Approved the 2017 financial statements

Recruited new researchers, enhanced facilities, appointed the SAB, launched a website

On Monday 25th June, the participating partner’s meeting of the Istituto di Ricerca Pediatrica Città della Speranza took place. The 2017 financial statements were approved.

Andrea Camporese, CEO, reminded those present of the significant changes made to the statute last year, with the goal of becoming an international reference in its field.

The technical board has introduced a new governance model composed of a managing director, a scientific director, a scientific committee and a scientific advisory board. “In addition, to ensure that the Institute is able to concentrate exclusively on scientific activities, IRP has decided to leave the managing to Fondazione Città della Speranza”, he said.

Fondazione Città della Speranza and Fondazione Cariparo remain the main financing bodies of IRP’s activities. Both institutions have decided to continue to support IRP for the years to come.

“In the autumn, we are going to present a ‘Three Year Research Plan’ which will lay solid and clear bases, both scientifically and financially, for the objectives, expected results and investments required in facilities, equipment and personnel”, Camporese added.

This process has already begun with the acquisition of the technology necessary to achieve highly competitive research on the one hand, and the recruitment of four researchers on the other. Prof. Elisa Cimetta (Department of Industrial Engineering of the University of Padua) is the new principal investigator for an innovative project on the study of neuroblastoma, following the Fondazione Neuroblastoma’s presence within IRP.

There have also been important requests for affiliation to collaborate with the groups already working in the Institute: six researchers have been admitted in recent months, most of whom have international experience, different scientific competences, and are winners of prestigious grants. “IRP is starting to be attractive – noted the scientific director, Prof. Antonella Viola -. This is a source of pride and satisfaction for us”.

President Giuseppe Basso announced, for his part, the arrival of a world-famous scientist: Prof. Alessandra Biffi. She will be the new Director of the Pediatric Oncohematology Clinic as of September. “She is currently the director of the gene therapy program at the Dana-Farber / Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Gene therapy is one of the new therapies of the future and, thanks to the collaboration with IRP, she will find optimal development opportunities”, he commented.

In 2017, the scientific directing committee made its first internal announcements to finance innovative and high-quality scientific projects. Five projects have been approved for a total amount of five hundred thousand euros. One of them is being realised in collaboration with the Fondazione Penta Foundation, which has provided a co-financing of one hundred thousand euros.

An important innovation concerns the designation of the Scientific Advisory Board. Its role is to evaluate the activities of the center periodically. The SAB is composed of high-profile scientists: Prof. Andrea Biondi, director of the Pediatric Clinic of the University of Milan-Bicocca San Gerardo Hospital, Prof. Ilaria Capua, director of the “One Health” project at the University of Florida, and Prof. Lorenzo Moretta, former director of the Gaslini Institute of Genoa.

Interesting occasions for researchers are the internal, weekly seminars and the scientific annual retreat. This last event is an opportunity to discover all the lines of research, which are now collected in the Abstract Book. In May, the review “Journey to the Center of Science”, aimed at counteracting fake news, met with great interest on the part of the public and sold out.

Finally, to improve IRP’s international visibility, a new English website has been launched, dedicated to the scientific community.