Network of Centres of Excellence in Neurodegeneration Launches Call for Pathfinder Research Projects

The Network of Centres of Excellence in Neurodegeneration (CoEN) is an international initiative involving research funders in the UK (Medical Research Council), Canada (Canadian Institutes of Health Research), Germany (DZNE), Belgium (Flanders, VIB), Ireland (Science Foundation Ireland), Italy (Ministry of Health), Slovakia (MESRS), Spain (ISCIII) and France (ANR).

Since its inception in 2010, CoEN has delivered four calls for proposals. A new call for Pathfinder projects has been launched by six of the nine CoEN members (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK) which seeks to address the need for innovative research to underpin new approaches to therapeutic intervention.

The call sets out to encourage the community to think “outside the box”, to stimulate new and unconventional high risk/high reward approaches and creative solutions to the challenges of neurodegeneration research.

To maximise the potential for innovation, the scientific remit for “Pathfinder” awards is broad in scope. Projects may include studies to illuminate understanding of neurodegenerative mechanisms, or create technological advances to support novel diagnostic or therapeutic approaches. Connectivity with research in related areas, such as inflammation and sensory neuroscience, or vascular and mental health is encouraged, as is outreach to experts in the fields of physical and computational science.

Types of neurodegenerative disease research to be supported include:

1. Cutting edge basic, translational and/or clinical studies.

2. Novel reductionist systems.

3. Innovative disease models.

4. Systems biology/medicine.

5. Proof of concept for new therapeutic approaches.

6. Supportive technological development for the above.

Only joint trans-national research projects will be funded. Proposals must involve researchers from at least two CoEs (or eligible institutions) from different countries. More than one CoE may be involved within any single country, as long as the primary cross-border criterion is met. Previous CoEN-funded consortia can bid for funds for new science projects if aligned with the scope of the call.

Projects should identify a lead principal applicant and one principal applicant from each participating country. An investigator may not be a principal applicant on more than one project submitted through this call.

The initiative has made approximately £3.6 million (€4.2 million or CA$6.4 million) available for projects of up to 24 months in duration. Total combined costs across collaborating CoEs can be typically in the range of £100,000 to £350,000 (€117,000-€410,000 or CA$176,000-CA$616,000). For proposals that involve clinical studies or animal models, proposals up to £575,000 (€673,000 or CA$1 million) can be considered. Funding primarily supports direct research costs within CoEs.

The funding partners will fund the research component performed by researchers associated with CoEs/institutions within their respective jurisdictions, according to their standard terms and conditions. 

Applicants must use the CoEN application form provided on the call webpage. Applications should be submitted by the 4 November 2019 (16:00 GMT) deadline.

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.