“JPND is a clear window of opportunity to participate in an exercise to do global research to address neurodegeneration. Of course, it is up to the participating countries to shape this issue in a better fashion. We are now jumping from not just being a European but a global player, and this is a good opportunity for Europe to translate the knowledge into better clinical practice and better economies in Europe.”
What is the general perception of JPND in Spain?
It is rather positive – maybe JPND is ‘half-way’ there to ultimate success, as there are still questions pending. One is the alignment of national and EU programmes, and the second is better participation of industry in performing neurodegenerative disease research. The third is more and better research and transfer of knowledge in health and social services. But overall there is a positive approach to JPND.
How are Spanish researchers performing in JPND initiatives?
Our perception is that they are doing rather well if you take into account the level of commitment of research funds, the relative size of our research community in neurodegenerative diseases, and the relevance of the call topics to date, some of which are better suited to our researchers than others.
Are there initiatives in Spain for supporting researchers willing to apply for JPND funding?
Although there are no specific initiatives assigned to JPND, there are more general initiatives that can serve the purpose of fostering participation of Spanish researchers in JPND. For example, the CIBER virtual research centers and the Health Research Institutes, certified according to RD 339/2004, receive funds that enable them to foster this type of participation.
What do you think is the main benefit for your country for participating in JPND?
The main benefits come from putting together Spanish researchers and the Ministerial research capacities and to linking to and engaging with the research capacities in the other countries participating in JPND. This is what makes the difference!
And the ISCIII? Are there benefits to being a member of the JPND Management Board?
From the ISCIII perspective, there are benefits because ISCIII is entitled to shape and fund National Health System research capacities in Spain. It is also a good window of opportunity to form a bridge between JPND and the national programmes, and also the Programme Committee delegates in Horizon 2020 in the different EU societal challenges.