Art. 1 – Establishment of the Centre

The Centre for Molecular and Translational Oncology – COMT – belongs to the University of Parma and was founded pursuant to Art. 29 of the General Regulations of the University and Art. 1 of the Regulations governing the modalities and procedures for the creation and management of University Research Centres. Hence, the hitherto outlined Regulations of the Centre are adopted in accordance with the General Regulations of the University of Parma. Constitution of COMT is approved by the Board of Directors of the University of Parma, whose resolution is reported in a corresponding Decree of the University Chancellor. Within the limitations provided by the General Regulations and with specific reference to the organizational, management and financial aspects, COMT acts as an independent entity governed by the hitherto defined Regulations, These are approved by the internal decision-making bodies of the Centre and by the Board of Directors of the University of Parma.

Art. 2 – Premises and Mission

COMT aims at promoting and coordinating experimental and clinical activities related to basic, applied and translational oncological research. A central element the COMT’s activities is their potential clinical outcomes and the associated technological and industrial transfers that may derive from such achievements. While acquiring a wider basic knowledge and progressing through development of new and more sophisticated experimental procedures, advancing of the cancer field demands a closer cooperation between researchers with diversified backgrounds, experiences and skills. This with the purpose of optimizing the multi-disciplinary nature of the proposed actions and streamlining the potential clinical-industrial transfers.

Said optimizations are not only necessary for guaranteeing the outermost competitiveness of the research carried out at the national and international level, but also to allow for the generated products to more rapidly and more effectively reach the cancer patient. It is believed that the full “translational” nature of the cancer research conducted by COMT may be effectively achieved in those cases where an intertwining collaboration is created between basic research groups and clinicians. Hence, the blending and merging of said complementary skills is one of COMT’s main goals.

In order to ensure the optimal intersection of research activities of highly diversified nature, as well as to encourage the possibility that these activities may lead to new ideas on valuable clinical applications, it also necessary to find the right formulas to amalgamate highly diverse lines of research and experimental approaches. Constitution of COMT may be viewed as an initial step in this direction, creating a first connection between basic research, applied research, and clinical research groups actively engaged in providing assistance to the cancer patient. COMT thus intends to act as a sponsor for the design of new multi-disciplinary research approaches aimed at generating technical-scientific products with applicative outputs in the industrial and clinical sectors. To this end, COMT strives at acting as an interface between the University of Parma and its researchers and the national and international public and private organizations that support and encourage cancer research, and/or promote the commercial exploitation of the end products of such research.

Art. 3 – Resources and Personnel

COMT pursues its goals by taking advantage of the human and financial resources and facilities granted to the Centre by the participating Departments of the University of Parma. Members of COMT may also allocate, in full or in part, research funds, funds resulting from research cooperation, licensing and service agreements, research contracts, donations or any other type of revenue for which they are responsible, such as to warrant an effective sustainment of the Centre’s operational status.

In accordance with the University of Parma’s Rules defining the modalities with which employees of the University may serve private or public bodies not belonging to the University and/or may engage in research contracts stipulated with such bodies, at discretion of one or more of COMT’s Members who as Principal Investigators for the service/contract and in agreement with the President, part of the funds acquired through such activities may allocated as a monetary compensation to Members of the Centre who have been involved in the activities, or personnel in charge of the accounting and administrative matters of the Centre. In this latter case, the maximum amount that can be allocated should not exceed 3% of the total budget of the contract, or the gross costs of the service.    

COMT may avail itself, on a temporary or more permanent basis, of technical and administrative personnel affiliated with the associated Departments. This personnel may be assigned to the Centre on a full- or part-time basis by means of resolution of the Department’s Board of Members. Moreover, COMT may avail itself of personnel undergoing training and/or hired with a fixed-term contract for the execution of specific research projects funded by COMT. In compliance with the Italian law and the University of Parma financial regulations in force, the Centre may access the following financial resources:

  • funds allocated to the Centre by the Departments or University of Parma’s Central Administration;
  • research funds allocated to the Centre by the individual members of COMT;
  • research funds received by public or private organizations;
  • donations from public or private bodies;
  • revenues and royalties from intellectual property licensing or sales, service and cooperation agreements, and research contracts that the COMT may enter into with public or private entities.

For the execution of the COMT’s activities, the contributing Departments make available to the Centre their instruments and laboratories, while assuring that the full accessibility of these assets remains granted to the Department’s members through enforcement of specific rules adopted by the Centre. COMT is responsible for the operating, ordinary and extraordinary expenses associated with the running, servicing and maintenance of the equipment and laboratories that it accesses.

