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Joint Transnational Call for Proposals 2018 (JTC 2018): “Transnational Cardiovascular Research Projects driven by Early Career Scientists”
Deadline: 15 Mar 2018   CALL EXPIRED

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1. Purpose

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the largest cause of death in the European Union (EU), as they account for around 2 million deaths per year. Furthermore, they are one of the leading causes of long-term sickness; chronic diseases and loss to the labour market thus pose a major health and socioeconomic problem in Europe and beyond. Based on a better understanding of the causes of CVD, development of new innovative medicinal products and improvement in medical technology requires innovative research based on scientific excellence. Cardiovascular research and its translation into better preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic outcomes are fun- damental for patients in Europe and worldwide.

The ERA-NET on Cardiovascular Diseases (ERA-CVD) has been established under the ERA- NET scheme of the European Commission (http://www.ERA-CVD.eu). The aim of ERA-CVD is to foster new, but also extend existing transnational cooperation of European countries, and to coordinate research efforts and funding programmes of its partner countries.

Under the umbrella of ERA-CVD, the third joint transnational call (JTC2018) is now launched to promote co-operation and interchange between Early Career Scientists (for definition please see chapter 3.2) and thus enable international collaboration and new consortia establishment in all cardiovascular areas. The following funding organisations have agreed to fund this joint call for multinational research projects. The call will be conducted simultaneously by the funding organisations in their respective countries and coordinated centrally by the Joint Call Secretari- at.

  • Austria: Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

  • Belgium: Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)

  • Belgium: Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique - FNRS (F.R.S.-FNRS)

  • Canada: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

  • Estonia: Estonian Research Council (ETAg)

  • France: French National Research Agency (ANR)

  • Germany: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

  • Italy: Italian Ministry of Health (MoH-IT)

  • Latvia: State Education Development Agency (VIAA)

  • Norway: The Research Council of Norway (RCN)

  • Poland: National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR)

  • Portugal: Ministry of Health Portugal (MS)

  • Romania: Ministerul Cercetarii si Inovarii

  • Slovakia: Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS)

  • Spain: National Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII)

  • Taiwan: Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST)

  • The Netherlands: Dutch Heart Foundation (DHF)

  • Turkey: The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK)

 

 

2. Aim of the Call

JTC2018 aims at enabling Early Career Scientists (for definition please see chapter 3.2) in dif- ferent countries to build an effective collaboration on common multidisciplinary research pro- jects. The consortia should be based on complementarities and sharing of expertise in the field of cardiovascular disease, with a clear translational research approach. The call aims to pro- mote co-operation and interchange between Early Career Scientists and thus enable interna- tional collaboration and new consortia establishment in cardiovascular research. Cardiovascular disease research can comprise hypertensive, ischaemic, pulmonary heart diseases and diseas- es of pulmonary circulation, other forms of heart disease, diseases of arteries, arterioles and capillaries and congenital malformations of cardiac chambers and connections and cardiac sep- ta (analogues to ICD-10). The opportunity to independently develop and perform highly innova- tive research projects enables capacity building and empowering of Early Career Scientists.

The ERA-CVD funding organizations particularly wish to promote multi-disciplinary work and translational research proposals. The individual components of joint applications should be complementary and contain novel, ambitious ideas to answer key questions or lead to a step- wise change in understanding of cardiovascular diseases. There should be a clear added value in funding the collaboration over individual projects by sharing of resources (models, databases, diagnosis etc.), harmonisation of data, sharing of specific know-how and/or innovative technolo- gies, etc. The research proposals should be built on an effective collaboration between the dif- ferent research participants from different countries. Each transnational consortium should rep- resent the critical mass necessary to achieve ambitious scientific goals. Applicants are encour- aged to demonstrate engagement with clinics, patient organisations and small and medium-size enterprises (SME) for their active participation including sharing of resources, capabilities and expertise in order to ensure an efficient transfer of pre-clinical results into clinical utility.

