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Article: AMYPAD
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19th October 2022
INTERview with mery loor, member of amypad's project management office

Can you explain SYNAPSE’s role and involvement in AMYPAD?
After nearly 25 years of experience working with complex research projects, Synapse is well aware of the importance of going beyond classical project management. This means that in our day-to-day we strive to bring added value by structuring teams properly, supporting the Project Coordination on defining the vision accurately, and applying strategic thinking. Moreover, I would personally mention the importance of cooperation, flexibility, and proactivity when working alongside such a diverse group of members of this initiative. All these values together are key to the project’s success. Specifically, in the case of AMYPAD, we have been involved in multiple activities including scientific advice procedures, administrative, financial, and legal management. Also, we have set up tools to promote cohesion among partners and to strengthen alliances with other initiatives.

What has been SYNAPSE’s greatest achievement?
On one side, I would say that one of our main achievements is to have contributed to promoting smooth communications among project participants, but also with the funding agency (IMI JU ). In this type of public-private initiative, there are many stakeholders involved and they have their needs and expectations. Therefore, for us it has been critical to facilitate communication channels, to understand the challenges from stakeholders to manage their expectations and to support the Scientific Coordination on the development of ad hoc solutions. On the other side, I would point out the establishment of a project governance which has been able to steer the project developments. This structure has allowed the project participants to work collaboratively in transforming objectives from the work plan into successful results. The Executive Committee who has met every week has been crucial for the monitoring of the project results, but also for the detection of any potential deviation from the project plan.

What has been AMYPAD’s biggest accomplishment?
In terms of management, it is important to emphasize the flexibility that AMYPAD participants showed in overcoming the barriers caused by COVID-19, specially with the focus to minimize the impact on the recruitment of studies. All partners had to face a new context and deal with the setbacks from the pandemic’s effects. Nevertheless, project activities and final results have been achieved. From a scientific point of view, there have been important milestones fulfilled as well, including a great dataset collected, a major impact on scientific publications, and the networking with centers of excellence and experts.

What are your thoughts on AMYPAD continuing in the future?
The project participants have worked intensively over the last six years. Now, most of these members are currently working on how to move forward after the finalisation of the EC funding period and on how to sustain some project results. The work on exploitation of results was initiated in previous year, with the objective of identifying main assets and potential scenarios to sustain them. Finally, I believe alliances will have an important role in the future of the AMYPAD assets. To date, many collaborations have been set up with other projects and scientific initiatives such as EPAD, NEURONET and ADDI. All this work could not have been done without the commitment of all project participants.

AMYPAD aims at studying the onset, dynamics, and clinical relevance of brain β-amyloid in the spectrum from normal ageing, through subjective cognitive decline towards mild cognitive impairment and ultimately dementia due to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), studying the value of β-amyloid imaging as a diagnostic and therapeutic marker for AD.

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