In September, work will start on the international projects of the digitalised bioengineering research centre and the personalised medicine research centre, for which University of Tartu researchers have received the largest-ever research funding in Estonia. At the opening event on 11 September in the university’s main building, representatives of the European Commission and the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research will speak about their expectations for the projects. Researchers from the University of Tartu and international partner institutions will talk about the substantive work plans of the consortia.
At the beginning of 2023, the international consortia led by University of Tartu researchers received a total of €60 million from the European Commission and the Estonian government to develop two research centres in Estonia over the next six years. In addition to research, the centres will boost the development of the digitalised bioindustry, as well as start-ups developing data-driven healthcare services.
The projects are funded by the Teaming for Excellence funding action under Horizon Europe, the European Commission’s framework programme for research and innovation. The programme supports European research institutions’ collaborative projects that aim to carry out cutting-edge research and better integrate it into society and the economy.
Both the digitalised bioengineering (DigiBio) and personalised medicine (TeamPerMed) projects will run for six years.
13:00–13:30 Registration with light lunch
13:30 Introduction to joint high-level kick-off and welcome speeches
13:35–13:45 Toomas Asser, Rector of the University of Tartu
13:45–13:55 Kristina Kallas, Minister of Education and Research (video)
13:55–14:05 Signe Ratso, Deputy Director General – Directorate-General "Research and Innovation"
14:05–14:20 Stefan Weiers, Widening, ERA and Research Infrastructure Programming, Head of Sector, Directorate General for Research and Innovation
14:20–14:35 Federica Roffi, Deputy Head of Unit, Research Executive Agency
15:05–15:30 Prof. Mart Loog, Project coordinator of DIGIBIO, "DIGIBIO: Estonian-Danish joint effort to build a Centre for Digitalisation of Bioengineering for the growth of Biotech sector in the Baltic Sea region"
15:30–15:55 Prof. Mait Metspalu, Project coordinator of TeamPerMed, "TeamPerMed – propelling personalized medicine in Estonia and beyond"
15:55–16:20 Samuli Ripatti, Director of the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, University of Helsinki, "Opportunities for risk-based disease prevention and early detection strategies using genetic profiling"
16:20–16:45 Lars Keld Nielsen, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, DTU, "The Automated Scientist: the emergence of AI-guided Biofoundries"
17:05–18:05 Panel: Evolutionary vs Punctuated Development of Research and Innovation. Widening program as a versatile toolbox for upgrading scientific excellence in Widening countries. What can be done to accelerate the path to consistent EU-wide scientific excellence?
Moderator: Mari Moora, Vice Rector for Research
Stefan Weiers (HoS, DG RTD), Prof. Lars Keld Nielsen, Renno Veinthal, Prof. Mart Loog, Prof. Mait Metspalu
18:05–18:15 Closing remarks
Mari Moora, Vice Rector for Research; Stefan Weiers, Head of Sector, EC Directorate General for Research and Innovation
Signe Ratso is Deputy Director-General and a member of the Management Board of the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission. She is Chief negotiator, responsible for negotiations of association agreements with third countries associated and future potential associated countries to the EU R&I programmes Horizon Europe and Euratom, association policy and its interlinkages with EU R&I international cooperation strategy. She is also responsible for Open Innovation and citizens’ engagement and social innovation in research and innovation policy.
Stefan Weiers is working with the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation as the Head of Sector ‘Widening, ERA and Research Infrastructure Programming’ within ERA & Innovation. He has 20 years of experience in European research co-operation, including the SME programme, regional innovation, environmental and space research.
Federica Roffi has been working in Research and Innovation related roles for over 20 years.Since 2015 she has been working as Deputy Head of Unit on the H2020 Science with and for Society work programme and on the Widening actions, in particular on Teaming, Twinning and ERA Chairs.
Dr Samuli Ripatti is the Professor of Biometry at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine. He is an internationally recognized and distinguished researcher in human genetics whose educational background is in statistics. Throughout his career, his research focus has been on applying and developing biostatistical methods to address scientific questions in medical and population genetics. Samuli Ripatti started as the Vice Director of the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) in 2019. As of 1 May 2023, he has been appointed the Director of FIMM.
Prof Nielsen is Professor and Chair of Biological Engineering at The University of Queensland, Senior Group Leader at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology (AIBN), and Scientific Director at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, DTU, Denmark. His core research interest is the modelling of cellular metabolism and his team has made many contributions to the formulation and use of genome-scale models. Prof Nielsen has led the development of biofoundries in Australia (IDEA Bio) and Denmark (NNF Center for Biosustainability) and is on the executive committee of the Global Biofoundry Alliance.