Research proposals should consider the following cross-sectional aspects:

  • Interdisciplinary approach, e.g. integrating biomedicine, physics, chemistry, mathe- matics, informatics, systems biology and clinical medicine for the development of the applications;

  • Research on sex/gender differences in order to give further mechanistic insights into the development of the disease, its progression and to identify difference in treatment responses;

  • Translational research approach or perspective.
    The following types of research projects are excluded from the call:

    • Interventional clinical trials;

    • Building up of new cohorts, registries and/or biomaterial banks;

    • Cerebrovascular and rheumatic diseases;

  • Research that primarily leads to cardiovascular risk management. Risk management is understood as long term health improvement and/or CAD prevention;

  • Conducting screenings.

 

3. Application

3.1 General Eligibilty

Joint transnational research proposals may be submitted by academic research teams working in universities (or other higher education or research institutions), non-university public research institutes, clinical/public health sector research teams (from hospitals/public health and/or other health care settings and health organisations), as well as by enterprises’ research teams work- ing in commercial companies, particularly small and medium-size enterprises when allowed by national/regional regulations.

The eligibility of the afore-mentioned institutions, together with details of eligible costs (e.g. per- sonnel, material, consumables, travel money, investments), are subject to the administrative requirements of individual funding organizations and will therefore differ. Please note that, for some funding organizations, commercial companies are not eligible or are only eligible under certain conditions (e.g. only in partnership with academic institutions in the consortium). Clarifi- cation should be obtained from the individual funding agencies (see contact details below). It is advised to read carefully all national annexes regarding eligibility and funding by the respective funding agencies.

Only transnational projects will be funded. Each consortium submitting a proposal must be com- prised of a minimum of three research groups eligible for funding by organizations listed in this call text (see list above). The eligible research groups must be from at least three (3) different countries. The total number of research groups in a consortium is limited to five (5). A consorti- um must not involve more than one research group from the same country or region participat- ing in the call, unless the second partner is an associated partner who secures his/her own funding. As an exception, two (2) research groups from Spain may be comprised in the same research consortium. Each Principal Investigator (PI) - in an applicant consortium cannot partic- ipate in more than one proposal. In the Belgian case also two (2) research groups per consorti- um are allowed, however participation is limited to one partner per region/community, which in practice comes down to one partner per participating Belgian funding agency, per consortium. ERA-CVD strives to strengthen the European Research Area in the field of cardiovascular dis- eases by including as many partner countries as possible in its funding scheme. Therefore, consortia including partners from countries that are to date underrepresented in this funding scheme (Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Turkey) may increase the total num- ber of partners to six (6).

 

Research groups not eligible to their national funding organizations or from countries which are not involved in this call may participate in projects only if their participation clearly provides an added value to the consortium and if they present evidence of a secured budget for their part in the project. Already at the stage of the pre-proposal submission, such partners have to confirm that their funding is secured. The availability of the funding must be documented at the stage of full proposal submission. Such research groups are not considered in the minimum number of three research groups mentioned above. In any case, the total number of eligible research groups in one consortium must not exceed five, or six if one of the underrepresented countries listed above is comprised and maximum seven (7), when including one partner with secured own funding.

Each consortium should have the critical mass necessary to achieve ambitious scientific goals and should clearly demonstrate added value by working together. Each project must nominate a project coordinator who represents the consortium externally and is responsible for its internal management (e.g. the application procedure, the consortium agreement, reporting). The consor- tium coordinator must be eligible to be funded by one of the organizations listed in this call text. Only projects that fulfil the legal and ethical international/EU and national and institutional standards will be funded. Funding for this kind of project will be dependent on a positive review from the appropriate and responsible ethical and legal committee(s). All procedures involving human beings will conform to the Helsinki Declaration.

Although applications must be submitted jointly by groups from several countries, the individual research groups will be funded by the individual ERA-CVD funding organization(s) of their re- spective countries. Eligibility criteria are the matter of individual partner funding organizations. Inclusion of a partner in a proposal who is not eligible for funding according to the specific regu- lations of their respective funding agency may result in the rejection of the entire proposal with- out further review.

