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New circRTrain network offers PhD training for researchers studying circular RNAs

Emerging topics in science offer unique opportunities to break truly new ground and develop a successful career. As one of these topics, circular RNAs (circRNAs), a species of nucleic acids forming a covalently closed loop, have very recently attracted high general interest. But many things are still unknown: How are circRNAs produced? What are their functions? What is their role in disease and could they be used as biomarkers?

A new training network

To address these questions, the new “circular RNA biology Training Network: from biogenesis to biomarkers” (circRTrain) will offer a three-year funding plan to PhD students interested in the biology of circRNAs and potential medical applications. A major feature of the circRTrain network is the exchange between the eight participating institutions and their partners from all across Europe and Israel, allowing interdisciplinary and intersectoral experience in order to enhance subsequent employability on the job market. Students will travel for short-term internships to partnering institutions, meet regularly to discuss their projects, and attend summer/winter schools covering all PhD training aspects: scientific education, project management, communication skills and career development among others.

Cutting-edge technologies and disciplines

CircRTrain enables young researchers to collect experiences spanning a great scientific spectrum. It combines cutting-edge technologies (sequencing, single-molecule and whole-organism imaging, RNA knockdown and delivery, CRISPR-Cas9), various disciplines (biochemistry, computational biology, genetics), model systems (worm, fly, mouse, human) and medical applications (biomarkers, new therapeutic strategies).

CircRTrain will train 15 early stage researchers (PhD students) in eight academic institutions and companies, which are leaders in their respective fields: the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC), which is coordinating the network in Berlin, the Aarhus University and Qiagen Aarhus in Denmark, the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen, Sapienza University of Rome and the University Medical Center Utrecht.

Additionally, circRTrain cooperates with five non-academic partner organizations (Bioneer, Eurice GmbH, Exosomics, InteRNA and qpa bioanalytics), sustaining the critical number of young talented professionals in the field. Within circRTrain, Eurice will provide IPR training and guidance as part of the network training programme. As a member of a dedicated IPR Board, Eurice will support the circRTrain network with advice on IP/IPR management, assisting in development of exploitation, business and development strategies.

Part of the Horizon 2020 program

The circRTrain budget of € 3.8 Million is funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network (ITN) of the European Commission in the Horizon 2020 program. The circRTrain project will start on January 1, 2017 and is running for four years.

For more information about circRTrain please consult the circRTrain project website.

Tags: Horizon 2020 | Training
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