The European goal to develop a knowledge-based economy inevitably leads to the necessity of training more researchers for academic and private research. Even though in most cases doctoral studies involve training for research, in this project we would like to focus on training by research. In this way, the outstanding research expertise of the different partners in their respective areas, the practical know-how and the “hands on” scenarios provided by the industrial partners (companies and hospitals), and the experience of all the network participants and associated partners in organisational activities will allow us to implement a high quality training programme allowing the exchange of knowledge between the different Early stage researchers (ESRs) selected, which is described as follows.
A) Supervised research training projects for PhD students
Novel and attractive topics will be addressed based on the main research lines of the partners involved and on their collaboration with other research and technical partners. The network will promote the co-supervision of the ESRs’ research training projects and PhD studies. The additional co-supervision from another participant or associated partner will enrich the multidisciplinary and intersectorial aspects of the research carried our by the ESRs and will enhance the collaboration between the network partners.
B) Short stays in other network participant or a secondment in a technical associated partner
The ESR will thus complement the concepts acquired by either attending to that other participant’s local courses or benefiting from the associated partner’s technical expertise and “hands-on” scenario.
C) On-line course
The on-line course will include a whole programme on Medical Imaging (MI) using Bio-inspired (BC) and Soft Computing (SC) comprising 300 on-line hours (12 ECTS), composed of three different parts: i) a first block on MI (60 hours) and SC-BC (60 hours) fundamentals; ii) a second block on MI problems solved by SC-BC techniques (130 hours); and a third block for several ESRs’ individual and group activities (50 hours). The structure for the first block courses is: 1. Introduction: Main Soft Computing and Bio-inspired Computing techniques, 2. Fuzzy Set Theory and Fuzzy Systems, 3. Probabilistic Reasoning, 4. Neural Networks, 5. Local Search and Metaheuristics, 6. Evolutionary Computation , 7. Swarm and Collective Intelligence (ACO and PSO), 8. Hybrid SC-BC Approaches, 9. Machine Learning. The syllabus of the second block will be related to that in the two common training courses previously described, with the aim of extending it and providing reinforcement through a different learning modality (e-learning).
The first block is a complementary activity to the face-to-face local courses and to the short stay of the initial personalised training stage, while the second block will complement the two common training courses. Finally, the third block will encourage even more the active learning and “training by research” philosophy of our training programme as the ESRs will develop new contents for the course syllabus resulting from advances in their research training projects and will create and maintain an Internet portal on the ITN topic, under the supervision of the Network Supervisory Board.
The course syllabus will be a repository of multimedia material and on-line activities, completely accessible via Internet at any time and from any place through a shareware learning management system. The syllabus has been jointly designed by all the network participants and associated partners through the Network Supervisory Board. The learning materials has been developed by the partner owning the specific expertise required for each of them, thanks to the balanced structure of the network and the presence of outstanding experts on the three disciplines: MI, SC-BC, and SC-BC for MI.
D) Two training courses on MI Applications Using SC and BC
These training courses will deal with the core of the training programme, since they will focus on SC and BC-based intelligent system design to solve real-world MI problems. A detailed summary of real-world applications will be taught by different experts from the network participants and associated partners, including topics such as image reconstruction in MI modalities, filtering and processing of medical images, segmentation and feature extraction in MI, range and multimodal IR, and vision based systems for surgical navigation and surgical planning. A large number of practical cases will be studied in computer labs.
Two one-day-length workshops will be organised in which all ESRs will interact using presentations and open discussions of their research results. Senior researchers of the network participants and of the associated partners will attend these workshops in order to provide advice and suggestions to the ESRs.
F) Complementary skills
Two training courses will be taught that will deal with transverse and generic skills (i.e..: data management, ethical issues, creative thinking and problem resolution, etc.). These modules will be designed exclusively for the specific needs of the evolving research questions of the PhD candidates. Some of these generic skills modules will be delivered by experts from the research industry as they are better aware of current labour market needs.
G) Final Conference on SC-BC Applications to MI
A small, two days and a half conference, will be the last training event, where the ESRs who have followed the training programme will meet external researchers, to present their research results on the topic, to exchange their ideas, results, projects, etc. The final conference will include new proposals coming from external researchers not included in MIBISOC to enrich the event. The conference will include a single track, i.e., no parallel sessions will be held so that all of them can attend to all the sessions, and several round tables with leading experts on specific topics within the main discipline will be developed. On the other hand, it will also be used to establish contacts with additional industrial organisations and hospitals interested in the area, which will become potential users of the obtained developments and potential employers of the ESRs involved in the programme. The results presented by PhD students and those from the external researchers will be collected in a proceedings book. They can be in a form of regular papers, but also of contributions where each student describes the project of his/her PhD thesis, outlines his/her achievements and goals, and gives a description of the desired feedback.