The Marie Actions Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) provide funding for all stages of a researcher's career - from doctoral students to more experienced researchers - and encourage international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility.

MSCA grants enable research organisations to host talented foreign researchers, regardless of age and nationality, and to create strategic partnerships with leading institutions in Europe and around the world. Several researchers from the University of Liège benefit from this funding.

EJD-FunMat (2014)

European Joint Doctorate in Functional Materials Research

2015-01-MC : Metal oxides heterostructured films with controlled architecture for enhanced photocatalytic properties (ULg, TUDA)
2015-03-MC : Transparent electrodes based on Ag nanowire networks: Fabrication, modeling and optimization of their properties (GINP, ULg)
2015-07-MC :Theoretical study of BCTZ and related piezoelectric compounds (UBX, ULg)
2015-12-MC : Synthesis of new copolymersbased on ethylene and bio-sourced monomers, and applications as compatibilisers for cellulose in polyolefin (ULg, KIT)

Contacts : Philippe GHOSEZ


Computational and functional annotation of genomic elements during development of the model vertebrate zebrafish

This network provides multi-disciplinary skills for a solid foundation in computational biology and developmental genomics. It aims to comprehensively annotate functional epigenetic and transcribed elements, decipher genomic codes of transcription, as well as coding and non-coding gene function during vertebrate development and enhance zebrafish as an attractive developmental, comparative genomic and disease model. The participants include major zebrafish genomics laboratories, eminent computational biologists and world-class genomics technology experts.

Contacts : Bernard PEERS


Isotopic labeling for drug innovation

The aims of the ISOTOPICS project are:
i) to train the next generation of European chemists with expertise in isotopic labeling andadvanced medicinal chemistry through a first-class taught and research training program combined with a highly interactive secondments plan;
ii) to develop innovative and general isotopic labeling chemistry and radiochemistry to streamline the synthesis of labeledsmall-molecule drugs and biologics;
iii) to work closely with the European pharmaceutical industry to apply the new labeling methods to drugs currently in development in order to provide solutions to the most pressing problems in drug innovation. This highly  interdisciplinary project is expected to have a profound beneficial impact on drug innovation in Europe by providing novel efficient techniques and new experts in the fields of labeling and medicinal chemistries.

Contacts : André LUXEN


People for tHe eurOpean bioENergy mIX

The development and adoption of renewable and sustainable forms of energy has become a major priority for Europe and is an important theme in H2020. Research into new, energy-related technologies to reduce Europe's reliance on nonrenewable fossil fuels is a critical need, and requires more newly qualified people in areas such as renewable-energy infrastructure management, new energy materialsand methods, as well as smart buildings and transport. Bio-energy is particularly relevant to the Work Programme, because it is at the crossroads of several key European policies from the Strategic Energy Technology Plan Roadmap on Education and Training (SET-Plan) to the European Bio-economy Strategy for European Food Safety and Nutrition Policy. So far, technological development has concentrated on using crops and wood for fuel, energy and industrial products.

Contacts : Andreas PFENNIG


Managing soil and groundwater impacts from agriculture for sustainable intensification

Agricultural production in Europe has significantly damaged soil and water resources, ecosystem biodiversity, socioeconomic well-being and contributed to climate change. Expected further intensification of production to ensure food safety for population growth must be sustainable to minimise future impacts and negative externalities. This ETN addresses these challenges by training 15 early stage researchers in cutting edge research skills and innovative approaches to manage soil and groundwater impacts from agriculture for sustainable intensification. It supports EU policy goals on food security, resource conservation, renewable energy and climate change, and the aims of the H2020 Societal Challenge 5 Work Programme for sustainable management of the environment and its resources.

Contacts : Serge BROUYÈRE


Atmospheric content of the most abundant of 12CH4 isotopologues from ground-based and satellite infrared solar observations and development of a methane isotopic GEOS-Chem module

The project wants to advance our knowledge of the abundance of the heavy isotopologues of methane, namely CH3D and 13CH4. A first objective will be to develop retrieval strategies allowing deriving column abundance time series for these species from ground-based high resolution solar infrared spectra. Satellite data will also support the investigations by providing high vertical resolution distributions on the global scale. The GEOS-Chem Chemistry Transport Model will be adapted and used to support the data interpretationin terms of absolute abundance, seasonal modulation and long-term trend.

