© Leandro Neumann Ciuffo
© Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

UCD leads international medical consortium

The University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland, is to lead a new international consortium of researchers with the aim of developing treatments for cancer and eye disease.

The Drug Discovery and Delivery Network for Oncology and Eye Treatment (3D-NEO-NET) encompasses a consortium of scientists, engineers, chemists and other specialists who hope to gain new research knowledge.

The consortium brings together 18 partners across seven countries and aims to bridge the gaps between academia and industry research. Over the four year period, each of the 68 fellows will spend one month to one year in their placement, learning new skills and sharing their expertise.

Consortium co-ordinator Brendan Kennedy says that the goals of the programme include allowing fellows to gain experience working internationally and within industry. The hope is that the fellows will gain knowledge in fields they wouldn’t have access to before.

Kennedy said: “They’re broadening the width of what they do, rather than the depth.

“It’s a little bit different though than a standard grant because we don’t have four people working on it full-time for four years. We’re building a community, rather than a skyscraper.”

Kennedy also said one goal of the consortium is to prevent duplication of research. Instead of academic and industry partners working on the same techniques individually, the consortium will allow the exchange of knowledge.

Project manager for the consortium, Yolonda Alvarez, added: “The aim of this project is to establish stronger collaborations.

“You have to experience … what this exchange is, to open your mind, to go to a different country.”

The consortium was awarded close to €1m over the next four years under the Horizon 2020 programme.