The new year has welcomed three important changes for the Pediatric Research Institute in management and scientific terms. The Board of Directors has appointed Luca Primavera as the new Chief Executive Officer. A manager with extensive experience, Primavera replaces Andrea Camporese, who has come to the end of his term and who has also been the President of the same institute.  

“Working for a research institute focused on children carries with it a responsibility that goes beyond the remit of the job”, explains Luca Primavera. “ IRP is a leading centre of excellence in Italy, with an extensive heritage of skills and knowledge that must be supported, developed and promoted. This is why, alongside Camporese and the president Parbonetti, we will immediately start working on defining a strategic growth plan for the institute”.

With the appointment of the new CEO we have added another piece of the puzzle so that we can look to the future with renewed confidence”, comments Andrea Camporese, who remains a director of IRP. “We are living through an incredibly difficult period of history, which at the same time is full of challenges and opportunities. We must seize the opportunities so that we can be protagonists and not simply spectators”.  

Innovative clinical and transnational research projects, of the“2021-2023 IRP Grants”, launched last September and reserved to researchers working within IRP,  were illustrated during the last meeting of the Board of Directors of the year. The 3.3 million Euro made available by the Città della Speranza Foundation have financed projects with a significant impact on prevention, diagnosis and cure of pediatric diseases.

Ten out of the 25 projects presented won approval. Two in the Starting Grant category, for a total of 415,580 Euro, which will allow two young researchers to start an independent research program. Four in the Consolidator Grant category for a total amount of 1,257,300 Euro, which will allow four Principal Investigators to consolidate their research program. Three in the Advanced Grant category, for a total 1,271,050 Euro, to support three Principal Investigators who are already established in their fields. One in the Moving Grant category, for a total of 100,000 Euro, which will allow a researcher, who has just completed their research doctorate, to spend a training period of 18 months at the UMC Utrecht in the Netherlands to acquire new technical skills. All the projects will begin in January 2021 and will last three years (two years for the Moving Grant).

 “This is a great result that consolidates the policy of the last three years”, comments IRP’s Scientific Director, Antonella Viola. “This grant program was very ambitious in terms of the size of the financing and the quality of the research. The assessment process, entrusted to external referees, revealed the great quality of our young researchers, who represent the future of this institute. The projects financed cover all aspects of childhood health, proving how IRP is increasingly becoming a centre that focuses on pediatric medicine with a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach”. 

For the “Città della Speranza” Foundation this represents an increase in investment compared to the previous period. For the 2019-2020 grant program we had allotted 2 million Euro.  

The increasingly high quality of IRP’s research has also been confirmed by the “Scientific Report 2017-2019”, which has just been published and is available on the institute’s website. Drawn up in English, it sets out the institute’s international role and the specific aspects of the six research areas developed in the three year period: pediatric oncology, transplant of staminal cells and gene therapy; regenerative medicine; nanomedicine; genetics and rare diseases; predictive medicine; immunology and neuroimmunology. The report also focuses on the laboratories and the instruments used for the research, with numbers on the scientific publications, the impact factor as well as the grants and prizes won by the researchers.