PNRR – the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan and ICGEB

According to the WHO, new pandemics caused by possible new pathogens that are dangerous to humans, animals or plants will soon develop: we need to be response ready.

It is in this context that the project “Pathogen Readiness Platform” at the Central European Research Infrastructure Consortium ([email protected]) dedicated to research in emerging pathogens, coordinated by the AREA Science Park in Trieste, has been funded under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) approved in 2021 by Italy to relaunch the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project involves the creation of a highly specialized and unique infrastructure that will network existing laboratories in the AREA, enhancing the unique quality of services for the research and business system. This is an extension of the operations already in place at the ICGEB, Molecular Virology laboratory, ‘Elettra’ Synchrotron, and the AREA life sciences platform comprising genomics and epigenomics laboratories and the Orpheus data center. The numerous startups and companies within the AREA Science Park with a focus on pharmaceuticals and diagnostics also stand to benefit from the development.

The project has been funded for Euro 41 million, 60 percent of which will be invested in the two campuses of the Science Park in Padriciano (ICGEB) and Basovizza (Elettra) over the next 30 months.

A new maximum-security biocontainment chamber will be built, with a biologically protected environment in which ICGEB researchers will study and manipulate viruses, rendering them harmless and ready for accessing high-end instrumentation available through the platform in AREA, Elettra, National Research Council (CNR) and in the associated universities of Salento, Salerno and Naples. New equipment is being purchased and put into operation, thanks to the funds, for the next ten years, making it available to researchers and entrepreneurs, and bringing great added value to the FVG Region. It will constitute an international infrastructure also open to diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies with free access for those who make data public, and fee-based for proprietary research.

The project also foresees employment possibilities for researchers, technologists, administrative technicians with a view to gender equality in line with Agenda 2030 of the UN.