Gravitation grant for ICI

Het Institute for Chemical Immunology (ICI), in which leading scientists of Dutch universities and research institutes collaborate in the fields of immunology and chemistry (chemical immunology), is awarded with a Gravitation grant of 27,6 million euro of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands.

Immune system

In the Netherlands many researchers are active in immunology research, because many diseases affect our immune system. Our immune system protects us from infectious diseases and cancer. If the system does not work properly, this can lead to infections, cancer, or other diseases. But if the immune system accidentally becomes too active, auto-immune diseases such and rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis can be the result.

‘Understanding each other'

'Combining chemistry with immunology is a benefit for both disciplines', says the immunologist Sjaak Neefjes, one of the main applicants of the grant for the consortium. ‘If we want to translate the knowledge obtained in immunological research to real solutions, drugs will have to be developed. That is only possible with chemistry, but both disciplines will have to understand each other well and that is one of the goals of the ICI consortium. This combination of research areas can give rise to new and original solutions for autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cancer.’

Briding the gap

In the ICI PhD students in the fields of immunology and chemistry will do research together and will be trained in a multidisciplinary educational programme. ‘This is important to bridge the gap between the gap between the disciplines and ensure that researchers “speak the same language”’, says Neefjes.

Main applicant: Prof. dr. J.J.C. Neefjes (Netherlands Cancer Institute and Leiden University) 
Co-applicants:: Prof. dr. C.G. Figdor (UMC St Radboud), prof. dr. P. Gros (Utrecht University), prof. dr. A.J.R. Heck (Utrecht University), prof. dr. H.S. Overkleeft (Leiden University) en prof. dr. T.N.M. Schumacher (Netherlands Cancer Institute).

Gravitation programme

With the Gravitation programme, the Dutch Government aims to encourage research by consortia of top researchers in the Netherlands. Researchers must be carrying out innovative and influential research in their field. Gravitation provides direct government research funding.