Since March 2022 I have been a Mentor for the EIC Women Leadership Programme (European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA)), providing personalised mentorship to support the role of women in innovation and tech.

It has been a pleasure to cooperate with my mentee Dr. Claudia Consales, who is an excellent researcher at ENEA and who is the Coordinator of the European project RISEUP.

Why joining the WLP?


I decided to join the WLP considering my background, which could be useful for innovative researchers dealing with European projects or women entrepreneurs starting their new businesses and start-ups.

My experience started several years ago, first with SOLWA an innovative start up in the green technology sector then in a multinational company and finally I decided to become a freelance consultant.

I had learnt to deal with investor programs, marketing, and international business cooperation, as well as European projects. I thought that my background could fit with the WLP, also considering my previous experience as a mentee with a women entrepreneurship program I followed during my Erasmus for Young Entrepreneur. 


Sara Canella_WLP_EIC



Which is the RISEUP project about?


RISEUP is a project funded by FET.OPEN H2020 grant and aims at developing an innovative approach for spinal cord injury (SCI) regeneration.

SCI is a devasting condition caused by a damage caused by compression, laceration, or contusion of the spinal cord that impairs its function. The consequence of this failure is permanent sensorimotor deficit including paralysis, autonomic dysfunctions, and neuropathic pain. The injured spinal cord fails to repair itself and there is no therapy that could take to this goal.

In RISEUP, stem cells will be transplanted and stimulated with ultra-short electric pulses, which, by modulating intracellular calcium fluxes, will induce their differentiation in neurons. The transplantation and the stimulation will be performed thanks an electrified biocompatible, biodegradable scaffold, and, to reduce the invasiveness of the whole procedure, the stimulus will be delivered wireless.

 How was your experience in the WLP?


Having Claudia as a mentee has been very inspiring, she is so passionate with her work and project, I think she can really do the difference in the future with her research project. I know the importance of not only being focused on the scientific and technical aspects, for that reason I have tried to share with her my experience and discuss together how she could manage the challenges. I think that one of her best qualities is the capacity of delegate and the gratitude she has for her team.


Which are the challenges that you have faced together?

The challenges that we have faced together are the ones related with the development of such an innovative project, which is quite difficult to lead considering the ambitious outputs to achieve, the difficulties of leading a big Consortium with partners coming from different countries and background. It is an aspect that I face in my job too, so it has been helpful sharing common experiences and discuss different ways of face the possible problems.

In my opinion, it is very important to share experiences, build relevant networks with other professionals and stakeholders, to facilitate the personal and project development. We are very strong when we can be part of a group and learning from other experiences!


Would you like further information about the EIC Women Leadership Programme? 


Feel free to contact me to arrange a meeting: I will be delighted to answer any questions you may have!  

Sara Canella

Sara Canella

EU Funding, Innovation & Marketing

I am a freelance consultant specialized in applying for and managing European funding for companies and start-ups active in the field of research and innovation. My work includes the creation of business plans, development plans and marketing plans aiming at applying for European calls for proposals. My objective is to provide companies active in innovation with some concrete tools to start their projects and with my know-how to convert them into real business opportunities.