Research without borders

Valérie Devillaine
04/21/2017
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Research is collaborative by definition. Researchers often join forces with colleagues at French institutions and, more broadly, on an international scale. This open-minded approach is very much the norm at Institut Curie.
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The Research Center at Institut Curie is part of a rich environment in which it has developed numerous ties with universities and institutions to increase its sphere of influence, pool its resources and expertise, and strengthen its strategic position. It is supported by its institutional and university authorities and by industry.

Partners and support within France

At the national level, it’s important to mention the vital assistance from the French Ministry for Further Education and Research, the CNRS, Inserm and universities (UPMC and Paris-Sud). Institut Curie is also a founding member of PSL. All the research units at the Institut are associated with at least one of these institutions.

Several research institutions in France have also signed framework agreements with Institut Curie :

• Institut Pasteur in Paris, with the aim of pooling the technical resources of the platforms, developing advanced training initiatives, and conducting bioinformatics projects.

• The Léon-Bérard center in Lyon has the aim of accelerating innovation and improving patient care.

Major health industry players are also teaming up with Institut Curie. An agreement with SANOFI, through the ANR, allowed an industrial cancer immunotherapy chair to be created in Sebastian Amigorena’s unit to pool everyone’s expertise and accelerate development of new molecules in immuno-oncology.

In Europe and beyond

On an international scale, resources come mainly from Europe. Each year, the European Research Council (ERC) awards prestigious grants. At the end of 2016, 27 researchers from Institut Curie had already received one of these grants since they were created in 2007, and 19 more have grants in progress.

The international standing of Institut Curie is also reflected in the European Horizon 2020 projects for which it was selected. Two are currently in progress:

  • On uveal melanoma, coordinated by Sergio Roman-Roman, head of the Translational Research department. The end goal of this “UM Cure 2020” project is to validate new therapeutic approaches at the pre-clinical level against metastatic forms of cancer.
  • On neurodegenerative diseases, coordinated by Maxime Dahan, director of theCurie Physical Chemistry unit (Institut Curie/CNRS/UPMC). Furthermore, these studies will be an opportunity to develop new general knowledge in nanomedicine and biomedical imaging that could also be applied to oncology.

Institut Curie is also involved in the EU-Life alliance. Together, its members can promote cutting-edge research, share their knowledge and influence Europe-wide research and health policies.

The Institut has also created individual partnerships with other internationally-renowned centers, such as Hubrecht Institute (Netherlands), MIT (Boston) and Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (United Kingdom). Add to this a memorandum of understanding currently being signed with the NCBS-inStem in Bangalore, India; a consortium agreement signed to promote exchanges between institutes with Nagoya City University in Japan; and agreements with the Fundacion Cienca & Vida in Santiago, Chile, and the Weizmann Institute in Tel-Aviv, Israel, also under consideration.

The Research Center is also taking part in international advanced training programs for young researchers, such as the Erasmus + Unipharma graduate project (formerly the Leonardo da Vinci program) and the ITN (International Training Networks) in the units.

These collaborations beyond our borders have already led to discoveries and innovations, written up by significant publications. Institut Curie is continuing to develop its international dimension, which is essential to the vitality of the Research Center.

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