The trinational Eucor Consortium is expanding its offer to international doctoral candidates with “EURIdoc”. The European Commission will fund the new doctoral programme for immunology, a project to be established by Eucor – The European Campus. A total of 28 researchers will complete their doctorates in the Upper Rhine region as part of the “Eucor Upper Rhine Immunology doctoral programme” (EURIdoc). The participating partners of the interdisciplinary programme include the Universities of Basel, Freiburg, Strasbourg, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Medical Center – University of Freiburg. The 6.8 million Euro project will run for five years, half of which will come from the European Union, whilst the remainder will be provided by participating partners.

The core topics of EURIdoc are haematopoiesis and development of the immune system, innate and adaptive immunity as well as immune-related diseases. The project also focuses on the most urgent immunological problem of our time, Covid-19, and plans to develop new therapies for SARS-CoV-2, among other things. An important and essential element of this work is the collaboration beyond the university sector that includes four clinics and ten industrial partners. The doctoral candidates will be given the opportunity to spend research periods in leading pharmaceutical companies as well as in small and medium-sized companies.

Prof. Dr. Andrea Schenker-Wicki, Rector at the University of Basel and President of Eucor – The European Campus says, “I am very pleased about our scientists’ success, which confirms how strongly we are positioned in the trinational Upper Rhine region in the life sciences. As a network, we are strengthening our strategic research focus on Personalised Health with this project.” The joint doctoral programme builds on a long-standing collaboration among immunologists in the Upper Rhine region.

EURIdoc receives funding from the EU research framework programme “Horizon 2020” in the Marie Skłodowska Curie “COFUND” funding line to promote the mobility of scientists. This is the second time that the European Commission has approved an application submitted by the European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) Eucor – The European Campus in the research programme “Horizon 2020.” In 2015, the five universities on the Upper Rhine founded the first EGTC supported only by universities.

Statements from the scientific leaders:

Prof. Dr. Christopher Mueller, CNRS / University of Strasbourg:
“Within the context of EURIdoc, we would like to further investigate the fundamentals of immunology with young scientists from all over the world, but also work on its applications. In the long term, these may lead to new drugs, vaccines or therapies, for example for cancer, viral or autoimmune diseases.”

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schamel, University of Freiburg:
“As the Upper Rhine Immunology (URI) group, we have been networking since 2017. We organize annual clinical workshops and scientific meetings. In addition to a Seed Money* project aiming at cross-border connection among master’s programmes, EURIdoc now forms another building block of collaboration and education in immunology in the Upper Rhine region.”
*Seed Money is a dedicated funding instrument of Eucor – The European Campus to financially support cross-border projects.

Prof. Dr. Gennaro De Libero, University of Basel:
“Doctoral candidates will benefit from industry involvement in the form of mentorships, research visits and training. Industry leaders will also contribute to the course programme with, for example, seminars on intellectual property or entrepreneurship.”