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LifeSpan Network

Realisation

A collaborative platform for excellent research

A total of seventeen excellent groups and SMEs from ten different countries including more than 130 researchers established a joint programme of activities. The work of the network covered more than ten human cohorts and a dozen different animal models. The programme was divided into four axes: integration, common research, spreading of excellence and consortium management. After assessing the results, the LifeSpan partners feel proud.

LifeSpan integrated researchers in development and ageing and combined observational studies in humans with experimentation in model organisms. To this end, LifeSpan created a collaborative platfom that joined partners with excellent track records in their own field. Binding groups together via a broad common hypothesis has resulted in joint scientific activities, multiple PhD trajectories, three new group leaders and two new collaborative spin-off projects. LifeSpan was also succesfull in promoting female and male researchers alike, and had a high representation of women throughout the Network.

LifeSpan's scientific output was impressive and resulted in more than 250 publications in scientific journals. Over 13% of these publications were published in high impact journals. Together with a number of start-up companies LifeSpan explored several commercial possibilitiesfor technology platforms.

Also, LifeSpan succeeded in reaching out to the general public with articles in popular non-academic journals and newspapers, contributions to radio and television programmes, the LifeSpan movie 'Senex' and the teaching material 'I want to live forever'.

A key to the many succesfull projects and collaborations within the LifeSpan framework was the allocation of a part of the overall funding into a common grant system. All partners could profit from this financial resource. The peer-reviewed allotment generated a substantial flexibility to the financial structure, allowing partners to pursue new leads and follow-up on interesting findings that had not been anticipated in advance. In hindsight, setting a part of the overall budget aside for future purposes was a major contributor to the overall success of teh Network.