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Summer School, June 2009 Photos from the London Pain Consortium Summer School, held 21st-26th June 2009 in El Escorial, Madrid, Spain.

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Europain consortium receives EU and industry funding and begins five year research into better treatments for chronic pain Europain, a public-private consortium funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), announced today the launch of a five-year research project to understand and improve treatment of chronic pain. The project will receive 6M€ from the IMI as well as 12.5M€ in kind contribution from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) over the coming five years.

One in five adults suffers from chronic pain. This constitutes a major cause of long-term sick leave and forced early retirement, placing a great financial burden on both individuals and healthcare systems. Despite extensive research programmes by biopharmaceutical companies and academia, there remains a need for treatments that are more effective and with fewer side-effects.

Europain has established an international team of leading researchers and clinicians from both academia and industry to undertake multidisciplinary translational research. This team aims to increase the understanding of chronic pain mechanisms, help to develop novel analgesics, and develop better biomarkers for pain. Their ultimate goal is to improve the lives of people suffering from chronic pain.

During the five-year project, Europain will undertake a large number of preclinical and clinical studies. The program will be delivered through collaboration between laboratories in the Europain network, sharing resources to improve the value derived from the budget. Results will be made public during and after the project, ensuring that the knowledge created can be widely applied to the development of better therapies for patients suffering from chronic pain.

King’s College London, the managing entity of Europain and the academic lead institution will contribute to both the pre-clinical and clinical aspects of the project. One role will be to study the expression of potential pain mediators in both animal models of pain and samples from patients suffering from chronic pain. The role of novel pain mediators will then be investigated using an array of techniques ranging from cell culture to quantitative sensory testing in humans.

Professor Steve McMahon, who along with Dr Dave Bennett will be running the project at King’s, comments: ‘There are some big questions facing the pain field at the moment and this consortium, drawing on the skills and expertise of both academia and industry, is in a unique position to address them’.

The consortium network involves scientists representing 12 renowned European Universities: King’s College London (Academic lead), University College London, Imperial College London, the University of Oxford, the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, the Medical Faculty Mannheim/Heidelberg University, the Technische Universität München, the Goethe University of Frankfurt, the BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil/Ruhr University Bochum, the University Hospitals of Aarhus, Rigshospitalet Copenhagen, University of Southern Denmark, the SME Neuroscience Technologies from Barcelona, and the research resources and expertise of Europe’s most active pharmaceutical companies working in the field of analgesics, including AstraZeneca (co-ordinator), Boehringer-Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Esteve, Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis, UCB Pharma.

About the Innovative Medicines Initiative

IMI is a unique Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the pharmaceutical industry represented by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and the European Union represented by the European Commission.
Archive workshop and seminar slides Professor Peter Karmerman…
Ph.D. Positions
1. Can foreign students apply? Yes, foreign students have been accepted into the programme. They receive the normal stipend, research and travel costs, and the EC component of their fees is paid, but non-European Community citizens have to pay the extra non-EC fees themselves (currently roughly £15,000 per year). Furthermore, all candidates who are selected for the Programme must be interviewed, and we unfortunately have no funds to pay for foreign students to come to interview.

2. I have a lower second degree but I am now doing an MSc. Is this equivalent to an upper second? You can apply, but in the previous year's applications nobody with such a background was successful.

3. I?m doing an undergraduate degree in physics or chemistry or engineering or psychology - can I use the first year to convert to Pain research? Yes.

4. Does my age matter? No.

5. I have another PhD offer, which needs a decision before you decide on your studentships. Ask them to wait (they usually will); if not, contact us.

6. Can I come to visit the programme before the interviews? We only conduct visits for students at the time of the interviews, when shortlisted applicants will meet supervisors and students on the programme and visit labs.

7. I have my own money to fund the fees and living expenses of my PhD. Can I be admitted to the programme? Here are the guidelines for such a situation. Students, other than the 4 funded each year by the Wellcome Trust, may be admitted to the 4 year PhD Programme in Neuroscience, provided the following conditions are met.

a. Students must meet the necessary academic standard. Assessment of this will always involve interview by the 4 year Programme Committee, preferably at the same time as other applicants for the Wellcome-funded places are considered (February each year). If students are not ranked within the top 10 of all the applicants (last year there were 200 applicants), they will not be accepted onto the Programme. Since entry onto the Programme is highly competitive, we recommend that applications are made only from students who have obtained, or are likely to obtain, a 1st or upper 2nd class degree in their undergraduate studies. No funds are available to fly foreign applicants to attend the interview.

b. Students cannot be accepted if their funding ties them to a particular supervisor for the PhD part of the course. Final allocation of students to 3-month-rotation and PhD supervisors will be made by the 4 year Programme Committee in consultation with the student and the supervisor that they wish to work with. Students must do all the coursework that the Programme Committee suggests.

c. The financial obligations of being on the 4 year Programme are as follows. For 4 years, funds are needed to pay: fees (~£3,500/year for European Community citizens); living expenses to the student (the Wellcome Trust currently pay approximately £20,000/year); research expenses (£10,000/year)and costs of travelling to scientific meetings (£400/year). The total needed for the 4 years is thus around £140,500 for an EC student and more for a non-EC student, due to the extra non-EC fees. The research and travel expenses part of this funding will be administered by the 4 year Programme Committee in conjunction with the supervisors that the students are allocated to.