IRUN Collaboration of Immune Integrity

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From 27-28 April 2012 European biomedical researchers held an IRUN strategy meeting in Münster, Germany. The two-day event, hosted by Stephan Ludwig, Vice Rector of the University of Münster and an internationally recognised influenza virologist, also included fellow founding partners of this research initiative from the Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences (NCMLS), Radboud University Nijmegen and the Graduate School of Biomedical Science (BIOME), University of Duisburg-Essen. Not only was international consensus reached on the clear structure, themes and goals of the forthcoming scientific symposium on immune integrity which is to be held in Nijmegen in June 2013, but also the groundwork for a joint research proposal at the European Union level was decisively laid.

After initially exploring each university's innovative research landscape and doctoral training programmes, participants at this meeting were better able to understand their partners' aims and the challenges currently facing them. This led to deeper insight into finding ways of how best to proceed with the establishment of a mutual collaboration. "We want to breathe life into the IRUN network with common approaches to research in specialised, well-defined areas," said Stephan Ludwig, who was very pleased with the outcome of the talks.

The initiative stems from the successful IRUN Symposium on Immune Recognition of Pathogens and Tumours hosted by BIOME together with NCMLS in the Duisburg-Essen area in October last year. "We discovered that most IRUN partners have similar large research centres with fascinating thematic overlap and parallel graduate structures," explained Delia Cosgrove, BIOME's general coordinator, "and we envisaged realising a closer exchange between them on both the principal investigator and doctorate levels." "It made sense to draw on IRUN as an advantageous basis for building a life science network," added Sven Brandau, co-chairman, BIOME.

Collaborating scientists at Nijmegen are in agreement. "Together we have paved out a path towards strengthening cross-border Dutch-German collaborations in infection, immunity and immune regulation. NCMLS is delighted to be able to host the next symposium on immune integrity in June 2013, a valuable step in furthering our European ambitions," stated Adrian Cohen, NCMLS's scientific manager.

To date, significant interest in this venture has also been expressed by colleagues at the University of Glasgow, Jagiellonian University in Krakow and the University of Barcelona. It is hoped, in time, to include further affiliated IRUN centres as well. 

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