Therefore, applicants are strongly advised to follow the instructions in the country-specific eligi- bility tables which are published on the ERA-CVD website and to contact their national funding organization to confirm eligibility before submitting an application. Additionally, eligible partners must come from at least three (3) different countries participating in the call (see list above).

The duration of the projects can be up to 3 years. Nevertheless, a research group can receive funding for less than 3 years according to eligibility criteria and regulations of the funding organ- izations participating in the ERA-CVD JTC 2018.

 

 

3.2 Specific eligibility

The Early Career Scientist must have been awarded his/her first doctoral degree at least 3 and up to 101 years prior to the pre-proposal submission deadline of the ERA-CVD JTC 2018 call. Extensions to this eligibility period may be allowed in case of reasonably justified career breaks, which must be properly documented. Acceptable career breaks are leaves of absence for ma- ternal, paternal or long-term sick leave and compulsory military service.

  • Applicants may subtract the time spent on leaves of absence in connection with child- birth and adoption, i.e. pregnancy, birth, parental, or care leave. This applies to mothers and fathers alike. Only the actual amount of time spent by the applicant on leave/at home with the child may be deducted, with a limit of 100 per cent leave for 12 months per child.

  • Applicants may also subtract time for full-time, continuous leaves of absence for more than eight weeks in connection with illness in their immediate family. The time to be de- ducted will be calculated from the first day of the leave.

  • Applicants may subtract the entire period of completed compulsory military service, in- cluding compulsory civilian national service.

  • Applicants may subtract the time spent on full-time, continuous sick leave for more than eight weeks. The time to be deducted will be calculated from the first day of the sick leave.

  • Proper documentation of leaves and other absence include the verification of leave and other types of absence (by employers or physicians, etc.) and must be attached to the grant application. Applicants who were not employed at the time of the birth or adoption of their child must submit a copy of the child’s birth certificate and specify how long they were at home with the child, with a limit of 100 per cent leave for 12 months per child. All time deductions to be included must also be listed in the CV.

Eligible events that take place within the extension of the eligibility window may lead to further extensions. The cumulative eligibility period should not in any case surpass 14 years following the doctoral/inauguration. No allowance will be made for principal investigators working part- time.

Applicants must have the necessary qualifications (see above) and the required infrastructure to perform the project. It is essential that applicants have published excellent work in international scientific journals or have made recognized contributions in the scientific community to the de- velopment of a particular field. Candidates must prove that they are scientifically independent, for example that they lead or have led a research group or project.

 

 

ERA-CVD Joint Transnational Call 2018

With the support of the host institution, successful Principle Investigators (PI’s) will be expected to lead their independent research project and be strongly engaged in running the call grant, which will enable them to establish or consolidate their independent research activity. All PIs, including the coordinator of the project consortium must be “Early Career Scientists” (detailed definition as above, and for country specific information please refer to ANNEX 2 of the Guidelines for applicants: National/regional regulations).

A grant is awarded to the applicant’s legal entity -the host institution- that engages and hosts the PI for at least the duration of the grant.

3.3 Submission of joint transnational proposals

There will be a two-stage procedure for joint applications to this ERA-CVD call: Pre-proposals and full proposals. In both cases, one joint proposal document (in English) shall be prepared by the partners of a joint transnational consortium, and must be submitted to the Joint Call Secre- tariat by one spokesperson, the coordinator.

Pre-proposals must be submitted in electronic format no later than 15th March, 2018 (17:00:00 CET) via the electronic submission system (pt-outline).

Any fundamental changes between the pre- and full proposals concerning the composition of the consortia, objectives of the project or requested budget can be accepted on permission of the Call Steering Committee, which may be granted in exceptional cases if detailed justification is provided to the Joint Call Secretariat.

NOTE: Full proposals will be accepted only from those applicants explicitly invited by the Joint Call Secretariat to submit them.

3.4 Further information

For further details, please refer to the respective submission forms available through the ERA- CVD website. If you need additional information, please contact the Joint Call Secretariat, or the representative of your funding organization (see Annex for contact data).

 

4. Evaluation and decision

The review process will be in two stages.

