Q1: What is different about this JPND call?
Researchers are now familiar with our Annual Calls for research proposals, launched each year since 2011. However, this new call is not a “classical” JPND call for research proposals. This call aims to support motivated groups of leading experts in the neurodegenerative disease (ND) field to come together to provide advice to the JPND community on how to address the most pressing issues that are preventing the full exploitation of longitudinal cohorts for ND research.
This “rapid action” is part of a series of new JPND initiatives, designed to enhance the impact of research by aligning and building upon existing national programmes and initiatives, and to bring together different research areas and disciplines to concentrate efforts on neurodegenerative diseases.
Longitudinal cohorts are a great first area for JPND to focus on, as they are tremendously important resources for multi-disciplinary research, in particular for research into the causes of diseases as well as creating a platform for intervention studies.
Q2: Who can apply?
The membership of Working Groups can come from any JPND-member country and beyond, as the primary objective is to create outputs that will be respected by the field. We therefore expect the membership to be internationally recognised experts in their particular fields. However, as the Call text explains, the co-ordinator of any proposal must come from one of the ten sponsoring JPND member countries (Denmark, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom).
Q3: What are the expected outcomes?
The outcomes are two-fold. Firstly the Working Groups to be supported are expected to deliver reports by Q1 2015 containing guidelines and/or best practice frameworks of value to the wider research community. Secondly, drawing on the advice from the Working Groups, we are likely to launch a follow-up call for full scientific applications to be received next year.
Q4: What will JPND do with the outcomes?
All of the Working Group reports will be published on the JPND website and disseminated widely by JPND to the scientific community and to our multiple stakeholder audiences. We expect these reports to have utility for population-based ND research across the world, both nationally and internationally. We are also encouraging the Working Groups to consider additional methods for ensuring that the recommendations of these reports reach their audiences, such as publication in a scientific journal or adoption by a learned society.
Q5: Who decides which proposals receive funding?
Evaluation of proposals for this call will be undertaken by a Review Panel based around the JPND Scientific Advisory Board, which will make recommendations to the funders. The criteria to be used are:
- The scientific fit to the call
- The standing of the experts within the proposed working group and whether as a group they have the appropriate mix of scientific skills
- The timeliness of the ideas proposed for discussion
- Plans for dissemination and the potential impact of the outcomes to the field.
- The feasibility of the project plan to include delivery of the report in Q1 2015.
The Review Panel will recommend a ranked list of proposals to a JPND Sponsor Group made up of representatives of organisations providing funding for the call. This group will consider funding options for the best projects that satisfy the funding criteria in order to determine optimal alignment with available funding.
Q6: Does the scientific area covered by the Working Group have to be one of the seven suggested areas?
The seven scientific areas described below and in the Call text, are areas where the JPND Action Group on Longitudinal Cohort Studies recommended that further thinking is required to address barriers to research progress, where consensus and guidelines are needed to provide a framework for future studies (Click here to view the report of the Action Group). However, this list is not exclusive and proposals for areas that are similar in theme will be considered, spanning the full JPND remit (i.e. from Basic, Clinical, Healthcare/Social Research areas). We will of course require a scientific rationale as to the impact a Working Group in such a new area will provide.
Scientific Action Areas:
- assessing the presymptomatic stages of ND, where new methodological approaches, tools and measures are required.
- the development of standards to support brain imaging, where guidelines are needed to frame future multimodal imaging approaches and perspectives in molecular imaging.
- measurement of cognitive, behavioural and functional changes of relevance to ND progression and outcome , where a consensus on the methodologies to be used is needed.
- data handling, where the emergence of ‘omics’ technologies requires new approaches to data integration and the interrogation and accessibility of big data sets.
- cohort alignment: in depth work is needed to identify where cohorts can be brought together in selected areas, with concurrent work on how data pooling can realistically be achieved.
- clinical data linkage: an assessment is needed of how studies with clear clinical linkage might be exploited in prospective studies, such that study harmonisation might be achieved, with the identification of best practice for of data protection, storage and dissemination solutions.
- the potential for exploiting intervention-studies of potential risk factors where ND is not the primary focus (eg. clinical trials in hypertension, diabetes etc), to ascertain how they could be used to adequately address risk of ND as an outcome.