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Alliance4Life members are committed to bridge the innovation gap in CEE region

Alliance4Life members are committed to bridge the innovation gap in CEE region

On 18th of March 2024, representatives of twelve Alliance4Life member institutions gathered in Brno to kick-off the new EU funded project A4L_BRIDGE. The four-year project will enable the partners to implement 16 work packages focusing on modernisation of careers in research, collaborations among partners and engagement with the industry, policy makers and patient organisations. The action is supported by 4 722 788 EUR from the Horizon Widera 2023 European Excellence Initiative and led by CEITEC Masaryk University. This time, Crowdhelix joined as a new partner to maximize the dissemination and exploitation of the project results. Crowdhelix is open innovation platform that forges links between an international network of excellent researchers and innovating companies so that they can plan, deliver, and exploit pioneering collaborative projects and value chains. 

The kick-off conference was opened by Vice Rector for Research and Doctoral Studies of Masaryk University Šárka Pospíšilová who emphasized that this project represents a significant milestone in ongoing efforts of the Masaryk University to advance research and innovation in Central and Eastern Europe. The Vice Rector thanked the partners for their lasting dedication and commitment that they showed during the last six years and introduced the history and context of the Alliance4Life foundation.  

Despite investments and dedicated schemes, the research and innovation performance of EU-13 countries in Central and Eastern Europe still lags behind their Western counterparts. This challenge stems from underdeveloped ecosystems, brain drain, fragmented collaboration, and limited integration into international networks. Recognising these obstacles, Alliance4Life emerged in 2017 as a strategic alliance of ten progressive life science institutions from nine countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Through the first Horizon 2020 funding, Alliance4Life fostered knowledge exchange, shared best practices, and laid the groundwork for a cultural transformation in research universities in the CEE region. In 2021, building on this success, the A4L_ACTIONS project expanded its vision and invited two leading universities from Romania and Bulgaria to join. Together, the twelve member institutes turned previously piloted ideas into concrete actions. Over the next three years, all eleven Widening countries from the CEE region worked together to implement the project goals and to narrow the innovation gap.  

Stefan Weiers, Head of Sector for Widening at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation highlighted in his speech that Alliance4Life has become a regional role model, catalysing positive institutional changes in universities and research institutes across Central and Eastern Europe. 

The Coordinator of the Alliance4Life, Ester Jarour, introduced the new A4L_BRIDGE project that will boost the competitiveness and innovation potential of the member institutions. This project will implement further institutional reforms that will lay the foundation for excellent science. Jarour highlighted that Alliance4Life's success is built on its unique ability to transform institutional cultures through open communication and sharing good practices. The partners are willing to share issues and problems and solve them together. The desired progress happens thanks to joint training, networking, and competence building. The voices and opinions of the research institutions from Central and Eastern Europe are heard in Brussels thanks to the collaborative policy papers produced by the Alliance4Life members.  

Alliance4Life is now planning to build upon their success and inspire positive changes beyond the member institutions and boost the translation of the health research results. The members will continue serving as a role model in institutional governance for progressive research institutions and implement further institutional reforms. Their goal is to create a more attractive environment for researchers and continue building competencies of research managers. The new project will enable a foundation of virtual research institute that will promote interactions between scientific communities in the member countries. The virtual research institute will be hosted on a new web platform that will provide shared E-learning and enable matchmaking of mentors and mentees and offer industry internships for doctoral candidates. The new web platform will also serve as central project gateway and databank of all deliverables that can be freely exploited by non-members, who wish to follow the good example of the Allaince4Life. 

About Alliance4Life

A4L´s members aim to contribute to the close innovation gap by improving institutional culture and implementing effective strategic management in the lower-performing countries of CEE. Their common mission is to promote and strengthen Europe-wide research excellence and its positive impact on society, human health, and quality of life. The members of A4L are Latvia – Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis; Czech Republic – CEITEC/ Masaryk University and International Clinical Research Center; Slovakia – Biomedical Research Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences; Poland – Medical University of Lodz; Croatia – School of Medicine, University of Zagreb; Estonia – University of Tartu; Lithuania – Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University; Slovenia – University of Ljubljana; Hungary – Semmelweis University; Bulgaria – Medical University of Sofia; Romania – University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Carol Davila" Bucharest.

A4L kick off 3 18.03.2024  A4L kick off 2 18.03.2024  

 

A4L kick off 1 18.03.2024

Source: Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, 09.04.2024.

 

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