INsTRuCT aims to provide 15 ESR with a comprehensive understanding of the process for developing cell-based medicinal products, which is in high-demand from the commercial sector but not delivered by other PhD training programs. By participating in the INsTRuCT program, ESR will gain knowledge and experience in basic immunological research, preclinical pharmacological development, sterile manufacturing processes, analytical methods, quality management, regulatory affairs, essential clinical methods (eg. leucapheresis), clinical trial design, healthcare economics, ethics and marketing. ESRs will learn about the requirements and concerns of pharmaceutical industry, particularly about the route of a drug product to market and the basics of intellectual property law.
The interaction of biologists, pharmacists, physician-scientists and engineers in the INsTRuCT program is central to its interdisciplinary ethos and will challenge ESR to explore many complex issues in bench-to-bedside research from different perspectives. Graduates of INsTRuCT will be well-prepared to enter the workplace with an innovative, translational view of science that will accelerate future research and commercial development of MRC-based therapies across Europe. Hence, INsTRuCT will deliver a truly international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary training program. ESR will graduate from INsTRuCT with an excellent and exclusive research qualification and a comprehensive overview of CBMP development, suiting them for leadership roles in academia, industry or regulatory agencies. This innovative training program represents the first of its kind worldwide. Doctoral degree projects offered by INsTRuCT primarily relate to one of four scientific workpackages (WP1-4) and all students will be required to participate in WP5, which teaches generic research and transferrable skills. Doctoral degrees will be awarded through host institutions or through affiliated local universities. All beneficiaries are committed to prolonging ESR positions using alternative funding if required by national standards, or in the unlikely event any ESR is unable to complete their studies within INsTRuCT’s 36-month funding period. A formal qualification will be awarded by the coordinating institution on the basis of coursework and a formal viva voce examination to recognise the broader education received by INsTRuCT students.
Teaching transferrable and communication skills is a high priority for INsTRuCT because these will be essential to ESR when entering the workplace. INsTRuCT offers ESR opportunities at local and network levels to learn transferrable and communication skills, including: (i) working in multidisciplinary projects; (ii) data management; (iii) understanding business-related possibilities of research; (iv) medical ethics and scientific integrity; (v) writing scientific papers; (v) making career decisions; and (vi) grant-writing and fund-raising. Network-wide skills training will be delivered through Training Schools and Workshops. Skills training will also be delivered through close personal mentoring of ESR by senior supervisors, local structured training courses, intersectoral secondments and attending international research schools and conferences. Through networking activities and secondment between INsTRuCT partners, ESR will learn the critical importance of strong collaborations between groups from different European member states.
WP5 (Educational Standards) is led by Prof. Marieke van Ham of the Sanquin Blood Supply and University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.