Our mission

The mission of I-DireCT is to provide training and carry out breakthrough research on the rapidly expanding and high impact field of cancer immunotherapy in a carefully integrated academic and inter-sectoral programme.

I-DireCT is a Marie Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Union within the H2020 Programme. The project is an European Industrial Doctorate (EID) Programme which aims to especially promote the exchange between the academic and the non-academic sector. I-DireCT is a training network aiming to develop next-generation immunotherapeutics and to deliver a set of early stage researchers uniquely qualified for a career in academia and/or industry.

Current immunomodulatory antibodies that target pivotal immune checkpoints that remove the brake from T cell immunity have revolutionized the field of oncology. Further, antibodies that provide co-stimulation to T cells also have entered clinical trials. However, off-tumor activity limits their application. The objective of I-DireCT is to address this issue by

  1. developing innovative bispecific antibodies and immunocytokines with tumor-restricted immunostimulatory effects and
  2. developing optimized delivery systems to ensure optimal timed release of bio-active drug.

Hereto, I-DireCT combines state-of-the-art industrial design of nanotech-based drug formulations with innovative academic and industrial immunotherapeutic concepts into the next-generation of cancer immunotherapeutics. At the core of I-DireCT is its training objective to offer a cutting-edge multidisciplinary training programme that will enable outstanding young scientists to generate breakthrough ideas and assume leading positions in academia and industry. This training programme includes an array of disciplines, ranging from biomedical sciences (e.g. immunology, antibody engineering) and physical sciences (e.g. chemistry, material science) to drug design & development. Industrial partners are central to the programme and provide pivotal inter-sectoral expertise on how to translate scientific discoveries into commercial reality, with each ESR being appointed at an inter-sectoral partner for 18 months, as well as through additional secondments. Further, I-DireCT will enable long-term multi-disciplinary research and fosters bilateral co-operations between academia and industry.