Osteoarthritis (OA) is the single most common cause of disability in older adults. The prevalence of OA is increasing due to population ageing and an increase in related factors such as obesity. According to the United Nations, by 2050 people aged over 60 will account for more than 20% of the world’s population. Of that 20%, a conservative estimate of 15% will have symptomatic OA, and one-third of these people will be severely disabled. The most recent update of the Global Burden of Disease figures, (GBD 2013) estimated that 242 million people were living in the world with symptomatic and activity limiting OA of the hip and/or knee, accounting for 13 million years lived with disabilities (YLDs). These figures are likely to be an underestimate of the true global burden of OA, as these rates only consider hip and knee OA, and not OA at other sites.

To implement the next step in OA treatmets there is a strong need to engage this worldwide epidemic disease in a holistic and multidisciplinary way, and hence train the next generation of enrepreneurial scientist & MD`s on translational research in an innovative approach.

The Marie Curie OSTASKILLS doctoral progamme provides this unique training experience for Early Stage Researchers (ESR´s) to engage in a holistic approach bringing innovations in medical devices, ATMPs and pharmaceutical products aimed at treating OA, to patients and the heath care markets.

ReumaNetherlands as coordinator and six research hosts (Maastricht Univeristy, Basel University Hospital, Wurzburg University, Lund University, University Twente and AO research foundation) to host the doctoral candidates and provide state-of-the-art training. Furthermore, training in research centres is complemented with internships in participating companies active in this field, to allow the doctoral candidates a multiangle view (both fundamental and clinical view, as well as business and legislative view) on translation. 

This comprehensive doctoral progamme enables short communication lines and intense cooperation between the doctoral candidates and research groups, boosting the doctora candidate´s multidisciplinary skills as well as their crucial soft skills. Subsequently, the larger international industrial network engaged in OSTASKILLS provides excellent mobility opportunities for off-site internships, hands-on experience with start-ups and corporates. This will boost the entrepreneurial skills of the doctoral candidates.

Marie Curie research training project on Osteoarthritis