pt en


Leverage research EXCELLence and INNOVation potential of Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM Lisboa) through translational biomedical research in immunity and infection.

Funding Agency European Commission
Funding Programme Horizon 2020
Call/Topic H2020-WIDESPREAD-2014-2 / WIDESPREAD-2-2014 - ERA Chairs
Project reference 667284
Start date 2015.01.07
Duration 60 months
Total investment EUR 2,777,183.15 (EU contribution EUR 2,499,465)
Project Coordinator Maria Mota


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 667824.

  • Overview

    EXCELLtoINNOV will provide iMM Lisboa with the needed means to achieve excellence on a sustainable basis through the recruitment of an ERA Chair in pre-clinical molecular and imaging studies, in immunity and infection.

    This goal will be strategically achieved by placing iMM Lisboa in the forefront of Research, Development and Innovation (R&D+I) in immunity and infection, through the establishment of a translational biomedical research hub anchored in Lisbon that will:

    i. leverage the national potential beyond borders;

    ii. act as the interface of Europe with America and Africa;

    iii. effectively contribute to overcome the health and demographic change societal challenges by potentiating major scientific advancements in this research area through worldwide collaborative efforts.

    The successful implementation of this strategy will be possible through specific activities, including:

    1. the development of a new research field at iMM Lisboa by the ERA Chair holder, pre-clinical molecular and imaging studies, that will transversally benefit and impact all research areas at iMM Lisboa;
    2. the implementation of structural changes at iMM Lisboa to successfully support and comply with ERA priorities;
    3. the expansion of overseas collaborations in international collaborative R&D+I projects;
    4. an improved integration of iMM Lisboa in the regional, national and international business community.


    Through the completion of these activities we will achieve an improved capability to compete successfully for internationally competitive research funding, including but not limited to Horizon 2020, IMI2 and EDCTP2 as well as effectively contribute to the objectives of regional smart specialisation strategies through increased international attractiveness, competitiveness and innovation potential of iMM Lisboa, Lisbon and Portugal.

  • Structure

    EXCELLtoINNOV project has one key central Work Package, ERA Chair recruitment, supported and complemented by other five additional Work Packages, designed to achieve concrete objectives.



    WP1: Project management

    Ensure the proper management of EXCELLtoINNOV, in order to achieve the objectives, milestones and deliverables of the project in due time. The basis for all types of management activities, from administrative to financial, is detailed. The management team will also set-up an effective communication infrastructure with regional, national and international partners of EXCELLtoINNOV network, as well as with the EC.

    WP2: ERA Chair recruitment

    Recruit the ERA Chair holder as well as his/her scientific team. The successful achievement of this objective will be potentiated through a worldwide dissemination of ERA Chair recruitment call.

    WP3: Capacity building

    Capacitate iMM Lisboa in order to allow: raising the success rate of iMM Lisboa in Horizon 2020 and diversify its participation in other EU co-funded initiatives; to boost iMM Lisboa research excellence; and to potentiate a better integration of iMM Lisboa in the business community.

    WP4: Implementation of ERA priorities

    Contribute to the implementation of ERA priorities through the implementation of The European Charter for Researchers & The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, by following the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R) and attainment and maintenance of the HR Excellence in Research logo.

    WP5: International overseas cooperation

    Establish a translational biomedical research hub anchored in Lisbon that will leverage the national potential beyond borders and act as the interface of Europe with America and Africa, through the establishment of a forum for overseas discussion in immunity and infection, the generation of a Database gathering experts in immunity and infection and the organisation of Expert visits to/from selected organisations in America and Africa.

    WP6: International overseas cooperation

    Ensure the proper dissemination and exploitation of the achievements of EXCELLtoINNOV project in the most efficient way. This will be achieved by: raising public and scientific awareness of the project and facilitating the interaction with scientific and non-scientific audiences, including the business community.