4.1 Formal check of proposals

The Joint Call Secretariat will check the proposals to ensure that they meet the call’s formal criteria (e.g. date of submission; number of participating countries; inclusion of all necessary information in English). The Joint Call Secretariat will also forward the proposals to the national funding organiza- tions, which will perform a formal eligibility check of compliance with their respective regulations. The Joint Call Secretariat and national funding organisations will perform cross-checks in parallel submissions to other joint transnational calls (e.g., E-RARE, EuroNanoMed, ERA-CoSysMed and others) and national calls. Applicants shall avoid applying for same research activities to different calls. Double funding is not allowed.

Proposals not meeting the formal criteria will be rejected at this stage. Proposals passing these check points will be forwarded to the joint Peer Review Panel for evaluation.

4.2 Peer-review of proposals

The reviewers will assess if the projects are within the scope of the call and carry out the evalua- tion according to the following evaluation criteria:

1 - Excellence

  1. Clarity and pertinence of the objectives.

  2. Credibility of the proposed translational approach and methodology.

  3. Soundness of the concept.

  4. Innovative potential.

  5. Competence, experience, interdisciplinary of participating research partners in the

    field(s) of the proposal (previous work in the field, specific technical expertise).

2 - Impact

  1. Potential of the expected results for future clinical, public health and/or other socio- economic health relevant applications including patients’ needs and gender issues.

  2. Added-value of transnational collaboration: interdisciplinary, gathering a critical mass of patients/biological material, sharing of resources (models, databases, diagnosis etc.), harmonization of data, sharing of specific know-how and/or innovative technologies, etc.

  3. Effectiveness of the proposed measures to exploit and disseminate the project results (including management of intellectual property rights - IPR), to communicate the project, and to manage research data where relevant.

  4. Industry and Patient Organization participation/engagement (when appropri- ate/applicable).

3 - Quality and efficiency of the implementation

  1. Coherence and effectiveness of the work plan, including appropriateness of the alloca- tion of tasks, resources and time-frame.

  2. Complementarity of the participants within the consortium.

  3. Appropriateness of the management structures and procedures, including risk and innovation management.

  4. Budget and cost-effectiveness of the project (rational distribution of resources in relation to the project’s activities, partner’s responsibilities and time frame).

 

4.3 Decision
4.3.1 Pre-proposals

ERA-CVD Joint Transnational Call 2018

Sub-criteria 2a and 2b will be prioritized for assessing the impact of proposals (pre- and full pro- posals). Sub-criteria 2d, 3c and 3d will mainly be taken into account for the full proposal evalua- tion step.

Eligible pre-proposals will be reviewed using the above mentioned evaluation criteria via a writ- ten (remote) peer review process. Based on the scores in the written reviews a ranking list will be set up. By mid May 2018, the coordinators of the selected proposals will be invited by the Joint Call Secretariat to submit a full proposal no later than 15th June, 2018, 17:00 CET.

4.3.2 Full proposals

Proper research designs and analyses are essential to ensure the scientific soundness, robust- ness of the research and reproducibility of research findings. The full proposal form will require applicants to provide comprehensive and detailed descriptions of the planned study design and data analyses. The review panel will scrutinize this information as part of the formal evaluation criteria (1-excellence) at the stage of full proposals.

In the evaluation process of full proposals, each proposal coordinator will have an opportunity to respond to the reviewers’ comments and questions. For this purpose, the coordinators will re- ceive the anonymized evaluation report. In this “rebuttal step” the coordinators are allowed to respond to the reviewers, however, issues not related to ‘reviewers’ comments or questions cannot be addressed nor can the work plan can be modified. The rebuttal to reviewers’ com- ments is optional and must be submitted by the coordinator of the proposal to the Call Secretar- iat, between July 27th, 2018 to August, 3rd 2018 at 17:00 CET.

Based on the written reviews and rebuttal response collated prior to the meeting, the SEB will discuss each proposal and identify the top-quality proposals to be recommended for funding and establish a ranking list. Based on this ranking list the Call Steering Committee will deter- mine the projects to be funded, taking into account the national budgets available and final de- cisions will be made by the funding organizations with respect to budgetary considerations.

