Leishmaniasis is a neglected infectious disease and a major public health and veterinary problem that afflicts both developing countries and Europe. The current technological and epidemiological advances underpin the necessity to develop training programmes aiming at developing new tools and strategies to control of leishmaniasis.
Leishmaniasis control is the topic for EUROLEISH.NET, a Marie Sklodowska-Curie – Innovative Training Network. An excellent group of academic and non-academic institutions in Europe and abroad will host 15 PhD students who will receive training in disciplines ranging from parasitology to molecular science, genetics, epidemiology and strategic interventions. The 15 research projects encompass drug discovery, drug resistance, diagnostics and vaccine development, population genetics, vector control and integrated control programmes. The designated project supervisors have proven track records of success in research and in training and will support a meticulously planned series of meetings and diligent monitoring of the progression of each trainee.
The incorporation of trainee mobility into the network, together with the commitment, strong affiliations and technology transfer between the participants provide a highly synergistic framework for success. We anticipate an extremely productive training and research output from EUROLEISH-NET. We expect to train the next generation of leading research scientists in this field, endowed with skills that are broadly and internationally transposable.
The aim of the EUROLEISH-NET programme is to provide the selected candidates the tools to start and consolidate their careers in the field of infectious disease control and leishmaniasis in particular. The training programme will promote scientific excellence, multidisciplinarity, and autonomy to increase the employability of the researchers.
The core of the training programme is the PhD research projects conducted by the 15 selected candidates and each supervised by two specialized senior scientists from two institutions. Additionally, the researchers will benefit from group coaching at regular intervals in a number of retreats
· Scientific excellence: the 15 PhD students will engage each in a three-year PhDresearch project linked to non-academic institutions (e.g. private sector and/or public-private alliances). All trainees will be hosted by centres of excellence for leishmaniasis research located in Europe. Researchers will develop their skills (i.e. laboratory, analytical, epidemiology, etc) under the supervision of two senior scientists from different institutions. The research projects aim to lead to a PhD award and a series of high impact scientific publications.
· Multi-disciplinarity: The PhD projects offered include basic, translational and implementation research projects, and this combination will allow for challenging interactions within the network. Individual research projects draw from different scientific disciplines (i.e. molecular biology and epidemiology, drug discovery, vector control and immunology). Researchers will be inducted into a large, diverse and global research community with a strong European basis and focused on a common goal, leishmaniasis control. During their training, all researchers will spend (1) at least 6 months in a non-academic (e.g. SME, NGO) institution and (2) a minimum of 2-3 months abroad to conduct part of their project.
· Autonomy: Researchers will be encouraged to take responsibility on the design, development and management of their research projects in coordination with the supervisors.
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie International Training Network grant agreement No 642609.