The MESO-BRAIN consortium has received a prestigious award of €3.3million in funding from the European Commission as part of its Future and Emerging Technology (FET) scheme. The project aims to develop three-dimensional (3D) human neural networks with specific biological architecture, and the inherent ability to interrogate the network’s brain-like activity both electrophysiologically and optically. It is expected that the MESO-BRAIN will facilitate a better understanding of human disease progression, neuronal growth and enable the development of large-scale human cell-based assays to test the modulatory effects of pharmacological and toxicological compounds on neural network activity. The use of more physiologically relevant human models will increase drug screening efficiency and reduce the need for animal testing.
About the MESO-BRAIN project
The MESO-BRAIN project’s cornerstone will use human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that have been differentiated into neurons upon a defined and reproducible 3D scaffold to support the development of human neural networks that emulate brain activity. The structure will be based on a brain cortical module and will be unique in that it will be designed and produced using nanoscale 3D-laser-printed structures incorporating nano-electrodes to enable downstream electrophysiological analysis of neural network function. Optical analysis will be conducted using cutting-edge light sheet-based, fast volumetric imaging technology to enable cellular resolution throughout the 3D network. The MESO-BRAIN project will allow for a comprehensive and detailed investigation of neural network development in health and disease.
The MESO-BRAIN project will launch in September 2016 and research will be conducted over three years.
About the MESO-BRAIN consortium
The MESO-BRAIN initiative targets a transformative progress in photonics, neuroscience and medicine. The project aims to develop human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neural networks upon a defined and reproducible 3D scaffold to emulate brain activity and improve our understanding and treatment of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia and trauma. This research, led by Aston University, is a collaboration between Axol Bioscience Ltd. (UK), Laser Zentrum Hannover (Germany), University of Barcelona (Spain), Institute of Photonic Sciences (Spain) and KITE Innovation (UK). The project is funded by the European Commission through its Future and Emerging Technology (Open) programme.
“Excellent research and innovation help us to live healthier, fuller and better lives. Europe is home to world-class research, and researchers come from all over the world to collaborate with researchers that are based here and to use European scientific infrastructure. Within this community, the UK has created a world-leading research base that interacts with the best and most ambitious in the rest of the world, keeping UK research at the cutting edge” (Royal Society, December 2015).
The UK is one of the highest in the current framework programmes, Horizon 2020 (H2020), which is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness. Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.
EU Research funding helps generate and support over 19,000 jobs across the UK, £1.86 billions for the UK Economy and more than £1 billon to GDP according to the Universities UK, June 2016. Ending our access to these programmes will weaken our economy which depends on exploitation of innovative science, technology and colloboration with others (including EU countries). To help support UK Research – Sign this petition – We require any BRExit deal preserves UK access to EU collaborative R&D Programs.
The Directors and staff of KITE are disappointed at the result of the UK vote to leave the EU. We strongly believe that UK membership of the EU and access to its innovation ecosystem is of significant benefit to the growth of the knowledge-based economy that is the future of wealth creation in this country.
The vote to leave the European Union (EU) does not mean there will be any immediate material change to the UK’s participation in EU programmes such as Horizon 2020.
More than two-thirds of KITE’s portfolio of projects are coordinated by client organisations from outside the UK. Therefore, although this news is not pleasing, the expertise of our team remains in high demand and there are no obstacles to our continued work with EU academic and industry coordinators and partners in securing funding from the H2020 Framework Programme.
Our services continue without interruption and we remain fully committed to supporting research teams from across Europe and the UK in preparing bids for submission to H2020.
Looking ahead, KITE anticipates that UK research sector involvement in H2020 will continue in the long-term, possibly in a form similar to other non-EU member countries such as Switzerland and Israel. This will only become clearer following implementation of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which foresees a two-year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided.
The CHEQUERS project (GA no. 645535) held its first periodic review meeting in Brussels on 11th May, 2016. The meeting was very successful with constructive feedback provided by the reviewers and project officer.
Some quotes from the Review Report:
“Project has fully achieved its objectives and milestones for the current review period. The project has got off to a solid start, with projects structure, roles and responsibilities, as well as planned activities during this period, all progressing appropriately.”