Contacts : Emmanuel MAHIEU

ENIGMA (2016)

European training Network for In situ imaGing of dynaMic processes in heterogeneous  subsurfAce environments

The ENIGMA network will train a new generation of young researchers in the development of innovative sensors, field survey techniques and inverse modelling approaches. This will enhance our ability to understand and monitor dynamic subsurface processes that arekey to the protection and sustainable use of water resources. ENIGMA focuses mainly on critical zone observation, but the anticipated technological developments and scientific findings will also contribute to monitor and model the environmental footprint of an increasing range of subsurface activities, including large-scale water abstraction and storage, enhanced geothermal systems and subsurface waste and carbon storage. While many subsurface structure imaging methods are now mature and broadly used in research and practice, our ability to resolve and monitor subsurface fluxes and processes, including solute transport, heat transfer and biochemical reactions, is much more limited.

Contacts : Frédéric NGUYEN


Cosmopolitanism Revisited: Afro-European Mobilities in Contemporary African Diasporic Literatures

African literatures attest not only to the diversity of mobilities typical of the global era, but also to the fact that Europe continues to occupy a special place in the African literary imaginary. This study analyses the ways in which African Franco- and Anglophone diasporic literatures address the idea(l) of a cosmopolitan world citizenry in varied Afro-European contexts of mobility. In order to do so, the study critically revisits the concept of cosmopolitanism and, by drawing on theory and readings of African fiction,develops a new analytical pattern reflecting the privileged, practical and critical dimensions of the concept. The study's interdisciplinary theoretical framework consists of postcolonial theory, cosmopolitanism, and mobility studies, and it applies a method of contextual close-reading which is motivated by a transnational impulse.

Contacts : Bénédicte LEDENT

ProtectED (2016)

Complex Toxicant Mixtures Throughout the Food Chain

PROTECTED aims to develop expertise and protective capabilities against Endocrine Disruptors (EDs). EDs and their mixtures are a modern day health concern leading to failing ecological systems, poor agricultural production and health effects such as obesity, cancer and infertility. While analytical methods have advanced enormously, focus has been mainly on synthetic chemicals, overlooking emerging EDs and real-life multiple substance exposure. A new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early-stage researchers equipped with skills to assess and understand the real-life risk of complex mixtures of EDs and trained to convert resulting knowledge and ideas into accessible tools and services for the long-term control of potential ED risk is urgently needed. The PROTECTED Innovative Training Network [ITN] proposes a holistic approach by providing 15 individual, personalised research projects with exposure to scientific, innovative and entrepreneurial training mobility across the ITN.

Contacts : Marc MULLER


Characterization and monitoring of vigilance fluctuation in disorders of consciousness

This prospective exploratory study will aim at characterizing vigilance fluctuation in patients with disorders of consciousness (asdefined by a change in diurnal behavioral response over time) using neurophysiological parameters. We based this project on the assumption that changes at the Coma Recovery Scale-Revised scores (i.e., behavioral responsiveness) will be associated with a change inocular measures and EEG complexity, suggesting that some of these parameters could be used for monitoring vigilance in this population. We expect that this fluctuation will be particularly marked in patients with a minimally conscious state as compared with patients in an unresponsive wakefulness syndrome who will display a more stable pattern of response over the two days. This project aims tobetter understand the course of vigilance fluctuation in DOC and to develop an objective tool based on biomarkers that could be used at bedside to determine the best periods to assess and treat these patients.

Contacts : Steven LAUREYS


Exploring the potential applications of live viral vaccine encoded small-hairpin-RNAs in improving both vaccine safety and efficacy through RNA-interference and stimulation of the innate immune system

Live vaccines represent one of the most important and effective interventions against the spread of viral disease. As such, they are instrumental in addressing ongoing societal challenges in areas such as healthcare and global food security. However, their capacity to genetically recombine with wild type (WT) viruses circulating in the field remains a primary safety concern. Modifying live vaccine strains to reduce such occurrences would be highly desirable from a safety perspective. Also efforts to enhance the intrinsic potency of vaccine strains would be very beneficial. This would facilitate the use of much lower doses, while reducing the manufacturing resources required to meet market needs and the cost of vaccination programs.
With this in mind, this project will explore a novel strategy to improve both the safety and efficacy of live viral vaccine strains by modifying them to express small-hairpin-RNAs (shRNAs).


BioMedaqu (2017)

Aquaculture meets Biomedicine: Innovation in Skeletal Health research

Skeletal anomalies in farmed fish are a continuous problem for global aquaculture, affecting fish welfare, performance, and productquality. Aquaculture research has made considerable progress in reducing the incidence of deformities, but new species, intensifiedproduction, the damned for sterile fish, delicate early life stages and new fish feed ingredients are a continuous challenge. The useof zebrafish (Danio rerio) and medaka (Oryzias latipes) as models for research into human skeletal diseases such as osteoporosis,osteopetrosis and degenerative joint diseases is increasing, however their potential as models for farmed fish has not been sufficiently explored. These models offer the possibility to obtain deeper insights into the fundamental mechanisms that can cause skeletalmalformations in humans and in farmed fish. A framework for communication and scientific exchange between the aquaculture and biomedicalsectors would benefit all stakeholders and advance scientific understanding of the problem.

