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MedUni Vienna takes over research coordination role for international medical imaging network

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(Vienna, 12 May 2017) MedUni Vienna is taking over the research coordination role for the "HYBRID" Innovative Training Network, an international training programme for young researchers in the field of molecular imaging. The large-scale project that runs over several years is funded under the EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020.

Innovative Training Network ITN is a special funding programme to fund networks that train young researchers. The Training Network "HYBRID" (Healthcare Yearns for Bright Researchers for Imaging Data, MSCA-ITN-ETN 764458), focuses on hybrid molecular imaging and PET/MRI in particular. The programme consists of three work packages: multi-centre data collection, multi-parametric data processing and clinical translation of new diagnostic approaches. Under this programme, standardised quantitative evaluation procedures for multi-parametric imaging will be developed over the next four years and – in combination with additional biomarker information (e.g. histology, liquid biopsy) – will go beyond purely visual assessment of image data. This project is particularly characterised by the multi-centre approach and the preferred use of integrated, hybrid imaging techniques. Ultimately, it is hoped that the findings from the various research areas will lead to improved diagnostic techniques (including predictive models; keyword "RadiomicsPlus") and new approaches for image-based treatments.

Figure: Personalized medicine through HYBRID: Patients with suspected disease undergo standardized examination protocols for the collection of biomarker information (image and non-image based information). Data are processed and interpreted prior to making a diagnosis. Decision models are supported by machine learning algorithms. In addition, diagnostic and complementary information is pooled and used for a population-based analysis and subsequent pre-selection of clinical patients for individual imaging and/or therapy options. HYBRID’s entangled research-based work packages, WP1-3, cover novel aspects of data collection, data processing and clinical translation.

The EU funding allocation is around 4 million euros for 15 PhD posts and 11 centres (UK, DK, DE, AT, FR, BE, NL). Two PhD posts will be located within MedUni Vienna, in the Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering. This network incorporates a total of 23 international partners, including the IAEA and companies in Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, France and the UK.

MedUni Vienna is taking over the research coordination role. Coordinator Thomas Beyer, Professor of Physics of Medical Imaging at MedUni Vienna's Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering is delighted to receive the grant from the largest EU-wide research funding programme: "We are amazed to have succeeded with our very first application and this underscores and reinforces the status of the multi-modal imaging landscape and provides us with even more opportunity to advance the subject of molecular imaging on an international level." He will be supported by Ivo Rausch from the same Center. The Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen will be responsible for management coordination of the project (Knowledge Management Office of the Institute of Medical Genetics and Applied Genomics, Mrs Carola Reinhard). Given the pre-existing links between the partner organisations shown in Fig. 2, we can look forward to highly promising ongoing collaboration between all those involved in this project.

Horizon 2020
Horizon 2020 is the largest EU funding programme for research and innovation, tendered by the European Commission for a term running from 2014 to 2020. Around 75 billion euros have been allocated to fund research and innovation within the EU between 2014 and 2020. The forms of financing and support range from basic research through to innovative product development. Horizon 2020 is primarily targeted at individual researchers, companies and joint ventures between science and industry.