETN) proposal. Four non-academic and two academic partners made up the consortium. The proposed project’s ambition was to develop new manufacturing methods for biopharmaceuticals. Given the strong involvement of industrial partners and the industry-focused project idea, and after analysing previously funded European Industrial Doctorates (EID), we suggested to Dr Clarke to go for an EID. In hindsight, this proved to be a wise decision, as his proposal STACCATO was successfully funded and 11 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) are currently starting their training and research in Ireland, Germany, Portugal, Finland and Sweden. The short interview below covers his upcoming project and how we were able to help him while also explaining the advantages of applying for an EID instead of an ETN.
Apart from the ETN scheme which receives 85% of all Innovative Training Network (ITN) applications, ITNs offer two other types of training networks: The European Joint Doctorates (EJD) and the European Industrial Doctorates (EID). EIDs fund doctoral training networks in which the non-academic sector plays a major role in training activities.
Are you planning to set up an ITN to train young researchers in both academic and industry settings? Are you aware that ITNs are not limited to the popular European Training Networks (ETNs) but also include a specific funding scheme more suited to industry-driven networks? The strategic grant planning can help you identify the right opportunity and best fit for your project idea.
Questions and answers with Dr Colin Clarke (Principal Investigator at NIBRT)
Dr Clarke specialises in the application of multivariate statistics and machine learning algorithms to high dimensional data. Since 2009 he has been working at NIBRT investigating the biology of CHO cells during biopharmaceutical production. Dr Clarke leads the project STACCATO in which accelopment currently supports the project management and dissemination.
Why did you want to apply for a Horizon 2020 ETN in the first place?
I work at NIBRT in Dublin, Ireland. Our mission is to support the biopharmaceutical industry in terms of both research and training. I was a PI in a previous Horizon 2020 ETN and had seen first-hand the tremendous opportunity the programme offers to young scientists to immerse themselves in exciting research and the benefits of working in a collaborative training network. A Horizon 2020 ETN coordinated through NIBRT focussed on advanced research training for biopharmaceutical manufacturing not only aligns perfectly with our own mission but also enabled us to strengthen collaborative links with excellent academic and industrial partners around Europe.
Had you heard about the European Industrial Doctorate?
No, I had no idea! It was only through interaction with the accelopment team during the initial grant planning phase that I became aware of the EID programme. I have no doubt that selecting the EID was essential for our success.
Why did you follow accelopment’s suggestion to apply for an EID rather than an ETN?
The accelopment team were able to quickly understand the goals of the research, the outcomes we wanted to achieve and the strengths of the organisations in the network. accelopment provided a clear and concise reasoning behind why an EID was the ideal fit for our project. Furthermore, the in-depth knowledge at accelopment in terms of the requirements and subtilties of each call really gave me confidence that not only was an EID the right direction but that we could work together to be successful!
What lessons did you learn regarding the identification of the best suitable funding scheme?
It’s obvious that the most suitable funding scheme increases the probability of success, but what that funding scheme is far from obvious! If you’re like me, it’s difficult to dedicate the time to navigate the breadth of calls available and understand the requirements of each one to choose the right funding scheme.
I’d highly recommend accelopment - their expertise and professionalism is evident through their outstanding track record in securing funding in the ITN programme.
About strategic grant planning
To identify EU funding possibilities and to support you in your quest for funding, we are eager to help you with strategic grant planning (SGP). Based on your field of activity and key words, we will create a list of relevant funding opportunities at the European level, covering proposal submissions for the next two years. This list will include some call details such as deadlines, success rates, proposal page numbers, funding estimation, usual consortium size, etc. We will then organise a meeting to identify the most suitable opportunities and set up time plans to ensure an efficient use of resources during the application process.
About the STACCATO EID
STACCATO is a European Industrial Doctorate funded under the Marie Skłodowska Curie Action (MSCA) of Horizon 2020. It has been specifically designed to provide world-class intersectoral training to 11 ESRs and creating and applying pioneering manufacturing process development approaches for biopharmaceuticals. More specifically, they will utilise high-resolution data captured simultaneously from thousands of single cells to develop new manufacturing methods for biopharmaceuticals.