Since its opening, Imagine has expanded its expertise and knowledge by partnering with hospitals, research centers, and universities both nationally and internationally. The Institute is advised by a scientific board made up of global experts recognized in their field and is located on the campus of the Necker-Enfants malades hospital AP-HP, a world leader in medical care for children. Every year the Institute hosts researchers and future researchers from around the world. 20% of the staff do not come from France and 37 nationalities are represented in 2019.
Since its founding, Imagine has recruited 8 new teams, 6 of which are managed by researchers who are foreign or of foreign origin. In October 2019, Imagine’s scientific advisory board confirmed the need to continue and perhaps even increase recruitment from abroad in order to form international teams. International recruitment guarantees a diversity of views and opinions which accelerates advances in research.
Forming exceptional academic partnerships
Research is collaborative by nature. Many international collaborations between research teams exist. These types of collaborations allow teams to develop cutting-edge programs which is why the Institute has created two partnership labs outside of France:
- The human genetics of infectious diseases lab of Prof. Jean-Laurent Casanova and Dr Laurent Abel which is located at Imagine and at the Rockefeller Institute in New-York,
- The laboratory of neurogenetics and neuroinflammation of Prof. Yannick Crow which is partly located in London.
The Institute has already signed several international collaboration agreements with the goal of expanding its collaborative international work and hosts visits from international universities, research centers and hospitals in hopes of fostering future collaborations.
Thus, a Memorandum of Understanding on future scientific and academic collaborations was signed with His Highness Prince Turki Bin Saud, President of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technlogy of Saudi Arabia. Researcher Mickaël Ménager, Laboratory Director at Imagine, also visited Japan to build bridges and scientific collaborations on the theme of pediatric cancers.
The I3 program (Imagine International Initiative) is a program dedicated to forming scientific and academic collaborations and implementing the Imagine model in other countries, following the example of our two initiatives Imagine@Rabat, in Morocco in partnership with Abulcasis University and the Sheikh Zaïd Foundation, or Imagine@Beirut, in partnership with the French University Saint-Joseph.
The Institute is gradually spreading to other countries. Dr. Matias Simons, Director of laboratory, will leave the Institute to move to the University of Heidelberg in Germany, where he will intends to spread the Imagine spirit, and where he plans to continue its fruitful collaborations with the Institute's doctors and researchers. This spin-off of young teams ensures the diffusion of this Imagine spirit, based on the rapprochement between science and medicine.
Training future researchers from around the world
The Imagine Institute also welcomes students, future researchers and future doctors from all over the world through our International PhD program supported by the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation. Every year, at least 2 international PhD students come to train at Imagine. In 2019, during the official visit of Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, the Director of the Institute signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Doha, Qatar, on the hosting of doctoral students, the student exchanges and scientific collaborations. Imagine has also signed an agreement collaboration with the Guangzhou Women and Children Medical Center in China. Since then, the Institute welcomes four doctoral and post-doctoral candidates in its laboratories pre-selected by the Chinese Academy of Medicine and Doha University.
What’s more, every year post-doc students from all over the world join Imagine to continue their research training.
Every year, the Imagine Institute provides dozens of international lectures and classes hosted by the Institute as well as other universities and research centers. The sessions disseminate knowledge and expertise in the field of genetic diseases.
Since 2017, Imagine has also hosted the Eurodis Winter School: for one week, patient representatives from all over Europe gather at the Institute to discuss innovation, translational research, and potential benefits for patients with rare diseases.