 

5. Funding procedure / Responsibilities / Reporting requirements
5.1 Funding procedure
Projects can be funded for a period of up to three years and according to funding organizations’ regulations. Funding is expected to start in spring 2019. Successful research groups will be funded directly by the respective funding organizations. Funding will be administered according to the terms and conditions of the responsible funding organizations, taking into account all oth- er applicable regulations and legal requirements. The official start date shall be communicated by the project coordinator to the JCS and shall appear in the consortium agreement (CA, see below).

5.2 Responsibilities

Within a joint proposal, each group leader will be the contact person for the relevant nation- al/regional funding organization. The coordinators of funded projects together with the respec- tive funding organizations shall make every effort to seek a common start date for all research groups in the consortium.

After the evaluation and selection procedures are completed, each consortium selected to be funded is strongly encouraged to draft and sign a Consortium Agreement (CA) suitable to their own team. The CA will determine a common project start date, manage the delivery of project activities, finances and intellectual property rights (IPR), and avoid disputes which might be det- rimental to the completion of the project. All consortia are encouraged to sign the CA before the official project start date and not later than within six months after the project start date2.

5.3 Reporting Requirements

On behalf of the research consortium, the project coordinator will be required to submit a brief annual scientific progress report on the project and one final report at the end (submitted within two months of the end of the project), to the Joint Call Secretariat. In addition the reports will include a monitoring questionnaire to be used to assess the achievements of the funded pro- jects. Group leaders may be required to submit reports separately to their national funding or- ganization; reporting guidance will be forwarded by the relevant funding organization, as appli- cable. Furthermore, funding recipients are asked to provide information about their funded pro- ject to the project database CardioScape.

Annual reports should be submitted by April, 30, the following year (e.g., April 30, 2020 for pro- jects funded May 2019) and in each subsequent year. Annual reports do not need to be submit- ted if the project ends in the first three months of the following year (e.g. between January and March). In this case, the submission of a final report will suffice.

The deadline for submitting final reports is two months after the end of the project. It is the task of the coordinators to determine a formal end date for project completion. This is required, as partners may be granted extensions of different duration. Coordinators will be informed about this procedure by the Joint Call Secretariat and will receive the report template in due course.

2 PLease refer to Annex 2 of the guidelines for applicants: National/regional regulations, as there are coun- tries/funding organisations requesting a mandatory CA The coordinators will be asked to present a progress report during an intermediate status sym- posium. The attendance is obligatory for all coordinators and Principal Investigators (PIs). PhD students and postdocs working on the projects are welcome to join the status symposium to- gether with the PIs. Accordingly, travel expenses to attend the symposium should be encum- bered in the proposal budget plans.

Funding recipients must ensure that all outcomes (publications, etc.) of transnational ERA-CVD projects include a proper acknowledgement of ERA-CVD and the respective funding partner organizations, and are in line with the relevant publication requirements.
The ERA-CVD JTC2018 funding organisations shall have the right to use documents, infor- mation and results submitted by the research partners and/or to use the information and results for their own purposes, provided that the owners’ rights are kept and their origin is specified. Furthermore, funding recipients must provide information about their funded project to the pro- ject database CardioScape (www.cardioscape.eu). Details about the relevant information need- ed will be provided by a CardioScape contact person.

ERA-CVD follows an open-access policy. Funded research partners must abide by Open Ac- cess publication of their results and ensure specific budget for this purpose within their applica- tion. For communication purposes, coordinators of the funded projects are required to submit periodic concise lay term summaries of the projects. The first summary will be provided upon receipt of funding decision and will include a lay term summary and appropriate figures.

 

6. Contact and further information

Further information on the ERA-CVD project, the ERA-CVD JTC2018 and its planned time schedule is available at the ERA-CVD website: www.ERA-CVD.eu
Before submitting a proposal, applicants are strongly advised to contact their national/regional funding organisations for national/regional specific regulations (see contact details in Annex I, below and specific regulations in Annex 2 of the Guidelines for applicants).

 



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