There is a saying that goes “It takes a village to raise a child”, so it must take a lot of people to work on a project that targets every child!

While the conect4children (c4c) project has gathered together scientists, academics, clinical trial operators, families, advocacy groups, and more, there is another dedicated team working diligently behind the scenes to coordinate all the various elements and ensure the project’s success.

This team is run by the the Project Management Office (PMO). This group is composed of different institutions: a foundation (Fondazione Penta ETS), an academic institution (University of Liverpool) and pharmaceutical industry (Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine*). Together, these partners use their diverse expertise to ensure the project runs smoothly. The PMO is responsible for the scientific, administrative, financial, and contractual management of the project, and the coordination of all research activities under the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI2) Joint Undertaking & Innovative Health Initiative (IHI).

PMO (Penta, J&J Innovative Medicine* and ULIV) work jointly in three pillars (PM Forum, Logistics, and Administration/Legal) to focus their efforts.

Specifically, the tasks of the PMO include:

  • to be the central point of communication and to foster collaboration among all 46 project partners to take the project forward
  • to manage the periodic reporting and support the project partners to deliver the required documents or information comprehensively, accurately, and on time
  • to monitor the project progress in terms of milestones and deliverables and to monitor any project risks
  • to prepare the request for amendments to the Grant Agreement and assure smooth communication with the IMI2
  • to organise face-to face and virtual meetings and events to foster cross-team collaboration and interaction (General Assembly, Project Steering Committee, National Hub Forum etc.), preparing agendas and facilitate the participation of all required members
  • to maintain oversight of the different Consortium bodies to ensure that the required standards are met
  • to improve c4c processes, such as those for amendments, periodic reports and risk management, to increase the efficiency and quality of the action
  • to improve collaborations and synergies with other initiatives and projects.

The members of the PMO usually meet on a weekly basis to exchange knowledge and make sure that the above tasks are being performed.

“After six years of the c4c project, I am taking a moment to reflect on the crucial role behind the scenes of the PMO team. Initially, it was a very challenging and complex environment mainly due to the heterogeneous network and a large consortium. Thanks to the collaborative spirit, patience, and positive attitude the initial obstacles were overcome. As we are approaching the project closure it’s time to congratulate each member of the PMO team for their dedication and enormous effort in the day-to-day management. I am taking the opportunity to remind members of the PMO team that you are a vital part of a significant project such as c4c.”

Kruna Krstic, PMO Coordinator, Fondazione Penta ETS


“As the Project Manager for the c4c project, I take immense pride in being part of the c4c PMO team supporting 46 partners towards our mission of delivering better medicine for children, knowing the profound impact it will have on their lives”

Sofia Jacob, Program Manager Lead, J&J. * Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine, formerly Janssen Pharmaceutica NV


“As part of the original team that has worked on the project since the application stage, it has been quite an experience to get to where we are now, at these final stages. The PMO team have held a vital core role that has been instrumental in the success of the project from the outset, by building relationships with partners, to develop the fully functioning network we have established today. The dedication and enthusiasm of the remarkable people I have met within c4c have led to this success and they have made a real difference to paediatric research, both now and in the future.”

Barbara Reynolds, WP2/7 Project Manager, University of Liverpool


“It is an honor to be part of a project that revolutionizes how we deliver drugs to children and contribute to healthier and happier lives for many generations to come.”

Matthius Flourakis, Team Lead & Senior Project Manager at Akkodis Belgium providing services for Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine, formerly Janssen Pharmaceutica NV


“Joining the c4c project team at a later stage has been a privilege, allowing me to witness the impressive work accomplished in the preceding years. I am grateful for the warm welcome extended by the PMO team and managing WP6 has been remarkably smooth, thanks the effective groundwork laid by the team. I’m particularly proud to have contributed to results that will continue to be instrumental in shaping future advancements in paediatric medicine.”

Michele Gardini, WP6 Project Manager, Fondazione Penta ETS


“Being part of c4c has allowed me to connect with incredible individuals passionate about our cause. It has been a journey of growth and discovery for me. I’ve found joy in seeing our collaborative efforts come to fruition and make a real impact. I’m proud to contribute to something bigger than myself. It’s truly rewarding to be part of such an inspiring Community.”

Melania Kowatch, Communication, Dissemination, Exploitation, and Impact Assessment (WP8) Project Manager, from Fondazione Penta ETS


“As part of the original team that has worked on the project since the application stage, it has been an amazing experience to witness the journey of such a large and diverse network in its goal to develop better medicines for babies, children and young people through a pan-European clinical trial network, from the early days of c4c to these final stages. I will always remember with joy all these years of work as part of the PMO and a network of such enthusiastic, dedicated and passionate people. There were certainly complexities in managing a project of this magnitude, but thanks to the collaborative spirit and the skills acquired within the team, any difficulties were overcome. I am proud to have been able to contribute to the achievements of such a unique network.”

Silvia Faggion, Project Legal Senior Manager, Fondazione Penta ETS


“The c4c project has presented significant challenges for me, both in terms of the scale of the Consortium and the complexity of the project itself. This challenge has supported my personal growth and provided me with the opportunity to broaden my managerial skills.”

Daniel Jose Gomez, Finance Manager, Fondazione Penta ETS