The Annual Meeting 2023 connects the BREAKthrough Principal Investigators and Doctoral Candidates meet for the first time in person in Milan, Italy from 2-4 October 2023

The University of Milan in Italy, hosted the first annual meeting from October 2 to 4, 2023, organised as part of the EU-funded BREAKthrough MSCA Doctoral Network. This gathering marks the first-ever in-person meeting between the project’s Principal Investigators and the recently recruited Doctoral Candidates (DCs).

The event’s primary aim is to encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing among participants, with a focus on advancing research and industry-related expertise. The meeting kicked off with an overview of the BREAKthrough MSCA Doctoral Network from our Scientific Coordinator, Jean-François Collet, and scientific work package leaders, Joen Luirink and Antoni Torrens, providing participants with an understanding of the project’s objectives and research areas.

Each of the 11 newly recruited Doctoral Candidates (DCs) also had the opportunity to introduce themselves and their individual research projects within BREAKthrough.

A key element of the annual meetings were the Research- and Industry-Oriented Training Sessions which offered practical insights and training opportunities, equipping the DCs with the skills necessary for real-world application of their research.

Day two focused on scientific training from invited speakers and partners from the consortium on structure and dynamics of biological membranes presented by Natividad Ruiz (The Ohio State University), Joen Luirink (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and Michael Deghelt (Université catholique de Louvain). The DCs also heard success stories from four former Early Stage Researchers from the Innovative Training Network Train2Target who recently finalised their PhD projects and are now working in industry, academia and policy.

The final day of the meeting was dedicated to the BREAKthrough Industry Days to give the DCs insights to research and drug discovery from a business perspective. The day covered training on business development from Guy Hélin (Syngulon) and intellectual property rights from Beat Rauber (Roche Pharma) and a visit to our partner Naicons’s laboratories for further scientfic and technical training on natural products in drug discovery.

The EU-funded BREAKthrough MSCA Doctoral Network’s meeting at the University of Milan is the first step of many planned within the project to enhance collaboration and foster innovation in the academic and industry sectors and to ensure the DCs receive the support and training they need to effectivly implement their individual projects.