  • ERA Chair Holder and Team


    Marc Veldhoen: ERA Chair Holder

    PhD (2003) at Open University, National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK

    Post-doctoral (2003-2006) research at Division of Molecular Immunology, National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK

    Senior Investigator Scientist (2006-2010) at Division of Molecular Immunology, National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK

    Group Leader (2010-2016), Laboratory of Lymphocyte Signalling and Development, at The Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK

    Group Leader at iMM Lisboa since 2016


    Major Interests / Objectives:

    Understanding Immune homeostasis and immunity in the small and large intestine. This includes the differences between the small and large intestine with respect to inflammatory responses. The difference between the intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) and lamina propria (LP) layers, e.g. the predominant type 1 response in the IEL compartment compared with an enriched IL-17 response in the LP compartment, the maintenance and generation of intra-epithelial lymphocytes (Innate and tissue resident T cells) and the interaction between epithelial cells and lymphocytes. Furthermore we are interested in the balance between Type 1, 2 and 3 immune responses and how this relates to aberrant immunity such as autoimmunity, allergy as well as cancer.


    Tiago Reis: Technical and Financial Project Manager.

    Marta Baptista: Research assistant. Mouse genotyping, specialist in histology.

    Cristina Ferreira: Senior post-doc. Expert in mouse experimentation and Flow cytometry.

    Spela Konjar: Post-Doc.

    Birte Blankenhaus: Post-Doc.



  • News

    EXCELLtoINNOV – 1st Newsletter

    November 2016

    The first Newsletter is out! Read it here.

    EXCELLtoINNOV – 1st Annual Project Meeting

    June 20-23, 2016

    The first Annual Project Meeting of EXCELLtoINNOV was held at iMM Lisboa, from 20-23rd of June, 2016. This was an excellent occasion for the analysis and discussion of the project progress by the Advisory Board, here represented by Maria M. Mota (project coordinator), Marc Veldhoen (ERA Chair), and two external members, namely Professor Herman Waldmann and Professor Artur Scherf. In addition, highly successful Capacity BuildingWorkshop – Leadership Course targeting the iMM postdoctoral community was integrated in this event as well as the publicly open seminar by the ERA Chair.


    EXCELLtoINNOV Kick-off meeting: "How to Excell to Innov @ Lisbon Medical Centre"

    October 12, 2015

    The kick-off meeting of EXCELLtoINNOV was held at iMM Lisboa, on October 12 2015. This meeting provided the opportunity to disseminate the project to the community as well as to promote an interactive debate with internal and external stakeholders. A panel of distinguished personalities was invited, including: the (at the time) Secretary of State for Science and Technology, Prof. Leonor Parreira; the Rector of the University of Lisbon, Prof. Cruz Serra; the Director of the Lisbon Medical School, Prof. Fausto Pinto; and Prof. Carmo-Fonseca and Prof. Maria Mota, President and Executive Director of iMM, respectively.

    (Kick-off meeting agenda)


    Chair in Immunity and Infection for outstanding researchers

    July 1, 2015

    The prestigious Horizon 2020 ERA Chair project, EXCELLtoINNOV, funded by the European Commission, takes off today, July 1st, with the launch of the recruitment process for the ERA Chair position.


  • Press

    EXCELLtoINNOV brochure

    January 4, 2017

    You can view the informative brochure here


    iMM Lisboa organises the launching event of EXCELLtoINNOV

    October 12, 2015 (available in PT only)


    ERA Chair project (2.5 M€) funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme is launched

    July 29, 2015


    Four Portuguese institutions will receive approximately 10 million euros

    February 14, 2014 (available in PT only)

  • Open positions

  • Forum

    forum.jpgJoin the experts in immunity and infection research field to create a bigger interest among stakeholders, in order to develop more interaction among them, IMM and the scientific community. 

    This group offers engagement activities to the scientific community through the dissemination of new scientific data and by providing a Forum for overseas discussion in translational immunity and infection. 

    Please feel free to share and discuss articles published in peer reviewed journals, presentations in relevant international conferences and workshops, results, doubts, among other interactions.

    Access to the Forum through the link and visit our LinkedIn page at

    Go to where you can find news, seminars, job opportunities, funding opportunities, entrepreneurial opportunities, regulatory news, collaboration cases,  a database of experts and papers.

  • Papers

  • Contacts

    For press enquiries, please contact iMM Communication:

    For technical enquiries, please contact iMM Projects:

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