“Endometrial and Embryonic Genomics, Searching for Biomarkers in Assisted Reproduction” / shortly “Search for Assisted Reproduction Markers” – Grant N° 324509 (FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IAPP, 2013-2016)

The intrinsic motivation for the SARM project stems from the perceived need to contribute to future in vitro Fertilisation (IVF) improvements and benefit from the recent breakthroughs in technological innovations. Our primary research objective is to unravel the molecular nature of human preimplantation embryo development and endometrial maturation. This ambitious goal will be achieved by exploiting highly sophisticated single-cell genomics tools, such as fine-resolution mapping of DNA copy-number changes by using SNP-arrays and sequencing platforms, and characterizing single-cell transcriptional landscape by RNA-sequencing. These studies are likely to propose novel embryonal and endometrial biomarkers useful for selecting the most competent embryos for transfer or identifying the causes of female infertility of endometrial origin.

The SARM consortium consists of 2 industrial (Competence Centre on Reproductive Medicine, Tartu, Estonia and IVIOMICS, Paterna, Spain) and 3 academic (Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium and University of Tartu, Estonia) partners, forming a strong, stimulating and coherent research environment ensuring the pooling of complementary scientific skills in reproductive genetics and medicine.

The S&T work plan is executed mainly via secondments of researchers for a total of 145 fellow-months (65 from Academia to Industry, 80 from Industry to Academia). Additionally, the partners plan to recruit 8 researchers for a total of 120 fellow months (48 by Industry and 72 by Academia).

The IAPP (Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways) programme has the purpose to open and foster dynamic pathways between public research organisations and private commercial enterprises, in particular SMEs, through knowledge sharing and skill requirements of both the industrial and academic sectors.

Proposals are expected to be based on a joint R&D cooperation project in any theme and executed via researcher exchange and recruitment (i.e. Plan for Transfer of Knowledge, ToK).

At least 2 organisations, one from each sector and from at least 2 different EU Member States or Associated countries have to participate. Default duration of such projects is 4 years. The budget is based on ToK cost.

The role of Invent Baltics Ltd in SARM expands from helping to set up the consortium, put together the project proposal, followed by negotiations with the European Commission, organisation of the kick-off meeting and on-going administrative coordination of the project over 4 years.