School of Pharmacy successes under the MSCA Innovative Training networks 2020 call

29 May 2020
Figure 1 Professor Caitriona O’Driscoll, Dr. Brendan Griffin and Dr. Cormac Gahan convene a virtual meeting to discuss planning of their new ITNs

There was considerable success for three staff members following the announcements this week of the successful Innovative Training Networks (ITN) awarded under the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme.

These new ITNs were successful at the evaluation stage announced this week and have now been invited to participate in preparing the grant agreements. The School of Pharmacy will be involved in establishing three new ITNs:


MSCA-ITN is a very prestigious and an extremely competitive programme -   1,509 eligible proposals were submitted for this funding call with 147 receiving funded.  Overall a total of six ITNs were awarded to coordinators in Ireland in 2020, so it is outstanding that 2 of these 6 will be led by staff within the School of Pharmacy, UCC!

Dr Cormac Gahan, APC Microbiome Ireland, School of Pharmacy  & School of Microbiology, UCC, will co-ordinate COL_RES.  The COL-RES ITN will investigate Colonization Resistance, i.e. the mechanisms by which the gut microbiota protects against serious foodborne pathogens (Salmonella, E. coli, Listeriaand Campylobacter) and will identify potential next-generation probiotics that can protect against multiple infectious agents. Food and water borne diseases cause 23 million illnesses in the European region with 5000 deaths per annum and represent an increasing challenge to the health of the EU and global population.  The network will also enhance training by providing industry secondments for early stage researchers, preparing them for problem solving and entrepreneurial roles in industry and society and underpinning cutting-edge research in infectious disease in the EU.  The COL-RES ITN is worth €2.2m in total and will provide opportunities for 8 PhD students across Europe including 3 PhD students to be supervised by Dr Cormac Gahan, Prof. Colin Hill and Dr Marcus Claesson in UCC.

Dr Brendan Griffin, School of Pharmacy, UCC and Funded Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland, will co-ordinate InPharma. The InPharma ITN is the first European Industrial Doctorate (EID) that aims to eliminate animals from the development of oral drug formulations. The InPharma consortium will bring together leading pharmaceutical scientists from 6 multi-national pharmaceutical companies, 5 world-class research institutions and 9 Partner Organisations, from complementary technology and service providers (SMEs) to additional pharma and regulatory representatives to create a research network involving 9 European countries. InPharma will advance the use of computational and in vitro assessment tools to establish a fully integrated, animal-free, end-to-end modelling approach to oral drug product development.  InPharma is worth a total of €3.5m and will provide opportunities for 11 PhD students (Early Stage Researchers ESRs) across Europe including 3 PhD students supervised by Dr Griffin.

Professor Caitriona O’Driscoll, School of Pharmacy, UCC is a beneficiary in Colon Targeting Network (COLOTAN). The overarching goal of COLOTAN is to improve targeting of drugs to the colon. This international training program, combining 10 countries, focuses on innovative technological and scientific developments across a range of interdisciplinary fields such as (physical, analytical and organic) chemistry, drug delivery, drug disposition, cell biology, gastroenterology, microbiology and modelling and simulation. The aim of this project will be achieved by a unique combination of intersectoral research training facilitated by 10 beneficiaries (7 academic and 3 non-academic) and 6 partner organisations. The COLOTAN consortium consists of leading research groups from universities and from innovative pharmaceutical companies. The COLOTAN ITN is worth €3.5 in total and will provide opportunities for 13 PhD students across Europe including 1 PhD student supervised by Prof. Caitriona O’Driscoll and Dr. Brendan Griffin.

Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme

School of Pharmacy


Cavanagh Pharmacy Building Room UG06 University College Cork