The UTFORSK project
The UTFORSK partnership program was launched in order to strengthen international collaboration between Norwegian institutions and partners in Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia or South Africa.
More specifically, the UTFORSK project coordinated by Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is a partnership between us at NTNU and the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Project leader is Professor Ulrik Wisløff (CERG/NTNU), and at the Brazilian side activities have been coordinated by Professor Patricia Brum, one of the leading researchers on exercise physiology in Brazil.
Our project has aimed to promote excellence in exercise physiology by linking high-quality research and education of future researchers from Norway and Brazil. To achieve this goal, the UTFORSK project was structured to promote student and staff exchange, internationalization of education, research cooperation and joint seminars to allow young researchers to discuss their work with international scientists.
Activities have enabled young scientists to face challenges and opportunities in the field of exercise physiology, which could bring real benefits for their careers. By combining expertise from the partners institutions, the project has not only strengthened the existing international research network, but also linked research and education, thereby promoting international excellence in exercise physiology. The project started in 2014 and lasted for three years. The main activities have been:
The program was funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, and administered by the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU), in cooperation with the Research Council of Norway (RCN).
Student and staff exchange and joint supervision
The research groups involved in UTFORSK have been very active over the last 15 years. Our goal with this project har been join forces to promote international excellence in the field. Therefore, exchange of knowledge is essential. The UTFORSK project empowered this exchange by providing short-term travel grants so that local students/staff could spend some productive time at one of the partner institutions (Norway or Brazil), to learn new techniques, participate in local meetings and collaborative research projects. The duration of the stays were up to 30 days, and the activities were individually tailored to the student’s interest and the current needs of research project in question. It may involve courses, direct participation in data collection, experiments, or technical training.
We aim to achieve high quality joint publications within the duration of the UTFORSK, and these research articles will be used to assess the success of our initiative. In 2014, we published the following articles including authors from multiple partners:
Bechara LR, Moreira JB, Jannig PR, Voltarelli VA, Dourado PM, Vasconcelos AR, Scavone C, Ramires PR, Brum PC. NADPH oxidase hyperactivity induces plantaris atrophy in heart failure rats. Int J Cardiol. 2014 Aug 20;175(3):499-507. PMID: 25023789
Jannig PR, Moreira JB, Bechara LR, Bozi LH, Bacurau AV, Monteiro AW, Dourado PM, Wisløff U, Brum PC. Autophagy signaling in skeletal muscle of infarcted rats. PLoS One. 2014 Jan 10;9(1):e85820. PMID: 24427319
Brum PC, Bacurau AV, Cunha TF, Bechara LR, Moreira JB. Skeletal myopathy in heart failure: effects of aerobic exercise training. Exp Physiol. 2014 Apr;99(4):616-20. PMID: 24273305
The student exchange program empowered by the UTFORSK was tightly linked to joint supervision by project coordinators and postdocs. Master’s and PhD students taking part in research projects involving more than one partner were co-supervised by a faculty member in the hosting institution.
In order to facilitate this activity, the UTFORSK project allocated funds to cover travel costs for planning meetings, participation in trial lectures and other activities regarding joint supervision.
Our goal with this activity was to ensure that the partners would benefit the most from the student exchange program. The student will experienced a rich international environment, and junior postdocs got the opportunity to supervise international students.
The highlights of the UTFORSK project were presented in joint seminars. Two events took place; 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil and 2016 in Trondheim, Norway.
Students and postdocs presented their results to the partner groups, and international lecturers were invited to present their most recent work and. Professors Wisløff and Brum have a rich international network with world-leading scientists, and these networks were explored to provide students with the opportunity to discuss their research with the best scientists in the field. Master’s and PhD students from the partner institutions were eligible to apply for a travel grant to cover airfare and accommodation.
Differently from most conferences, the focus of our seminars was the young investigators. We organized poster sessions where master’s and PhD students presented their work and discussed with the audience. PhD students scheduled to defend their theses in the near future were also invited to present in oral sessions.
Jose Bianco Nascimento Moreira
Project daily manager
For the Portuguese version of this page, refer to the University of Sao Paulo’s website
Professor Ulrik Wisløff, NTNU, CERG / Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging – Project leader
Jose Bianco Moreira, NTNU, CERG / Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging – Project daily manager
Professor Patricia Brum, University of Sao Paulo, School of Physical Education and Sport, Brazil – Project coordinator in Brazil
Professor Geir Slupphaug, NTNU, Department of Cancer and Molecular Medicine
Professor Alessandra Medeiros, Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Prof. Carlos Eduardo Negrao, University of Sao Paulo, Heart Institute and Shool of Physical Education and Sport, Brazil
Professor Carlos R Bueno Jr., University of Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto School of Physical Education and Sport, Brazil
Professor Julio C. B. Ferreira, University of Sao Paulo, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Brazil
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