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HT’s “Open” Technologies for the Italian Scientific Community

Human Technopole is opening its National Facilities, providing advanced equipment and technologies accessible through calls for proposals open to the Italian scientific community. Projects will be selected by a commission of international experts. Scientists will have access to five new dedicated facilities, which act as catalysts for open innovation in the life sciences sector, crucial for research and the health of Italians. The calls for proposals were presented on Monday, 10 June in Rome at an event attended by the Ministries of Health, University and Research, and Economy and Finance, where the services offered by the National Facilities, the criteria for selecting worthy projects, and the access procedures were explained.

Milan, 11 June 2024 – As of yesterday, Monday 10 June, Italian scientists can submit their research projects to Human Technopole, a life sciences research institute located at the MIND Milan Innovation District campus, to develop their research using the cutting-edge technologies provided through the National Facilities. In a spirit of open innovation in the life sciences field, the National Facilities are dedicated structures shared by Human Technopole with the entire Italian research system. The National Facilities are five: the National Facility for Genomics, the National Facility for Genome Engineering and Disease Modelling, the National Facility for Structural Biology, the National Facility for Light Imaging, and the National Facility for Data Handling and Analysis.

The National Facilities and the open calls for access were presented on Monday, 10 June in Rome by Human Technopole at the Ministry of Health, during the event “Improving human life and technology”, with an address by the Minister of Health, Orazio Schillaci. The Minister of Economy and Finance, Giancarlo Giorgetti, sent a message to the event participants. The Chief of Staff of the Ministry of University and Research, Marcella Panucci also delivered a speech.

The calls for proposals will be systematically published annually and will be open to researchers from universities, Iresearch hospitals (IRCCS), and public research entities throughout Italy. Access applications will be evaluated by a group of independent international experts, gathered in the Standing Independent Evaluation Committee , who will decide which projects can access Human Technopole technologies based on their innovation and scientific quality.

During the conference, Human Technopole also presented the contents of the 2024-2028 Strategic Plan.

Gianmario Verona, President of Human Technopole, stated: “The National Facilities are a concrete example of infrastructure for open innovation in the life sciences. The model they are based on is an evolution of the model already successfully applied in institutes in various European countries, including the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, SciLifeLab in Sweden, the Max Planck institutes in Germany, and in the United States. In these countries, it has led to significant results in terms of both scientific research quality and technology transfer. Its strength lies in centralising highly advanced, expensive, and functionally connected technologies, enjoying strong economies of scale and avoiding resource dispersion, which are now available to Italian scientists, as well as Human Technopole researchers.

Marino Zerial, Director of Human Technopole, added: “The event held in Rome was also an opportunity to present the 2024-2028 Strategic Plan, of which the National Facilities are a cornerstone. Multidisciplinarity is a focal point of Human Technopole’s scientific vision: from physics to genomics, from mathematics to structural biology, all sciences will converge to support the development of knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the human organism. Moreover, thanks to new research programmes, called flagship research programmes, we will also focus on serious and widespread diseases such as cancer, metabolic diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodevelopmental conditions.


Applications can be submitted throughout the year and will be evaluated in three periods: May/June (applications submitted between 1 January and 30 April), September/October (applications submitted between 1 May and 31 August), January/February (applications submitted between 1 September and 31 December). The access call will include a list of services offered by each facility, eligibility criteria and technical requirements, evaluation criteria, and scoring system.

There are three different access modes to the National Facilities:

  • “Simple”: researchers will directly use the technologies provided by Human Technopole. As prior proven competence in using these instruments is required, a preliminary check will be conducted, and subsequently, the researcher will be authorised to use the instrument with limited supervision from the facility staff. For some facilities or instruments, this access mode may be limited or unavailable.
  • To facility services: researchers can avail themselves of Human Technopole personnel to perform specific tasks for them. These may be standard services, typically performed by the National Facility, or bespoke services, designed and developed jointly with guest researchers.
  • To facility services and training: this procedure involves training researchers by Human Technopole staff with the aim of transferring, in addition to or as an alternative to the services provided by the other access modes, the skills necessary for the autonomous use of a specific technology.

Both scientifically significant and technically mature projects, as well as proof-of-concept projects, i.e., feasibility studies as prerequisites for research programmes, can be submitted for access to the National Facilities:

  • With high scientific potential but insufficient technical maturity or preliminary data;
  • Aimed at creating the necessary conditions for the project’s execution (e.g., method development experiments);
  • For rapid access, i.e., requiring a single service.


After an initial check for compliance with the call, the proposal will be submitted to the Standing Independent Evaluation Committee, which will assess it based on the following parameters: significance, innovation, approach, scientific-institutional context, and the applicant’s previous experience. In addition to this evaluation, a technical feasibility and project maturity study will also be carried out.


The Committee will be responsible for evaluating the projects. The Committee consists of independent members of the highest international prestige, including the Chairman of the Human Technopole Scientific Committee, Walter Ricciardi, who is an ex-officio member, and they are:

  • Filippo Mancia, Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Department of Physiology & Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York (USA) (Chairman)
  • Arianna Tucci, Professor of Medical Genomics, Queen Mary University of London (UK) (Vice Chairman)
  • Juha Kere, Professor of Molecular Genetics, Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm (Sweden)
  • Samuele Marro, Professor of Neuroscience and Co-Director of the Stem Cell Engineering Core, Black Family Stem Cell Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York (USA)
  • Jan Peychl, Senior Service Leader, Light Microscopy Facility, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden (Germany)
  • Giampietro Schiavo, Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Neuromuscular Diseases, Queen Square Institute of Neurology, University College London (UK)
  • Maria Secrier, Professor of Cancer Computational Biology, Genetics Institute, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London (UK)
  • Virginie Uhlmann, Group Leader, European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), Cambridge (UK) and Director, BioVisionCenter, University of Zurich (Switzerland)

The members were selected following the publication of the public notice for the pre-selection of candidates for the Committee’s establishment on 4 July 2023. The Consiglio di Sorveglianza of the Human Technopole Foundation received the list of candidates resulting from the pre-selection carried out by the Ministry of University and Research and the Ministry of Health and appointed the nine members.


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