Foreword by the Coordinator

CMPRodrigues

Cecília Rodrigues, PhD
Coordinator of iMed.ULisboa

iMed.ULisboa is a multidisciplinar R&D Unit in Life and Health Sciences, recently created following the merge of two FCT funded R&D Units, iMed.UL and CPM/URIA at FF/ULisboa. Our mission is to develop novel treatments and benefit human health through top class research.

Our indicators and research outputs ensure that the research we do reflects the dynamics of health needs, namely in areas of ageing and ageing-related diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and neurodegeneration, and infection, while ensuring co-operation or concentration of effort to maximize the national and international impact of this research. In addition, our indicators reflect the needs of others who use our research, in public services and in industry, and respond to international research trends. Other research outputs reflect our investment in knowledge transfer opportunities that have accelerated the development of promising new technologies and products, as well as our investment in infrastructure and training that has been key to improve the productivity of our research.

iMed.ULisboa capabilities are built around a network of 15 research groups organized in four Program Areas (Drug Discovery, Design, Development, and Usage), spanning the drug discovery and development spectrum, with an emphasis on innovative, multidisciplinary, and collaborative research to develop medicines. The total number of researchers increased from 197 in 2008 to 285 in 2012. We currently host 94 integrated PhD researchers and 121 PhD students. In 2008-12, 71 PhD theses have been concluded under the supervision of iMed.ULisboa members. Our postgraduates are currently employed in academia (80%), and a growing percentage in industry (20%). We have recently embraced the PhD Program in Medicines and Pharmaceutical Sciences (3DU.UL).

We would like to emphasize the increasing number of scientific papers published in international peer-reviewed journals, many in high impact journals and with high citation numbers, such as Nature Biotechnology and Nature Reviews in Drug Discovery, representing position papers in areas of drug discovery and development. Overall, 76 papers were published in 2008 and 174 in 2012. International registered patents have been steadily increasing, reaching 14 in the 2008-12 period. Finally, iMed.ULisboa researchers continue to attract competitive external funds, both from contracts with government bodies and industry research contracts, reaching a total of 10.8 M€ in 2008-12.

In addition to the scientific findings and examples of knowledge transfer described above, other indicators and outputs support our vision and objectives for the future. We are involved in an expanding number of networks and synergies to ensure recognition of iMed.ULisboa value and contributions, aiming at returning the impact of fundamental research to society. We have supported research infrastructures, locally and at the global level, aiming at sustaining a robust and flourishing environment for world-class medicines research and training. We are also integrated in large consortium initiatives, such as the pan-European Education and Training Programs SafeSciMET and PharmaTrain for pharmaceutical medicines and drug safety funded by the European Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), bringing together top universities/institutes and pharmaceutical industry.

Another fundamental facet of iMed.ULisboa activities is to promote dialogue with the public. We have engaged with non-specialist audiences, including public events, school visits, appearances in the media and communicating research to health professionals, patient groups and policy-makers.

Our strategy for the future is built on our unique role in contributing to more effective ways for medicines development to succeed, from understanding fundamental questions, with specific life and health issues in mind, to effectively pursuing unrelenting disease problems in today’s society.