Würzburg, December 17, 2021 – Bavaria is funding the training of future leaders in RNA-based medicine as part of its Elite Network initiative. Over an initial period of four years, the Free State will provide more than three million euros to establish the new PhD program "Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine" under the auspices of Julius Maximilian University (JMU) Würzburg. Cooperating partners are the University of Regensburg and, in Munich, the Technical University and Ludwig Maximilian University. The spokesperson is Jörg Vogel, Director of the Institute for Molecular Infection Biology (IMIB) at JMU and the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI).
The Covid pandemic has brought a biomolecule into the public eye that was previously little known to the mainstream audience. Ribonucleic acid – RNA for short – quickly became the beacon of hope in the fight against the pandemic. And indeed, the first RNA-based vaccines were developed and approved within a very short time.
Leading the field of RNA research
This success is based on years of intensive basic research. Bavaria is a leader in RNA research. In order to secure and expand this position, to promote the transfer to medical applications and to attract the best young international scientists to Bavaria, the Free State is now funding the new international PhD program "Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine".
As part of its "Bavarian Elite Network" initiative (Elitenetzwerk Bayern), it is providing approximately 3.1 million euros for an initial period of four years. An additional four-year funding phase may follow.
Advanced training for the world's best young scientists
Jörg Vogel, Director of the Institute for Molecular Infection Biology (IMIB) at JMU and the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI) and also spokesperson for the new program, explains the concept: "Our goal is to recruit the world's best PhD students for the future of RNA precision medicine. International visibility and networking, extracurricular activities and insights into industry are among the parameters of our integrative approach, which to our knowledge is unique."
Together with the sites involved in the program, the University of Regensburg as well as the Technical University of Munich and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the program aims to train a future generation of leaders in RNA-based medicine on an international level. The goal is to prepare outstanding young scientific talents for careers in research and industry, but also as entrepreneurs or political decision-makers.