This is an Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility project of Leiden University Medical Centre with University of Havana.
Leiden University coordinator:
- Leiden University Medical Centre, project coordinator: Luis Cruz
- University of Havana
Type of mobility:
- Staff and student exchange
For several years now there has been a strong and unique collaboration between Leiden University and the University of Havana/University of Havana Medical Sciences. Broadly speaking, the objective of this collaboration is to establish and provide an interdisciplinary (nanoscience, medical imaging) environment for PhD and master’s students in the fields of nanomedicine, biomaterials and medical imaging. One of our goals is to design novel delivery strategies and molecular imaging system strategies. Molecular imaging makes it possible to identify diseases and helps us to acquire specific knowledge in animal models. This data then forms the basis for translation into clinical and diagnostic tools.
Our main goals are to develop and expand medical research, to further strengthen our collaboration and to continue staff and student exchanges between Cuba and the Netherlands. This project will play a crucial role in strengthening scientific and technological capabilities in the study of drug delivery systems and medical imaging.
Staff and student exchanges will allow us to further improve and continue our joint research project in the field of therapy and imaging. Moreover, this nanomedicine and imaging platform provides a foundation for commercial opportunities for novel therapeutic tools and new (diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic monitoring) assay formats. This project will create value by promoting excellence in research, which will be achieved through molecular and chemical innovation and will have a beneficial outcome for the entire community.
Leiden University Medical Center has a keen interest in maintaining and improving its international cooperation with Cuba. In recent years, LUMC staff have successfully shared knowledge and offered incoming Cuban master's and PhD students long and short stays in their laboratories - especially in the fields of biomaterials, nanotechnology, medical imaging and radiology.
In addition, other LUMC staff members have taken part in exchanges with the University of Havana/University of Havana Medical Sciences (Havana/Leiden and vice versa) for teaching and training purposes in biomaterials, 3D printed composites for cartilage, thermosensitive injectable hydrogels and carbohydrates as adjutants in nano form. This has produced a unique and concrete network of experiences, knowledge and results.
The collaboration partners strongly believe in the relevance and impact of this joint approach. On the one hand, Cuban students gain access to high-level research facilities and technological expertise in the Leiden laboratories; on the other hand, Leiden researchers have the opportunity to broaden their horizons and to develop scientifically thanks to their experiences in conducting medical research in Cuba.
Broadly speaking, the objective is to establish and provide an interdisciplinary (nanoscience, medical imaging) environment for PhD and master’s students training in the field of nanomedicine, biomaterials and medical imaging. In addition, thanks to the Erasmus+ grant awarded last year, the collaboration has been extended to other institutes in Havana, including an institute specialising in the production of medical devices. This extension highlights the impact of this collaboration.
Strategic long-term collaboration policy
Leiden University is developing a strategic long-term collaboration policy for a small number of priority countries/regions, including Latin America, in order to strengthen cooperation and establish structural relationships with universities, organisations and governmental bodies in those regions. In light of this policy, Leiden University has a number of collaborations in Latin America and the Caribbean. There is already a strong and unique collaboration between Leiden University and Havana University/University of Havana Medical Sciences.
Internationalisation at the University of Havana
In the last few years, due to social and historical changes in Cuba, the University of Havana has initiated a new internationalisation policy regarding student and staff exchanges and participation in non-Caribbean research projects. The University of Havana agrees that the new internationalisation strategy to improve the level of Cuban science needs to allow exchanges in both directions (Cuba-EU-Cuba) in order to share scientific knowledge and to compensate for the economic gap between different institutions. The aim is to continue and extend this cooperation by means of staff mobility from Leiden to Havana and vice versa, which will further increase the level and the quality of the project.