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The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) in partnership with the European Commission has launched the ‘JPco-fuND’ call for proposals aimed at supporting transnational research collaborations in three JPND priority areas:

  • Longitudinal Cohort Approaches;
  • Advanced Experimental Models;
  • Risk and Protective Factors.

The call will see more than 30 million euro being made available by JPND member countries, with a 10 million euro European Commission “topping up” fund.

Neurodegenerative Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are a global health, economic and social emergency with numbers affected expected to double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050’ according to Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of the JPND Management Board. ‘With this in mind, JPND-participating countries have identified three further areas of greatest need for targeted investment in order to increase progress in the prevention and treatment of these diseases, as well as in patient care.

Professor Amouyel added ‘This call is launched as part of a major new cohesive action between JPND and the European Commission entitled JPco-fuND – the first concrete synergy between JPND and Horizon 2020 designed to address the global threat of neurodegenerative diseases’.

According to Professor Thomas Gasser, University of Tübingen and Chair of the JPND Scientific Advisory Board, ‘This call aims to pool the necessary expertise across Europe and globally to address these needs in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases. The call will support innovative, multi-disciplinary, collaborative research projects that will add value to the three research areas’.

The following neurodegenerative diseases are included for the three call topics outlined below:

  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
  • Parkinson’s disease and PD‐related disorders
  • Prion diseases
  • Motor neurone diseases
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA)
  • Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)

Click here to link to the call for proposals webpage

Topic 1: Genetic, epigenetic and environmental risk and protective factors of neurodegenerative diseases

The aim of the first topic is to attract international teams of researchers who will explore the different processes at work in normal aging versus neurodegenerative aging and determine what role genetic and environmental factors can play. Factors such as family history, gender, stress levels, nutrition and others, can affect an individual’s risk, and provide protection from, or even resilience to, neurodegenerative diseases. However, it is likely that a combination of factors are involved, so a critical step will be to establish the relationship between genetic, epigenetic, environmental and social factors and their relative importance in order to identify those factors that can be changed or modified. This topic is a re-launch of the 2012 JPND call in this priority area. Details of the currently-supported JPND projects in this area are available here on the JPND website.

JPND countries participating in this topic (18) Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom

Topic 2: Longitudinal cohort approaches in neurodegenerative diseases

The goal of this topic is to further scientific progress at a transnational level by enhancing the capabilities of existing cohort studies, or by linking related cohort studies in a synergistic way. This may include bringing together well-characterised relevant cohort groups to harmonize, or make accessible, data to promote secondary analysis; adding new measurements, sample collections or data sweeps that add significant value or provide linkage to other studies; establishing novel assessment measures, taking advantage of new technologies, extending beyond the cognitive domain (i.e. motor and perceptual function) that can be applied to the broad spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases; delivering methodological developments or enhancements to establish cohorts as intervention platforms.

JPND countries participating in this topic (19) Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom

Topic 3: Advanced animal or cell experimental models of neurodegenerative diseases This topic aims to support the creation of experimental models that are more predictive of neurodegenerative diseases. This is a key barrier to progress in research as most of the current models are unable to take into account the multiple genetic and environmental factors that lead to the development of these diseases. However, in order to reproduce the complexity of these diseases there is a need for consensus in validating the platforms to be provided, which can only be achieved through a multidisciplinary approach that encompasses the best teams in a collaborative effort at a transnational level. Therefore, this topic encourages the implementation of a next generation of reliable and well characterized animal and cell models for neurodegenerative diseases. This may include the development of novel animal models for specific diseases to better reproduce the complexity of the clinical features of the disease in humans, the enhancement of existing animal models, e.g., by fostering a deeper characterization of the phenotypes and pathologies, and the exploitation of novel or the improvement of existing neuronal, neuronal-like cells or inducible pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, generated from different sources.

JPND countries participating in this topic (18) Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Turkey

Note 1: The call has a two-step procedure, with a first stage (pre-proposal submission) deadline of 23:59h C.E.T. on March 10th 2015.

Note 2: Proposals may cover more than one of the topics specified above, as long as the relevant work is carried out in a country that will financially support the topic. The balance of awards between the three topics will be decided by the Peer Review Panel and will depend on the quality of the applications. More information on the participating countries in each topic, in addition to specific grant practicalities is available on the call for proposals page here.

Note 3: Call applicants are encouraged to take advantage of the JPND online partnering tool to showcase their research group’s expertise, search for appropriate partners and pitch call-related ideas. An improved, multi-lingual version of the pilot tool is available on the JPND website here.

Note 4: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 643417 – JPcofuND.