The I-DireCT consortium members met on March 5 and 6, 2019, to discuss the work plan and next steps after the official start of the project on January 1, 2019.
The participants used the meeting at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) to present the 10 ESR (early stage researchers) positions focusing on the expected tasks and outputs of the PhD candidates. In addition, the time plan for each ESR candidate was presented and critical steps and overlaps identified.
I-DireCT coordinator Prof. Edwin Bremer welcomed in particular the two External Advisory Board Members, Dr Camilo Colaço (ImmBio, Cambridge, UK) and Prof. Andre Skirtach (University of Gent, Belgium). Both were able to participate in the joint welcoming dinner and in the full project meeting., They gave very valuable input to the consortium from an outsider perspective and highlighted the very positive atmosphere within the project. Both were impressed by the strength of the consortium and the network which is already in place and which will facilitate the dissemination of the project. However, the advisors also pointed out some challenges, like the tight time plan. Dr Colaço and Prof Skirtach encouraged the consortium to establish good relationships with the ESRs and to support the individual careers even after the project.
In a dedicated session, the participants further discussed the project outreach and communication, e.g. by identifying possible channels to disseminate I-DireCT to the different target audiences.
In the next few months, the focus of the I-DireCT work will be on the recruitment of the PhD candidates and the start of the different ESR projects. The next meeting is planned for December 2019 and will take place together with the Early Stage Researchers.