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VAMPIRE research led by Birmingham University awarded 50th European Industrial Doctorate grant of €1.5m
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The European Commission has awarded its 50th European Industrial Doctorate (EID) grant of €1.5 million (£1.3m) for research into new antibodies that will destroy a tumour's blood vessels and eradicate the tumour.

The so-called VAMPIRE project ('Vascular Antibody-Mediated Pharmaceutically Induced tumour Resection') is led by the University of Birmingham and SomantiX, a Dutch biotech company based in Utrecht.

The research is supported by associated European universities, companies and research centres including Swiss science and technology university ETH Zurich and the charity Cancer Research UK.

The EID scheme is targeted at projects which bring together business and academic partners in two countries.

    VAMPIRE research led by Birmingham University awarded 50th European Industrial Doctorate grant of €1.5m

    Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: "I am delighted that we have reached this milestone with the European Industrial Doctorate – and there could surely be no better example of the kind of cross-sector collaboration we wish to encourage than this partnership to fight cancer. The EID is an excellent illustration of the added value that EU investment can bring for excellence, innovation and competitiveness by building bridges between academia, research and business."

    Professor Roy Bicknell, who will lead the project from Birmingham, said: "The European Industrial Doctorate serves a great need in society. It enables medically and economically important research to go forward, while at the same time training the next generation of leading industrial scientists."

    The European Industrial Doctorate was launched as a pilot project in 2012 as part of the Marie Curie Actions (MCA), the European research fellowship programme. The EID scheme provides PhD candidates with professional experience in excellent research projects, as well as attracts more young people into scientific careers.

    To be eligible for funding, a project must bring together one business and one academic partner from two countries. The three-year EID grant enables researchers to alternate between working in both countries, in university laboratories and business premises, under the mentorship of supervisors from the private sector and the university. The training incorporates non-scientific skills such as entrepreneurship, communication and intellectual property management in the curriculum.

    The EID grants will be maintained under the renamed Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions as part of the new EU Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation, which starts in January next year.


    The Marie Curie Actions promote research careers in Europe with funding managed by the European Commission. By the end of 2013, Marie Curie Actions will have supported 60,000 researchers of nearly 130 different nationalities since 1996. More than half of the research supported through the programme is dedicated to societal challenges such as health, climate change and energy scarcity.

    Thirty seven per cent of the researchers funded through the programme are women and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) account for more than half of all participating businesses.

    The budget for the Marie Curie Actions is €4.7 billion (£4.08bn) in 2007-2013.

    The new Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) will become the main EU programme to support excellent doctoral training. In 2014-2020, the MSCA will provide grants for 25,000 PhD researchers in the form of European Industrial Doctorates, joint doctorates (involving several universities), and other high-quality research training.

    The MSCA will place emphasis on training which combines research with other skills that maximise employability such as management, entrepreneurship and communication expertise.

    The European Parliament and EU member states recently agreed the MSCA will account for 8 per cent of the overall Horizon 2020 budget. However, this decision still needs to be formally adopted by the European institutions.

    Media contacts for VAMPIRE project

    Birmingham University
    Kara Bradley - Media Relations Manager (Health Science)
    Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 5134 / Mobile +44 (0)7789 921163

    Laurens van der Flier, PhD
    Telephone: +31 (0) 30-7600976 / Mobile: +31 (0) 6-41249375


    For more information, please contact the London press office on 020 7973 1971.
    Please note: all amounts expressed in sterling are for information purposes only.

    Last update: 19/11/2013  |Top