Equipment made available to COMT by the Departments may, upon request by a Member of the Centre belonging to that Department, be transferred to COMT. Such transfer remains, however, subjected to compliance with the procedures set forth by the University of Parma General Regulations and/or by the Regulations adopted by the transferring Department. The operating costs for the instrumentation and facilities taken over by the Centre from Departments shall remain a full responsibility of the Centre.

The Centre is further entitled to acquire with proper funds, or funds provided by public and private sponsors, instruments and accessories, including those that may be needed to equip laboratories, experimental facilities, animal houses and offices. COMT is similarly entitled to rent or lease equipment from public and private bodies, as well as offer for rent its equipment and facilities to public and private institutions that may have interests in pursuing independent analyses. In such case, COMT may rent single pieces, or sets of equipment, on the hourly, daily or monthly basis, or for longer periods of time, according to the adopted specific Regulations governing the modalities and costs for such renting.

Art. 4 – Duration and Offices

COMT remains active for a period of three years, starting from the date of foundation, and is automatically renewed for additional three-years periods, unless terminated by means of resolution by the Centre’s Board of Directors. COMT’s Administrative Offices are located within the building for technology transfer at the Parco Area delle Scienze of the University of Parma, denominated “Laboratori di Strutture e Trasferimento Tecnologico”, whereas COMT’s

Directorate is located within the Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability.

Art. 5 – Composition

The following Departments of the University of Parma are contributing to COMT organization, management and research activities:

  • Department of Chemistry and Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability
  • Department of Medical Sciences;

Permanent employees of the University of Parma and Associated Professors holding tenure-track positions, affiliated with other Departments than those listed above, may be nominated Members of COMT, following approval by the Centre’s Board of Directors. The Professors and Technical Staff listed in the hitherto appended Annex 1 are the founder Members of the Centre and are organized according to the Organizational Chart shown in Annex 2.

Art. 6 – Financial and Administrative Management

The hitherto detailed Regulations are implementable as defined by the Board of Directors of the University of Parma and the corresponding Decree of the University Chancellor. Any subsequent changes to these Regulations must be proposed by the COMT’s Board of Directors and submitted to the University overruling Board of Directors for approval. Changes shall become effective upon the issuing of the corresponding Decree signed by the University Chancellor.

COMT is financially and administratively independent within the limitations of the University of Parma General Regulations in force. For administrative and accounting fulfilments, the Centre relies upon an Administrative Coordinator appointed for the purpose by the Central Administration, after having consulted the Centre’s President, and central offices of the University of Parma in charge of legal and financial affairs.

Art. 7 – Organization

As delineated in the Organization Chart (Annex 2), the Board of Directors and the President of the Centre are the bodies responsible for adopting resolutions. The role of “Consultation Body” is played by the Technical-Scientific Committee, consisting of a minimum of 3 (three) and a maximum of 5 (five) members, usually representing by worldwide renown scientists who are not affiliated with the University of Parma, including scientists operating abroad and experts on the topics of research and/or activities carried out by the Centre. The Committee assists the President and Board of Directors in defining the Centre’s strategic operational lines, in the current and annual evaluation of these activities and in the evaluation of the achievement of outlined objectives.

Art. 8 – The Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is composed of the Scientific Managers of the Operational Units that make up the Centre and/or designated representatives of these Operational Units, provided that they are formally appointed Members of the Centre. Meetings of the Board of Directors is chaired by the appointed President of the Centre, or its Delegate, while the Administrative Coordinator normally acts as Secretary.

The Board is responsible for the following the tasks:

  • duties to be undertaken during the financial year:
    • defining the general outline of the Centre’s activities;
    • approving contracts and agreements to be entered into with public and/or private institutions, for amounts greater than 50,000 Euros, but equal or lower than 100,000 Euros, as well as verify the feasibility and coherency of these contracts and agreements with the scope and established aims of the Centre;
    • adopting resolutions on any other matter submitted for review by the President of the Centre or by other components of the Board of Directors;
    • adopting resolutions regarding any proposed changes to the Centre’s Regulations;
  • pursuing all duties to be undertaken at the beginning of each financial year:
    • defining the outline, workflow and aims of the Centre’s activities, normally by taking into account any suggestions or recommendations made by the Technical-Scientific Committee;
    • approving the provisional budget for the following financial year;
  • duties to be undertaken at the end of the fiscal year:
    • The President of the Centre is responsible for;

    • approving the final financial statements;

    • evaluating the degree of achievement of the predefined objectives based upon, if   necessary, a separate evaluation provided by the Technical-Scientific Committee;
    • identifying possible corrective actions to be implemented for the pursuing of the forthcoming activities.

In case of impediment or absence of the Administrative Coordinator, the minutes of the Meetings of the of the Board of Directors shall be handled by a Member of the Board, upon suggestion by the President. Said substitution must be indicated in the minutes of the meeting.

