UCL News


Framework Programme 7 successes

7 March 2008


European Union Flag ucl.ac.uk/drupal/site_news/sites/news/files/vph.doc">VPH
  • GSD
  • UCL European Research & Development Office
  • UCL has been successful in securing funds worth many millions of euros from the European Commission's new research programme, Framework Programme 7 (FP7). Launched on 1 January 2007 with a budget of €55 billion over seven years, FP7 is the largest ever Framework Programme for research and technological development. Under the framework, four projects have been selected for funding (subject to contract) with UCL members in the role of project coordinator.

    VPH (€8 million)

    The Virtual Physiological Human Network of Excellence (VPH NoE) is the cornerstone of the EU FP7 VPH initiative. Professor Peter Coveney (UCL Chemistry) will be coordinating the €8 million project, which will include 12 other universities from the UK, Europe and New Zealand. The VPH NoE aims to foster the development of new and sustainable educational, training and career structures for those involved in VPH-related science, technology and medicine, and will lay the foundations for a future Virtual Physiological Human Institute.

    UCL is also involved in several other FP7 projects that link directly into the VPH initiative, creating a groundswell of integrative cross-disciplinary work within the university. This includes projects on cancer modelling, breast cancer imaging and liver surgery simulation, as well as work in the field of infectious disease.

    EURIPIDES (€7 million)

    On 1 February, the European Research initiative to develop Imaging Probes for early In-vivo Diagnosis and Evaluation of response to therapeutic Substances (EURIPIDES), a four-year, €7 million project, begins at the UCL Institute of Neurology and 12 other academic European partner sites. The project, coordinated by Dr Matthias Koepp (UCL Institute of Neurology), will explore the causes of drug resistance in patients with major neurological or neurodegenerative conditions, or tumours.

    EURO-PAD-net (€3 million)

    This medium-sized collaborative project, led by Professor Bodo Grimbacher (UCL Immunology & Molecular Pathology), will document and monitor the natural course and study the pathophysiology of Primary Antibody Deficiencies (PADs). PADs are rare inborn errors of the immune system with an estimated incidence of less than one in 25,000. The defective immunity in patients with PADs causes an increased susceptibility to recurrent infections of the respiratory system and gastro-intestinal tract, as well as ill-defined co-morbidities including granulomatous disease, lymphocytic organ infiltration and (paradoxically) autoimmunity.

    GSD (€617,000)

    Global System Dynamics and policies (GSD), coordinated by Professor Steven Bishop (UCL Mathematics), will seek to develop mathematical foundations for modelling complex systems and novel scientific concepts in order to aid policymaking. The project has the goal of setting up a sustainable internationally active network of scientists and policy makers devoted to the use of novel ICT-enabled tools that better integrate scientific inquiry into the decision-making processes. Various case studies will be undertaken - for instance challenges arising from global climate change or the global financial systems - so that detailed analysis of solution strategies can be proposed, including risk assessment of alternative options. One outcome of the project might be that policymakers are able to test various policy options on a computer and estimate better the impact of their decisions before they are implemented.

    To find out more about FP7, contact Michael Browne, Assistant Director of the European Research and Development Office. For more details about the projects outlined here, follow the links at the top of this article.

    UCL enjoys a very high success rate in applications for Research Cooperation (the main activity funding stream for FP7). Currently, 32 per cent of applications are successful - an impressive rate given the competitiveness of the bidding process. Nevertheless, with several more projects awaiting the results of their peer review evaluation, it is hoped that this percentage will rise further.

    In addition UCL has been awarded four European Research Council Grants (evaluated on individual and institutional excellence) which places UCL in the top five most successful institutions in Europe for the first round of European Research Council Starter Grants.

    UCL has also been awarded 12 Marie Curie Contracts under the first call for FP7 - all of which are expected to start in the spring of 2008.