All ESRs will take part in a doctoral study programme, specific to the hosting organisations, and coordinated by the local University. Each ESR will be tutored and mentored by an individual consulting committee (ICC) consisting of a mentor, typically the local coordinator, 1 or 2 local advisors and two advisors from the Consortium, possibly from other areas (e.g. from industry and clinics in the case of an academic PhD student). The ICC will take care of the ESRs track towards the PhD title, subject to the positive fulfilment of both academic and research requirements.

MUSICA foresees the recruitment of 15 ESRs for 36 months. In order to allow flexibility of starting dates while maintaining the overlap needed for close cooperation, the project will last for 48 months.

Training activities include: general and specialized courses at the universities, hands-on practical courses at the hospitals, secondment periods and Summer Schools. The various training activities will be monitored by a Credit Points system. For each attended course/summer school, the fellows will obtain 5 Credit Points, according to the ECTS system. Each ESR will have to collect at least 40 ECTS credits in the three-year programme.

General courses

Each university and company has its own training programme which will be accessible to the enrolled ESRs. These activities are mainly dedicated to local ESRs. In the case of universities they consist of one or two-hour lectures per week, and offer an overview of biomedical research topics and tools. For companies training is tailored to the specific company profile.

Specialized courses

Partners will jointly organize specific advanced specialized courses for MUSICA within the framework of their respective PhD Schools, accessible to all the recruited ESRs as well as to other PhD students outside the MUSICA network. These courses will be typically offered in the form of “Compact Courses” focused on MUSICA specific topics and delivered typically over 1 or 2 weeks. All courses will be delivered in English and open to all scientists willing to attend them.

Also external experts from outside the Consortium will be invited to give specific lectures in the advanced compact courses, with the objective of complementing the know-how of ESRs with respect to the consortium competences. Invited experts may include M. Slepian (U Arizona), J. Cooper-White (U Queensland), D. Steinmann (U Toronto), F. Auricchio (U Pavia), G. Holzapfel (TU Graz), M. Buehler (MIT), A. Khademhosseini (Harvard), G. Rakhorst (UMC Groningen). This will permit to further enhance the multidisciplinarity of the MUSICA project contributing to the multifaceted curricula offered by MUSICA.

Industries will contribute by giving lectures on R&D and on soft skills to bridge the gap between new basic discoveries and application (new products and processes) through IPR protection, exploitation of results, management of the financed projects, quality assurance and regulatory, business development, ethical issues for the in vivo tests, creation of spin-off, incubators, etc.

Hands-on Practical Courses

The hospitals acting as partners typically organize hands-on practical courses to introduce clinicians to the use of minimally invasive technologies. ESRs will have the possibility to attend these courses and appraise also from the clinical point of view and gain knowledge (according to their career development plan) on surgery-critical perspectives.


MUSICA will offer the recruited fellows the possibility to visit different research institutions at a relatively early stage in their career. In this way, they will be able to acquire additional knowledge which will be extremely valuable for their careers, and will be provided with a significant broadening of their training curricula, compared to available PhDs. For this purpose, at the very beginning of the project we will draft for each researcher a personal career development plan (PCDP), as a combination of training at universities, companies, spin-offs and hospitals.

Summer Schools

3 Summer Schools of 5 days each, are planned yearly during the project and designed in such a way that the aim in the 1st year is to broaden the knowledge and horizon of the young researchers; the 2nd is mainly focused on the methodologies and the 3rd is dedicated to the applied research produced in the framework of the MUSICA project. A detailed plan is given in Table 2.2c.

The participation to the Summer Schools will be open to external Master and PhD students and researchers, but it will be mandatory for all ESRs.

Each day will be structured into two scientific/technological sessions coordinated by a senior scientist, who will be in charge of inviting the speakers from and outside the consortium. Sessions are planned for each project topic as well as for industrial exploitation and soft skill development. ESRs will be progressively involved in the presentations as the project advances. The participation of outstanding researchers with well-focused expertise will give the recruited fellows the opportunity to expand their horizon, to interact with and discuss their project with people from other, also non-European, institutions. Thanks to this experience ESRs will be also stimulated towards ideas, applications and technological solutions different from those provided by the MUSICA consortium thus experiencing an effective cross-fertilization. Finally, these experts will represent useful contacts for the young researchers in order to increase the spectrum of research structures and institutions for their further possible employment.

The Summer Schools will give all ESR the opportunity to present their work in the form of short talks and posters, to obtain an overview of the wider research field, and to discuss their own research activities and results with senior researchers and professionals with heterogeneous and complementary background and expertise.

Each Summer School will be followed by MUSICA proceedings in the form of a newsletter, which will be available on the MUSICA website as well as in hardcopy format. The newsletters will report the contribution synopses, relevant advances on the research topics and forthcoming training activities. The last Newsletter will contain the ESRs’ final report and detailed summaries.

At the end of the project a fourth event is planned and will be in the form of an International Conference. All the recruited ESRs will be involved as speakers. Other speakers will be selected upon invitation. The possibility to integrate this event within an International event, such as the ESB Conference, ESAO Conference or VPH conference, will be explored.

MUSICA Project Training