The French National Research Agency Projects for science

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Preannouncement: a call for transnational proposals on infectious diseases will be online soon

The French National Research Agency, in partnership with ten European countries and one associated country (Israel), is set to launch a fourth call for proposals through the ERA-NET Infect-ERA. This initiative aims to promote international research on human infectious diseases. The call is scheduled to open on January 18, 2016.

The following funding organisations are expected to participate in the call:

  • the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Austria
  • the National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS), Belgium
  • the Research Foundation (FWO-Flanders), Belgium
  • the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT-Flanders), Belgium
  • the French National Research Agency (ANR), France
  • the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) represented by Project Management JĂźlich (PtJ), Germany
  • the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NKFIH), Hungary
  • the Chief Scientist Office, Ministry of Health (CSO-MOH), Israel
  • the Ministry of Health (MoH), Italy
  • the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR), Poland
  • the National Science Centre (NCN), Poland
  • the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Portugal
  • the National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation (ANCSI), Romania
  • the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO), Spain
  • the National Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII), Spain

Aim of the call

Infectious diseases are one of the major causes of death worldwide and cause more than a hundred thousand deaths each year in Europe. Changes in environment, mass migration and increased resistance to drugs result in the emergence of new diseases having a strong negative impact on the economy, due to the direct cost of their treatments and lost workdays and productivity.
In order to address these challenges and develop adapted treatments, preventive measures and diagnostic tools, the funding agencies participating in the Infect-ERA programme support research focused on the cross-talk between host and pathogens, as well as the relationship between microbes' environment and infection.

Promoting international research on human infectious diseases

With this fourth call, Infect-ERA aims to fund transnational and translational research, bringing together basic, applied and technology-driven research approaches of a broad variety of research topics regarding human infectious diseases. The call will enable multinational, collaborative research projects addressing specific topics of human infectious diseases caused by bacteria, virus, fungi or protozoa.

Two main research topics, which are equal in relevance for this call, have been identified:

A. The host-pathogen interactions, with regard to clinically relevant microbial clones, focused on host susceptibility (e.g., innate immune response, populations at risk, etc.).

B. Development of innovative strategies for the diagnostic and treatment of highly clinically relevant microbial infections; optimisation of antimicrobial therapy in individual patients and development of biomarkers to allow individual response prediction.

To address the above two topics, the proposals could contemplate:

I.

Identification of host factors that define host susceptibility in regards to infection, disease progression and transmissibility.

II.

Differences in susceptibility to infections between individuals or inadequate response to infections and/or treatments.

III.

Host molecular mechanisms that define the competence of the pathogen.

IV.

Development of innovative strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of microbial infections for personalised treatments.

V.

Identification of biomarkers based on host-pathogen interactions enabling individual response prediction to shorten antimicrobial treatment courses.

VI.

Identification of rare mutations associated with host susceptibility.

VII.

Individual differences in response to vaccination.

VIII.

Development of innovative antimicrobial strategies focused on exploiting the host immune response.

IX.

Development of new methods for rapid determination of drug levels and/or microbial burden, at different body sites and in different bodily fluids, to optimise antimicrobial therapy in an individual patient.

Proposals dealing with HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are not in the scope of the call

The proposals should successfully a) show a close cooperation between academic and clinical and/or industrial participants, b) convincingly present the application (exploitation) of the project results, and c) demonstrate a clear benefit to the public.

General conditions for application

Research proposals may be submitted by:

  • higher education institutions,
  • non-university public research establishments (including hospitals and clinics),
  • commercial companies, in particular small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs),
  • researchers according to relevant national regulations.

Only transnational projects will be funded. Each collaborative consortium should have the optimal critical mass to achieve ambitious scientific goals and should clearly show an added value from working together. Each consortium submitting a proposal must involve:

  • a maximum of six partners, however, applicants are encouraged to include partners funded by the following funding organisation: ANCSI (Romania), IWT-Flanders (Belgium) NCBR (Poland), NCN (Poland) and NKIH (Hungary). If such partners are included in the consortium, the maximum number of partners can be increased up to seven
  • a maximum of two partners per country
  • a minimum of three partners, which must be eligible for the funding organisations of three different countries participating in this call (see the list of funding organisations above)

Young researchers - Part of the available funding is dedicated especially to consortia of young scientists. Each project leader of such consortia must be a “young researchers”, which is defined as having been earned a PhD or equivalent at least two and a maximum of nine years before the deadline for submission of pre-proposals (periods of maternity/paternity leave or military service shall be taken into account).
Each agency will fund its own national teams; therefore the candidates will have to respect the eligibility rules of their respective agency. The ANR will fund the French teams only. Project evaluation and selection will be based on peer review.
Submissions of proposals will be carried out in two steps. Pre-proposals must be submitted by March 17, 2016. Only successful consortia at the pre-proposal stage will be invited to submit a full proposal before July 15, 2016.

 

Find out more:

Infect-ERA: Infectious diseases under Europe's microscope
Infect-ERA is an ERA-NET initiative coordinated by ANR. Supported by the European Commission, this instrument is aimed at developing and reinforcing the coordination of national research programmes.
The fourteen partners belonging to the ERA-NET launch calls for proposals aimed at funding interdisciplinary and transnational research. They target all basic aspects of human infection biology research dealing with bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoa. The objective is to avoid duplicate research, to share experience, know-how, data and equipment, and to identify and respond to any needs in terms of research.
Infect-ERA also aims to develop a sustainable framework of cooperation on infectious diseases in Europe and to strengthen the European Research Area in the field. Supporting young researchers and improving knowledge between European scientists are also part of its priorities.
A continuation of the ERA-NET Pathogenomics which had previously launched three calls for proposals, Infect-ERA is set to launch its fourth call in 2016.

 

 

15.12.15