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EU awards 3.7M euro for 28 PhD’s to the Máxima Butterfly program

The Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology has been awarded a Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND grant to train the next generation of multi-disciplinary childhood cancer scientists in the Máxima Butterfly program. Ultimate goal of the program is to advance the pediatric oncology research field. 28 PhD students will be recruited from all over the world. They will receive training from the Princess Máxima Center in close collaboration with partner organizations in industry, academia and patient advocates around the world.

Prof. Dr. Alexander Eggermont, Chief Scientific Officer at the Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology: ‘As childhood cancer is a rare disease, international collaboration is crucial to achieve breakthroughs in the field. Collaboration has been at the core of the Princess Máxima Center since we opened our doors in 2018. We’ve joined forces with other pediatric oncological research hospitals and focused networks, and collaboration forms an intrinsic part of our PhD training program. By co-funding the Máxima Butterfly program, the EU provides us with the excellent opportunity to take the knowledge exchange in childhood cancer one step further.’

Dr. Marcel Kool, overall coordinator of the Máxima Butterfly program and research group leader at the Máxima Center: ‘The 28 students that will be trained in the various research groups in the Máxima Center will have a very broad perspective and knowledge of the pediatric oncological field. They become part of our Máxima Comprehensive Childhood Cancer Center (M4C), where our different disease related programs are intertwined with the clinical departments and our research streams of fundamental, translational, clinical research and implementation.’

Celina Szanto, project manager at the Máxima Center: 'The Máxima Butterfly students will follow a joint research and training program, consisting of scientific courses in pediatric oncology and transferable courses such as science communication, gender equality, time management, teaching and personal development. In addition, they will have the opportunity to go on secondments with leading academic, industrial and non-profit partner organizations of the Máxima Butterfly program.'

Since 2018, all children with cancer in the Netherlands are treated at research hospital the Máxima Center. Scientists from 35 research groups collaborate to achieve its mission to cure every child with cancer with optimal quality of life. The Máxima Butterfly program builds on this foundation and the earlier EU-funded project Vagabond.

The Máxima Butterfly program has a duration of five years and is led by Marcel Kool, Jan Molenaar, and Celina Szanto, who successfully applied for this highly competitive grant with the support of Annemarie Rietman. In the program there will be a close collaboration with 35 (inter)national partners. This project is made possible thanks to Horizon Europe/Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND project number 101081481, the Princess Máxima Center and the participating research groups.

Visit the program website for contact details: http://maximabutterfly.com/ . More information will be shared via this website soon.

Picture: Máxima Butterfly program group: Marcel Kool, Annemarie Rietman, Celina Szanto and Jan Molenaar.