The Board of Directors appoints new Members of the Centre, with the qualified majority of at least two thirds of the Board in favour and by providing the reasons in case of rejection.

The Board of Directors is also responsible for approving the financial administration and conduction of scientific research activities supported by public or private grants, scholarships, contracts with public or private institutions, consultant contracts and conferment of assignments for professional services to individuals who are not part of the Centre.

Art. 9 – Meetings of the Board of Directors

The Board of Directors convenes a minimum of 4 (four) times per year. The Centre’s President is responsible for convening the Board through a written notice. In order for the meetings to be valid, they have to be convened by means of a written convocation, transmitted by fax or electronic mail, indicating the day, time, place and the preliminary Agenda of the meeting to all members of the Board and respecting the advance notice of at least 5 (five) days prior to the date on which the meeting is scheduled.

The Board must be convened at least once before March 31th, for approving the Financial Report related to the previous Fiscal Year; before June 15th for approving the Annual Scientific Report referred to the previous year’s activities and accompanied by the Research Plan for the forthcoming year; and before December 15th for approving the Provisional Budget of the forthcoming Fiscal Year. Moreover, the Board of Directors can be convened by the President for an extraordinary meeting whenever there is a need for it.

The Meetings of the Board of Directors are entitled to adopt definite resolutions when at least 2/3 of the participating Members are present. Resolutions are adopted with the majority of the Members in favour, not counting the justified absentees. In case of a tie, the President’s vote shall be the deciding one. In cases of renewal of the President, or in cases of unforeseen impediments, the Board of Directors is convened by the Member of the Centre with the highest academic seniority (Deputy Director).

The Administrative Coordinator or, if absent, the Secretary selected for specific meeting among its members, draws up the minutes of the meeting. The sections of the minutes containing resolutions that must go into effect prior to the next meeting. The minutes become final with the approval of the Board of Directors during the following meeting. The motions, which must be presented in writing and formulated in the affirmative form, are approved when the number of votes in favour is greater than the sum of the contrary and abstained votes. In case of a tie, the President’s vote shall prevail.

Voting is carried out in an ordinary way by the raising of hands. The secret vote is mandatorily resorted to when specifically requested by the President or by a Member of the Board.

Art. 10 – The President

COMT’s President oversees and coordinates the Centre, handling the implementation of the resolutions adopted by the Board of Directors. The President is further responsible for the administrative organization and management of the Centre. He is assisted by the Administrative Coordinator, who deals with the fulfilments of administrative and accounting matters.

The President is elected by the Board of Directors with the majority of the entitled Members, stays in office for a three years mandate, and can be re-elected consecutively for an unlimited number of times.

The President is elected by means of a secret vote during the course of the Centre’s first meeting after its foundation and after any renewal. In case it would become necessary to elect a new President, the Deputy Director convenes, within sixty days from the exiting President’s revocation date, the meeting of the Members entitled to vote in order to accomplish the election procedure. Pending the election and appointment of the new President, the tasks normally carried out by the Centre’s President are assigned to the Deputy Director.

The President designates a Member of the Board of Directors as Vice President in his/her replacement in case of absence or temporary impediment. Should said absence or impediment last longer than six months, the President automatically falls from office. In case the President resigns or terminates his office for any reason whatsoever, a new President is elected according to the procedure outlines above. In case the new President is elected within the course of the three-year mandate, the new President’s shall stay in office only for the period that goes from the appointment to the end of the Centre’s three-year period of duration.

The President is granted the power to represent the COMT, to chair the Board of Directors and to handle the execution of the adopted resolutions.

With the assistance of the Board of Directors, the President promotes the Centre’s activities, handles relationships with the Technical-Scientific Committee, the University of Parma decision-making bodies and the Central Administration, and enforces COMT’s internal Regulations.

The President is specifically responsible for:

  • coordinating the COMT’s activities;
  • convening and chairing the meeting of the Board of Directors;
  • approving contracts and agreements for amounts equal or below 50,000 Euro;
  • drawing up the guidelines for the Centre’s financial management;
  • elaborating the annual research plan;
  • delineating the budget for the following year, to be submitted to the approval of the Board of Directors, and enclosing a detailed report that illustrates the nature, source and presumed utilization of the funds

Art. 11 – Subdivision of Resources upon disbanding of the Centre

Should the COMT be disbanded, the instrumentation, facilities and accessories made available to it by the contributing Departments shall be reassigned to the original Department. As regards the instrumentation purchased directly by the Centre, using funds specifically assigned to it and/or acquired by it, these shall be first be offered for management to the

individual Operational Units that make up the Centre, and secondly to the Department to which personnel of these units belongs.