Launch of a new EU-funded training programme, ‘DevelopMed’



€1.32 million in EU funding to support training the next generation of research leaders in precision oncology

Launch of a new MSCA COFUND Programme, ‘DevelopMed’


9 December:  Today marks the official launch of a new Marie Sklodowska-Curie (MSCA) COFUND programme, ‘Developing the Next Generation of Research Leaders in Precision Oncology’ (DevelopMed). The MSCA COFUND programme was officially launched by Prof. Cecily Kelleher, College of Health and Agricultural Sciences and Prof. Orla Feely, VP for Research, Innovation and Impact at UCD. DevelopMed, which is coordinated by Systems Biology Ireland (SBI) in UCD, entails an EU investment of €1.32 million.

DevelopMed is a training programme which will support the development of high calibre research fellows who are at an early stage of their careers. Fellows will be conducting research throughout Ireland in Precision Oncology within the themes of Diagnostics, Drug Development and the Tumour Microenvironment. Institutions hosting fellows include University College Dublin, the National University of Ireland Galway, University College Cork and the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Recent figures from 2018 show that Europe bears 25% of the global cancer burden despite encompassing only 9% of the world population. With increasing life expectancy it is anticipated that cancer will soon become the leading cause of mortality within the European Union. Technological advancements in genomics, imaging, computational modelling and artificial intelligence provide a powerful toolkit for cancer researchers. However, the cancer research community is faced with a shortage in skilled scientists and clinicians able to deploy these technologies in the fight against cancer.

DevelopMed is a game-changing interdisciplinary training programme providing a cutting-edge research environment for the future world leaders in precision oncology. The prestigious fellowships will facilitate training through research to fully equip fellows with the skills and intersectoral competencies to enhance their career development prospects. Fellows will also partake in 3-6 month secondments at global research-performing organisations in industry, academic, clinical and charity settings.

Remarking on the new programme, the DevelopMed Programme Coordinator, Prof. Walter Kolch said: “We are thrilled with the opportunity to train the next generation of leaders in precision oncology research. DevelopMed provides a unique opportunity to develop excellent scientists and clinicians and to inspire in them an entrepreneurial, cross-disciplinary problem-solving mindset for tackling cancer.”

DevelopMed builds on a previous MSCA COFUND programme coordinated by SBI, ‘TopMed10’. This supported nine postdoctoral fellows in personalised medicine research projects, who have now moved on to prestigious positions in academia and industry. DevelopMed will also interact closely with Precision Oncology Ireland, a Science Foundation Ireland Strategic Partnership Programme with partners in the industry and charity sectors.

Supporting the initiative at the launch event, Prof. Orla Feely said: “It is great to see the success that has been delivered from TopMed10 in terms of training outstanding researchers. DevelopMed builds strategically on this previously successful programme and offers a wonderful opportunity for fellows. We can expect to see excellent researchers come through this programme and go on to enormously rewarding careers, delivering important impact in the exciting area of precision oncology.”

Prof. Kolch added: “We look forward to the many interactions between DevelopMed and Precision Oncology Ireland. This consortium of academics, industry and charity partners presents an incredible network for DevelopMed fellows and positions them to deliver extraordinary impact for Ireland and the EU.”



For further information, please contact:

Prof. Walter Kolch, SBI Director, at


Additional Information:

DevelopMed is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie (MSCA) COFUND programme titled ‘Developing the Next Generation of Research Leaders in Precision Oncology’. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 945425.

This communication reflects only the author's view and the Agency and the Commission are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

TopMed10, is a MSCA programme coordinated by SBI. Further information can be found on the programme website (