EDGE (Training network providing cutting-EDGE knowlEDGE on Herpes Virology and Immunology) is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network for early stage researchers (ESRs) funded by the European Commission under the H2020 Programme, the EU framework programme for research and innovation. EDGE will provide a comprehensive and cross-disciplinary structured curriculum for doctoral students in the fields of virology and immunology. Key research aims of EDGE are to improve the basic understanding of the interactions between herpesviruses and host cells and to uncover implications for the clinical outcome of infections as well as development of vaccines. While each ESR will be based in a host institution, there will be extensive interactions between laboratories involved, and all positions involve secondments in other laboratories of the network, which also includes a theoretical training program.
EDGE consists of 9 beneficiaries and 2 partner organizations from 5 countries, bringing a balanced portfolio of expertise in-depth knowledge of herpes virology and immunology. The principal goal of EDGE is to train a new generation of researchers to become capable of addressing the great challenges associated with herpesvirus infections. Herpesviruses are widely spread: most individuals carry multiple herpesviruses that can cause severe diseases, especially in children, immunocompromised individuals, and the elderly. There are currently almost no licensed vaccines against herpesvirus infections and current treatments are also not satisfactory. With new insights into the molecular basis for diseases caused by immunodeficiency, and with the increasing numbers of elderly in Europe, there is a current unmet demand for improved treatments of herpesvirus infections. Recent advances in the understanding of herpesvirus-host interactions therefore call for education of a new generation of scientists with strong research skills, advanced insights into disease mechanisms, and an understanding of how industry brings innovative research into the market. EDGE will be an interactive education program for ESRs in leading European laboratories, academic hospitals, and biotech companies. The focus will be on the virology and immunology of herpesvirus infections in the context of basic research as well as application of research-acquired knowledge. EDGE will prepare the ESRs to manage goal-oriented interactions between academic science, the clinics, and the biotech industry. The ESRs will acquire a broad theoretical and methodological expertise involving several sectors to obtain the skills required for overcoming the cultural gaps From Bench to Bedside and From Discovery to Innovation. The ESRs will be ideally trained to translate cutting-edge discoveries to novel products and to innovative treatment serving the European people, and hence to improve health care, to handle present and emerging health challenges, and to foster the European biopharmaceutical industry sector.