New Research and Educational Programme for young researchers

Knowledge exchange between basic biomedical research and clinical practice is vital in the development of new forms of treatment. A new research and educational programme will provide young researchers with a broadened perspective in medicine and learn them how to translate results from the laboratory to clinical practice and the life science industry. 

It is crucial to improve the entire flow of knowledge in the translational process from the moment an important discovery is made until it comes to benefit the patient. This is one of the focuses of the new advanced research and study programme for researchers, BRIDGE – Translational Excellence Programme, to be launched by the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen in the fall of 2018.

The research and educational programme has received funding of 46 million DKR from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, and the objective is to bridge the gap between basic biomedical research, clinical practice and the life science sector by training and educating young researchers in cross-disciplinary research and collaboration disciplines. The initiative is inspired by a successful translational programme established at Harvard Medical School named Catalyst.

“I have long wanted an advanced training and educational programme that strengthens the link between basic and clinical research, and at the same time provides young researchers with an innovative and broader perspective on medicine and life science. The new programme is oriented towards future needs and supports the young researchers’ development and career choices by at the same time opening doors to academia, hospitals and industry. I hope many young researchers will apply for one of the 2-year positions and commit themselves to the new exciting educational opportunities provided by the BRIDGE programme” says Dean Ulla Wewer.

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Educating the Future Specialists in Translational Medicine and Life Science

The translational fellows in the translational educational program will be employed for two years, during which they will spend 80 % of their time on individual research projects within translational medicine. However, as a major difference from traditional postdoc programmes, BRIDGE will include an intensive translational educational programme, which will take up the remaining 20 %. The BRIDGE teaching programme comprises 13 courses, covering tools and technologies in the basic parts of the translational processes, omics- and big data, drug development, regulatory affairs, ethics of early human studies, and will train the fellows in collaboration, management and communication skills. The educational programme is mandatory and corresponds to 22 ECTS. It is the vision to extend the teaching programme to a one-year postgraduate Master degree in Translational Medicine.  

During the programme the fellows will obtain a deep understanding of all steps in the translational processes so they can promote the development and use of experimental and computational methods in an integrative approach towards research and the future work with clinical needs in diagnosis, treatment and prevention. In the educational programme, courses and seminars are arranged in close collaboration with representatives from academia, hospitals and life science industries.

‘By training young research talents to identify the needs of the hospitals and life science industries, we hope to create a new, cross-sectorial culture within the health and medical sciences. We not only educate them to a higher level, we also make sure to do so in a way that bridge the gap between academia, hospitals and industry and of course in the end improve the possibility to diagnose, treat and cure our patients, says Programme Chair professor Peter Garred, who together with Programme Co-Chair associate professor Marianne Benn is responsible for the new programme.

Great Need for Translational Experts

In recent years, the health and medical sciences have seen great changes with new innovative techniques and tools that have raised basic biomedical research to a new level. Concepts like big data, -omics, imaging technologies, and drug design will come to play an even greater role in precision medicine in the future, and experts with the necessary insights and mind-set to foster this development at the universities, hospitals and in life science industries will be much needed.

 “There is a need for scientists who comprehend the full scope of translational research to move an idea all the way from basic research to clinical application – and to bring information back to inform basic science again. These scientists are conversant in advanced technologies, can liaise with basic and clinical scientists, and can ask the right questions leading to real medical advances. The need is huge in industry, academia and hospitals and with the new BRIDGE programme the Novo Nordisk Foundation is taking steps to start meeting this need“says Dagnia Looms, Head of Strategic Awards at the Novo Nordisk Foundation. 

BRIDGE – Translational Excellence Programme 

  • The Faculty has already secured funding from the Novo Nordisk Foundation to develop the programme and for the first two intakes of fellows.
  • Each fellow is attending a 2-year project course and the funding so far covers around 22 fellows.
  • Translational fellows enrolled in the program will dedicate 80% of their time to individual research projects mentored by mentors representing basic biomedical and clinical or life science fields and 20 % of their time to a mandatory teaching programme and didactic activities.
  • The vision is to develop the teaching programme to a one-year postgraduate Master degree in Translational Medicine.
  • There will be two application rounds. The first is planned to begin 1 October 2018 and the fellows will be enrolled approximately 1 April 2019.
  • Only researchers with a PhD degree or equivalent within health and medical sciences and other related sciences can apply together with a mentor team.

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