“The quality of the results is excellent. The data and the analysis are of excellent quality and have been presented in a succinct and clear manner in the periodic report, without unnecessary duplications.”
KITE is the coordinator of the CHEQUERS project, providing project management, dissemination and exploitation expertise. CHEQUERS brings together a group of European companies and researchers, including laser experts and law enforcement agencies [M Squared Lasers (UK), Fraunhofer IAF and IPMS (Germany), Fraunhofer UK Research (UK), Vigo System S.A. (Poland), Bundeskriminalamt (Germany)], to create novel technology that will detect the presence of explosive and hazardous materials.
The outcomes of the project will provide new anti-terrorism tools for law enforcement agencies, and help health and safety professionals improve industrial safety on things like oilrigs and chemical plants.
For more information about the CHEQUERS project please visit the website: www.chequers.eu
Aided by Kite’s proposal development services, the University of Huddersfield has recently heard of the success of its Researcher’s Night proposal – STEAM – under the Horizon 2020 Excellent Science Pillar. The funding will enable the University to open its doors to the general public for two nights of interactive activities to showcase the work of their researchers from all 7 of the university schools.
The events will focus on ‘STEAM– Making Sense of Science through Art’ and will use art as a medium to convey scientific concepts/ideas to the general public. This underlying principle integrates Art into the conventional STEM subjects (hence STEAM) creating an accessible and more familiar communication channel. The events will target all members of the general public, with a specific focus on school age children through pre-activities in schools.
The Researchers’ Nights will be held on: Friday 30 September 2016 and Friday 29 September 2017. For more information, please visit http://www.hud.ac.uk/news/2016/june/fullsteamahead-europeanresearchersnight-1.php
Kite has secured a new project in the FET Open scheme. This is one of the most competitive strands of H2020 with success rates dipping below 2% in the last round. The 3.5M EUR project will target a laboratory based experimental proof of concept (TRL 3) and brings together academics and industry from UK, Spain and Germany. Kite’s role in the consortium will be to provide project management support as well as leading the Dissemination & Exploitation Work Package. The project will have a likely start date of Sept 2016.
The IMI2 call 5 topics on Alzheimer’s disease have been successfully addressed by consortia including Kite Innovation. For two of the four call 5 topics focussed on Alzheimer’s disease, IMI have selected proposals supported by KITE to progress to stage 2. KITE is now supporting both of the successful consortia in developing the full proposals working on APOE biology and patient engagement and projects are expected to start in September 2016.
Six Marie Curie Fellowships submitted to the 2015 call and supported by KITE have been selected for funding. In this highly competitive programme where success rates are in the order of 12% proposals supported by KITE had an overall success rate of more than 30%!
HIPERDIAS – HIgh throughPut LasER processing of DIAmond and Silcon
Kite has secured a new project in H2020 ICT with the University of Stuttgart for the development and the application of high-power highly efficient ultra-short pulse (USP) lasers in micro-machining The project HIPERDIAS aims at the development of laser systems with kW-class average output power and sub-1ps pulses at high-repetition rates (MHz).
The Project is coordinated by Dr. M. Abdou Ahmed and brings together academic and industrial partner from across the EU, including:
- University of Stuttgart (Germany)
- Amplitude Systèmes (France)
- Gesellschaft für Angewandte Mikro- und Optoelektronik mit beschränkter Haftung GMBH (Germany)
- Element Six Limited (Ireland)
- Robert Bosch (Germany)
- Université de Limoges (France)
- GLOPhotonics (France)
- Laser Engineering Applications S.A. (Belgium)
- Class 4 Laser Professional AG (Switzerland)
- & Kite Innovation (Europe) Ltd (United Kingdom)
For more information about the Project, visit the website at http://www.hiperdias.eu
Kite Innovation have recruited Ms. Julie Devall.
Kite Innovation have strengthened and grown the project management team by recruiting Julie Devall to support the companies’ research project management activities. Julie has a BSc in Sociology and extensive collaborative project experience in both the private and public sectors.