Contacts : Marc MULLER


A new era in personalised medicine: Radiomics as decision support tool for diagnostics and theragnostics in oncology

The high degree of tumour (genomic and phenotypic) heterogeneity influences patient's response to therapy and hampers wide deployment of personalised medicine for cancer treatment. Thus, there is an imperative need for new technologies that can accurately detect tumour heterogeneity, allow for patient stratification and assist clinicians in providing the right diagnosis and treatment for the right patient. PREDICT's mission is to address this huge unmet need. Radiomics, a newly emerging field that uses high-throughput extraction of large amounts of features from radiographic images, can boost the field of personalised medicine. The analysis of medicalimages taken as standard-of-care allows Radiomics to capture tumour heterogeneity and to generate "tumour-specific" signatures in a non-invasive way, without the need of assessing the patient's genetic profile. Thus, Radiomics, if linked to Big-data and decisionsupport systems (DSS), can be used as diagnostic tool for patient stratification...

Contacts : Roland HUSTINX


Disorders of Consciousness (DoC): enhancing the transfer of knowledge and professional skills on evidence-based interventions and validated technology for a better management of patients

The overall goal of DoCMA is to enhance international research on Disorders of Consciousness (DoC) by strengthen the collaborationamong project participants to leverage the shared scientific and expert know-how in the field.
The partnerships will be instrumental in addressing, therefore, the following specific objectives:
1) Consolidating of a joint international scientific and innovation programme for developing research projects on DoC diagnosis, evaluation and management of patients.
2) Establishing a standardised methodology, common approach and data sharing resources to enable data access and researchcollaborations concerning DoC.
3) Contributing to transfer of knowledge and quality of life of the individuals, by generating new services, technologies and/or products to respond to the society needs concerning DoC.
In short, this action will increase the scientific competence of the consortium members at the international level in DoC.

Contacts : Steven LAUREYS


Mind-wandering in everyday event comprehension: Memory, attention, and the brain

Mind-wandering (MW) is the occurrence of thoughts that are decoupled from immediate perceptual inputs and unrelated to the activityat hand. MW represents a substantial part of our daily thinking time and it has substantial negative effects on reading, memory, andthe ability to focus attention. At the same time, MW can enhance creativity and afford opportunities to plan for the future. However, most of what we currently know about MW comes from laboratory studies where the tasks from which the mind wanders are simple, boring, repetitive, and do not reflect the richness of daily life events. A limited body of research using experience sampling gives acoarse-grained characterization of MW in real-life situations, but this approach cannot measure the detailed behavioral structure of MW, or its neural correlates, to reveal underlying mechanisms. To overcome this barrier, we will leverage new advances in methods tostudy naturalistic event comprehension in the laboratory.

Contacts : Arnaud D'ARGEMBEAU


Machine Learning Frontiers in Precision Medicine

Healthcare is entering the digital era: More and more patient data, from the molecular level of genome sequences to the level of image phenotypes and health history, are available in digital form. Exploring this big health data promises to reveal new insights into disease mechanisms and therapy outcomes. Ultimately, the goal is to exploit these insights for Precision Medicine, which hopes to offer personalized preventive care and therapy selection for each patient.  
A technology with transformational potential in analysing this health data is Machine Learning. Machine Learning strives to discover new knowledge in form of statistical dependencies in large datasets. Mining health data is, however, not a simple direct application of established machine learning techniques. On the contrary, the emerging population-scale and ultra-high dimensionality of health data creates the need to develop Machine Learning algorithms that can successfully operate at this scale.

Contacts : Kristel VAN STEEN


PET Imaging of Alpha-Synuclein Fibril Formation

Too often, physicians have to rely on a trial and error strategy until the most effective treatment for an individual patient is identified. This leads to a critical loss of time, making the healthcare system ineffective and expensive. In respect to drug development, a high failure rate is apparent at all stages of development and ways to reduce this have high priority for the pharmaceutical industry. To this end, drug development and medicinal treatment need to be more personalized and molecular imaging techniques, in particular Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging, can be used to achieve this by
1) evaluating the effectiveness of new treatments emerging from the pharmaceutical industry,
2) improving the ability to diagnose diseases, and
3) aid tailoring the treatment basedon individual patient pathology.
A limiting factor to develop new effective PET imaging probes is the insufficient number of radiopharmaceutical scientists presently available.

Contacts : André LUXEN

More info on MSCA grants ?

Share this page