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SofinaBoël Fellowships : 6 new laureates !

Congratulations to the 2024 laureates of the SofinaBoël Fellowhips for research and/or training stay abroad sponsored by the the SofinaBoël Fund for Education and Talent via the Fondation Roi Baudoin !

5 of them are from the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, including 4 FNRS doctoral researchers !

They are Noémie Parrini, Antoine Gekière and Pierre Mathieu, all FNRS Research Fellows at UMONS, and Chiara Leu, FRIA Doctoral Grant at UCLouvain.

The other two candidates are : Maxime André from UNamur and Febe Vertriest from UGENT.

These 6 PhD students have been selected for their academic excellence, motivation, personality, and enthusiasm. They will have the chance to carry out their research in a foreign university for 6 months.

 

For more information on the laureates : https://www.frs-fnrs.be/docs/Reglement-et-documents/International/FRS-FNRS_Gustave_Boel_Sofina_Fellowships_Laureats.pdf

The SofinaBoël Fellowships are co-managed by the FNRS and the FWO.

SofinaBoel-2024


Congratulations to Dr Jingjing Zhu (Institut de Duve -UCLouvain), laureate of the Baillet Latour Biomedical Award 2024!

This year's Baillet Latour Biomedical Award goes to Doctor Jingjing Zhu (Institut de Duve - UCLouvain) for her research into the mechanisms of immunosuppression in cancer and the development of innovative new strategies in immunotherapy to improve efficacy.

Jingjing Zhu is a Doctor of Science and in 2013 obtained a PhD in Human Genetics at KU Leuven, Belgium.  She currently heads her own research group in the Immunity and Cancer Department at the Institut de Duve.

The title of the research project to be funded by the Award: “Exploring agonists of the alpha2-adrenergic receptor agonists as a new therapeutic approach for cancer immunotherapy”.

What is it all about?

Cancer immunotherapy boosts the body's immune defenses against cancer, and offers interesting clinical results, but remains limited to a sub-group of cancer patients. The discovery of new therapeutic targets should increase response rates and the clinical efficacy of immunotherapy. Recent research by Jingjing Zhu has highlighted the potent anti-tumor activity of α2-adrenergic receptor agonists  (α2-AR) agonists, formerly used to treat arterial hypertension. These molecules induce immune rejection of tumors, including those resistant to current immunotherapy approaches.

This research project aims to further explore the therapeutic potential of α2-AR receptor agonists. The aim is to identify the immune cells involved in the anti-tumor effect of α2-AR agonists, to explore the impact of these agonists on the tumor microenvironment and to understand their mechanism of action, in particular by studying the signaling pathways potentially involved, such as the cAMP-PKA pathway and the STING pathway.

The results of this research should make it possible to identify new molecules that will eventually enable clinical trials to validate new treatments likely to bring enormous hope to cancer patients for whom immunotherapy is currently ineffective. 

Jingjing Zhu, who was chosen by an international jury from 19 nominations, describes receiving the award as “a great honor”. “It inspires me to strive for excellence in my field. This research sheds light on cancer research. We bring hope to patients waiting for treatment", she declared. For her part, Queen Mathilde underlined the excellent level of medicine and research in Belgium. “The objectives are far from being achieved,” she lamented. “This annual support from the Baillet Latour Fund opens up new perspectives.”

Jingjing-Zhu


Scientific Awards AstraZeneca Foundation 2024 : call for applications

On the initiative of the AstraZeneca Foundation, the Fund for Scientific Research-FNRS and the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) will grant, in 2024, 3 Scientific Awards to researchers from postdoctoral level onwards who are affiliated to a Belgian university or a Belgian university hospital.

Scientific Awards AstraZeneca Foundation 2024

  • Reward established investigators on the basis of their previous work, with a perspective of future development in the same field.  
  • Amount: 25.000 €/Award. Half of the amount will be attributed to the laureates for personnal use, the other half will be attributed to the laureates' laboratory.

