STIMULUS is a highly interdisciplinary project. Our research program necessitates incorporation of the entire value chain in the education and training of our ESRs to mirror the enourmous breadth of relevant academic research areas for the development and application of relevant prototypes. This mandates the entirely new concept pursued in STIMULUS, which goes far beyond existing training programmes and research networks and benefits from the excellent complementarity and intersectoral training experience afforded by the multidisciplinary consortium partners' expertise to provide both specific depth of competence and a broad overview.
Our objective is to train the next generation of European leaders in the research and development of healthcare-related products; to give the ESRs the tools they need to solve clinically relevant problems within the legal, ethical and regulatory framework required to bring new medical products to market and to equip them with the entrepreneurial and management skills they will need to take their future intellectual property from technology readiness level (TRL) 1 to TRL 9.
Our training programm has five complementary strands:
(i) Individual Research Projects. The research projects are carefully choosen to expose the ESRs to the cutting edge scientific research being carried out by the beneficiaries. The ESRs will be trained at world-leading research centres in relevant areas of materials science, chemistry, biology, engineering, and medicine. Each ESR will hone their skills internationally by disseminating scientific results through publications, conferences, the media and public outreach events.
(ii) Secondments and Visits. All ESRs will carry out at least one extended placement. To ensure that ESRs based in academic partners obtain meaningful exposure to the non-academic sector, they will all do extended non-academic placements with an SME, large enterprise or in one case government sector.
(iii) Training Events. Our network wide training events, in which both academic and non-academic partners play a key training role, are divided into:
a. Workshops - Intensive training courses focusing on transferrable skills.
b. Summer Schools - They combine scientific workshops (in Key Enabling Technologies such as biotechnology, microbiology, surface analysis, spectroscopy, materials synthesis and characterisation) with workshops on the clinical environment, healthcare policy, the road to market, and workshops in team-building and leadership skills. They also include invited talks by industrial and clinical partners, representatives from government policy departments, and world-leading scientific researchers.
d. Trainings for beneficiaries.
(iv) Project Meetings. They are the chance for the ESRs to present and discuss their research progress; they will contribute to build a coherent group-identity.
(v) Personalised Career Development. All ESRs, with advice from their supervisors and mentors, will write personal development plans (PDPs) and update them regularly throughout the project.