The MedPlant training program has been designed to ensure that each ESR/ER will obtain a unique profile enabling them with the knowledge and techniques to become front leaders in exploring diversity of medicinal plants and simultaneously gain a broad perspective from diverse partners (academia, public bodies, NGOs, SMEs and pharmaceutical industry) making them more employable in a diversity of sectors.

To ensure an optimal set-up for creating synergy and collaborations within MedPlant, major emphasis of the training program is on network-wide training activities, centered around the kick-off-meeting, three summer schools and a final conference.

Summary of MedPlant training activities

  • Kick-off meeting, Copenhagen, Denmark, March 2014.
    Introduction to MedPlant and being in an ITN network – MedPlant Ethical Conduct of Research. Lead by Mickey Gjerris, Section for Consumption, Bioethics and Governance, University of Copenhagen (P1) about good scientific practice, questionable conduct of research,
    research misconduct and research integrity.
    Seminars: Development of Pharmacopoeias by Marco Leonti, University of Cagliari (P3), Phylogeny and Sustainability and safety of medicinal plant use by Julie Hawkins, University of Reading (P2).
    Project review days (1,5 days): All fellows present a status of their project, challenges, sucesses, results.
    Workshop I – Complementary training in project management (3 days). Lead by Søren Stuhr/partner and management consultant from Implement Consulting Group.
  • 1st Summer school, Morocco, September 2014.
    Seminars: Deciphering ethnopharmacological mixtures in Morocco by Gary Martin, Global Diversity Foundation (AC2) and Plants and people on the move: The story of breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis, Moraceae) by Nyree Zerega, Chicago Botanic Gardens (AC11).
    Project review days (1, 5 days): All fellows present a status of their project, challenges, sucesses, results.
    Etnobotanical field course (7 days). Ethics of Research, Anthropological Methods: Documenting knowledge and practice of medicinal plant use in a socio-ecological context, Botanical Methods: Assessing Conservation Status lead by Gary Martin, Global Diversity Foundation, Rajindra Puri,  Centre of Biocultural Diversity, University of Kent, Hassan Rankou, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Abderrahim Ouarghidi, High Atlas Foundation, Mohamed Alifriqui, Cadi Ayyad University and Jürg Gertsch, University of Bern, and Public Science: Multimedia approaches to communicating scientific ideas lead by Ambreen Hameed (Communications Consultant), Inanc Tekguc (Communications Consultant) and Ruth Krause (Communications Consultant).

As a direct result of the summer school, the MedPlant network has published an on-line Methods Manual on Conducting and Communicating Ethnobotanical Research‘.


MedPlant summerschool 2014 – Introduction video

  • 2nd Summer school, Reading, UK, August 2015 (Mid-term review).
    Project review days (1,5 days): All fellows present a status of their project, challenges, sucesses, results.
    Workshop II – Dissemination ( 1 day): Training of ERSs/ERs in outlining a quality publication using project management tools to identify the pupose, objectives, success critieria. stakeholders, delievables, milestones, time-planning, risks ect.
    Bioinformatics intro-course (3 days): The course offered Fellows the opportunity to interact closely with bioinformatics experts in relevant but diverse fields. Alongside more conventional taught workshops, discussion groups and problem solving tutorials were emphasised.
  • 3rd Summer school, Cagliari, Italy, September 2016.
    Project review days (1,5 days): All fellows present a status of their project, challenges, sucesses, results.
    Future career planning (2,5 days): This workshop will explore and investigate the tools necessary for PhD fellows to negotiate postdoctoral research and career opportunities following the MedPlant phd fellowship. The workshop will include discussions about the transition from PhD to professional life and skills assessment activities, and a full day session on postdoctoral grant writing.
    Workshop III – outreach (1 day): Peer review in groups of fellows outreach plans by peer fellows and PIs.
    From plant to product course (3 days): This scientific course provides ESRs with a comprehensive insight into processes following the identification of a potential new herbal product or lead and what it takes for a hit to enter the market. The course highlights challenges and steps to be taken as seen from the industrial partners. The course touches upon patent and drugs registration regulations, the difference between herbal products and medicines based on isolated compounds, drug delivery, pharmacokinetics, clinical trials, interactions and safety, market-planning. The course will include a workshop (entrepreneurial skills/business development), where the ESRs outline companies based on their own ideas. Ideas are evaluated by a panel of founders and CEOs of partner companies.
  • International MedPlant conference on “Evolution, selection and protection of medicinal plants”, Bern, Switzerland, February 2017.
    The conference presented the results of MedPlant and discussed a new agenda for medicinal plant research for the future. The conference was also a great opportunity for extending the legacy of MedPlant through invitation of external research collaborators and young scientists in the field, who were also be able to present their own work. The conference was hosted and organised by MedPlant and Prof. Jürg Gertsch, University of Bern. Conference program.