The Laboratory of Excellence for Innovation in Signal Transduction Pathways in Life Sciences (Labex SIGNALIFE) brings together high-profile researchers from five institutes of biology (Centre Méditerranéen de Médecine Moléculaire, Institut de Biologie Valrose, Institut de Pharmacologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging, Nice and Institut Sophia Agrobiotech) and one research Institute for Digital Science and Technology (Inria) at Université Côte d’Azur in Nice, France. The common goal of the SIGNALIFE teams is to study signaling pathways from their architecture to their modulation, in order to understand their role in the development and the functions or dysfunctions of organs and organisms. Various biological models are used, and the applications resulting from basic and translational research include biomedical research, pharmacology, development and agriculture.

To strengthen its research on signaling pathways, SIGNALIFE launched an international call for Chairs of Excellence (2020-2024) to recruit scientific leaders to establish new research groups in each of the SIGNALIFE institutes of biology. Applications were open to candidates of any nationality, including researchers with a permanent position in France, but candidates must not be working in a SIGNALIFE laboratory at the time of their application. The proposed project had to be ambitious and related to the scientific axes of the SIGNALIFE program: Cellular Architecture of Signaling Pathways (axis 1), Plasticity of Signaling (axis 2), Stress Signaling (axis 3), Signaling in Aging and Disease Progression (axis 4) and New principles in Signaling and Applications, possibly in association with Inria (axis 5). The added value of the proposal to the SIGNALIFE network was an important selection criterion.

The selected scientist received a SIGNALIFE starter package (up to €600,000) for up to five years including operating costs (€100,000) and salaries (group leader/post-doc/PhD student/technician, up to €500,000). He/she was provided with office and laboratory space (around 50 m2) and will have access to basic laboratory equipment and to state-of-the-art institute core facilities. He/she was supported by dedicated university services for short-term lodging upon arrival (Faculty Club), given practical and administrative advice and assistance (Welcome Center) and received appropriate help and support to apply for other highly competitive national and European programs and for a French academic research position (if applicable).

Assessment of applications

International calls were open each year between 2020-2024. Depending on the pandemic period, shortlisted candidates were invited for a skype and/or on-site interviews: 1) with the concerned institute researchers and direction, and 2) with the international Labex Scientific Advisory Board. The final decision was taken by the welcoming institute and the selected candidates had to be validated by the SIGNALIFE Steering Committee.

To date, 4 Chairs of excellence have already been funded (see menu Chairs of Excellence Laureates) in accordance with the Labex 2 program and attractivity action planed in the initial project.

This is the last call, to recruit the 5th Chair at Institut Sophia Agrobiotech (ISA) Labex Institute.