Eligible topics

One Award will be granted in each of the following topics:

  • New advances in diagnosis/ treatment of monogenic rare diseases 
  • New multidisciplinary approaches to tackle the obesity pandemic 
  • Personalized medicine in cardiovascular diseases

Eligible candidates

  • Candidates should be active in the above mentioned fields of research, with both ongoing work related to the focus of the Award and future prospects. 
  • Candidates must be individual scientist from postdoctoral level onwardswho are affiliated to a Belgian university or a Belgian university hospital at the deadline of the call. 
  • Candidates must have held a research position in Belgium for at least five years (in a consecutive or cumulated period).  
  • Candidates must have obtained their first PhD degree maximum 15 years before the date of the submission deadline (possibly extended in case of eligible career breaks). 
  • Candidates may not have received an Award for the work submitted with the same amount (or higher) in the last 3 years (at the deadline of the call).
  • Candidates can only apply to one AstraZeneca Award per call. 
  • Personnel of the AstraZeneca Foundation or affiliated to the AstraZeneca Foundation are not eligible for the Awards.

Call timeline

  • Opening of the call: April 25th, 2024
  • Deadline of the call: June 10th, 2024
  • Jury meeting: Fall 2024

How to apply?

Applications, written in English, must be sent electronically to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. on June 10th, 2024 at the latest.
 
The requested documents are :

  • The application form pertaining to the Award you wish to apply to (see below), duly completed and signed.
  • A detailled curriculum vitae.
  • A complete list of publications.

Regulations:

 Application forms:

 The list of the previous laureates is available here.

Questions about the Award should be adressed via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

AstraZeneca-2024


Conclusions of the conference "Unlocking the power of science communication"

On Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th March 2024, Science Europe, the FNRS and the FWO organised a high-level conference at the Palais des Académies in Brussels, entitled "Unlocking the power of science communication in research and policy-making". Held under the auspices of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the aim of the event was to highlight the importance of science communication in research processes and to raise awareness of the need to address it more formally in both research programmes and policy-making.

The event brought together more than 750 people - on site and online - scientists, communicators and representatives of European and international scientific institutions.

On the programme for the two days: two sessions bringing together speakers on crucial issues such as the role of science communication, its current priorities and the incentives and obstacles to science communication in Europe. More in-depth angles were tackled in 'Deep dives', on how to communicate science to policy-makers, respect for integrity and ethics and the different ways of integrating diversity, inclusion and equity into science communication, or what science communication can contribute to the fight against misinformation. In a final session, several representatives of institutions were invited to present - in just a few minutes - an example of good practice and successful initiatives in science communication. These sessions brought together more than 60 speakers from European and international scientific institutions.

To close these rich exchanges, the 3 General Secretaries presented their conclusions and a summary of what had been discussed over the 2 days. Here are a few extracts:

"Policy-makers need the contribution of the scientific community to develop a particular vision of society or to meet societal challenges", Véronique Halloin, Secretary General of the FNRS

"Scientists and the media must remind the public that science is a slow and iterative process aimed at converging towards a consensus by confronting different ideas", Hans Willems, Secretary General of the FWO

"One of the aims of this conference is to include these recommendations in the agenda of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union", Lidia Borrell-Damian, Secretary General of Science Europe

 

Strategic conclusions drawn from the Conference “Unlocking Power of Science Communication”

This position statement outlines specific recommendations addressed to European institutions, national governments, and research organisations. It emphasises the key messages of :

  1. The importance of integrating science communication within research and innovation systems, advocating for its prioritisation at national, European, and global levels.
  2. The necessity of enhancing researchers' communication skills, combatting misinformation, and promoting public engagement through innovative approaches.
  3. The vital role of science communication in demonstrating the value of research investments and fostering public trust in the scientific process.

Full strategic conclusions

Pictures

 

CclScEu


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