Call for proposals on "Validation of biomarkers for personalised cancer medicine"

Call for proposals on "Validation of biomarkers for personalised cancer medicine"

Among the many diseases affecting humans, cancer is a major public health challenge in Europe, being responsible for 25% of all casualties and the second most common cause of death after cardio-vascular diseases, a situation expected to worsen due to the progressive ageing of the European population. The intrinsic heterogeneity of cancer, comprising at least 200 different types of neoplastic diseases affecting a variety of organs, implies corresponding heterogeneity in the risk factors, in the biological and clinical courses of the disease and in the required treatments.
In consideration of these peculiarities and of the socio-economic impact of the expected increase in the cancer burden, it is a priority to accelerate the global process for cancer control through the rapid translation of cancer research results into novel and more selective and effective tools and strategies for the prevention, diagnosis and early detection as well as therapy of these diseases.
In this context, the ERA-NET on Translational Cancer Research (TRANSCAN) has been established under the ERA-NET scheme of the European Commission. The goal of the ERA-NET TRANSCAN is to coordinate the research efforts and funding programmes of European countries in the field of translational cancer research.

Under the umbrella of TRANSCAN, a joint transnational call is launched on the topic:

"Validation of biomarkers for personalised cancer medicine"

The following funding organisations in fifteen countries from the European Research Area have agreed to fund the joint call for multinational research projects in this area:

- Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Austria
- Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), Belgium
- National Cancer Institute (INCa), France
- Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany
- General Secretariat for Research and Technology, Ministry of Education, Life Long Learning and Religious Affairs (GSRT), Greece
- Chief Scientist Office of the Ministry of Health (CSO-MOH), Israel***
- Ministry of Health (MoH), Italy
- Latvian Academy of Science (LAS), Latvia
- National Research Fund (FNR), Luxembourg
- National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR), Poland
- Institute of Oncology (IOB), Romania
- Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS), Slovakia
- Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (MHEST), Slovenia
- Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII), Spain**
- Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK), Turkey

The call will be conducted simultaneously by the funding organisations in their respective countries and coordinated centrally by the Joint Call Secretariat (JCS).
**Due to the elections held in Spain (November 20, 2011) the annual National Budget for 2012 has not been approved and so there is no appropriations yet for the ISCIII to carry the above mentioned activity. It is expected it will be approved during 2012 by the new Spanish Parliament in due time.
***Information on "Eligibility of beneficiary institutions" has been updated on 10 January 2012.

JTC 2011 aims at developing transnational innovative projects in oncology, clearly oriented towards a rapid application of new and more selective and effective tools and strategies for the prevention, diagnosis, early detection, and therapy of neoplastic diseases.
Transnational research proposals addressing the topic of the call must cover at least one of the following areas, which are equal in relevance for this call: prevention; early detection; diagnosis; prediction of response or resistance to treatment; prediction of treatment toxicity.
The research projects submitted within this call should fall into one of the following categories:
bench to bed studies, stemming from previous laboratory and/or early phase clinical investigations;
bed to bench studies, stemming from advanced clinical investigations.
In all cases, the research projects should clearly aim at the validation of previously identified candidate biomarkers or of their novel and/or combined use.
More information on the aims of the call can be found in the Call Text and in the Guidelines for applicants.

3.1 Funding recipients / Eligibility
Joint transnational research proposals may be submitted by applicants belonging to one of the following categories:
Academic research groups (from universities or other higher education or research institutions).
Clinical/public health sector research groups (from hospitals/public health and/or other health care settings and health organisations).
Enterprises (depending on national/regional eligibility rules), with particular emphasis on small and medium-sized enterprises.
Each transnational research consortium submitting a proposal must involve a minimum of three (3) and a maximum of seven (7) research groups from at least three (3) different countries participating in the call (see list above). In addition, a research consortium must not include more than two (2) research groups from the same country.
Each transnational consortium must nominate a coordinator from one of the JTC 2011 partner countries/regions.
Each research consortium must involve at least one basic or pre-clinical research team and at least one clinical team. A consortium may also involve other teams with specialised skills and know-how (biobanks, model systems, technological platforms, data management) or expertise (epidemiology, public health, ELSI, etc.).
A consortium may include one (1) research group, which is located not in one of the JTC 2011 partner countries/regions (see list above), if this group is able to secure its own funding. Such a research group must provide a written confirmation that the funds are already secured or a written declaration of how they plan to obtain funding in advance of the project start.
Since funding to successful applications is the responsibility of the national/regional funding organisations which are partners in the JTC 2011, the applicants must comply with the rules, regulations and eligibility criteria of their respective funding organisations. Therefore, the applicants should check these rules with the contact persons of their national/regional funding organisations (see Annex 1. Contact information of the National/Regional Funding Organisations, Guidelines for applicants).
The duration of the projects can be up to three (3) years.
3.2 Submission
There will be a two-stage submission procedure for joint applications: pre-proposals and full proposals. Both types of proposals must be written in English and must be submitted to the JCS by the coordinator. The pre-proposals and full proposals should strictly follow the rules described in the Guidelines for applicants. To apply, please use the pre-proposal application form.
The pre-proposals must be submitted to the electronic submission system of the JCS not later than 10 February 2012, at 5 p.m. (Central European Time).
For applicants from some countries/regions it might be necessary to submit the proposals and/or other information not only to the JCS of JTC 2011, but also to the national/regional funding organisations. Therefore, applicants are strongly advised to check with their national/regional funding organisations for more details (see Annex 1. Contact information of the National/Regional Funding Organisations, Guidelines for applicants).
For additional information, the applicants may contact the Joint Call Secretariat, or the respective funding organisation representative(s) (see Annex 1. Contact information of the National/Regional Funding Organisations, Guidelines for applicants).

By the fourth week of April, the coordinators of the successful pre-proposals will be invited by the JCS to submit a full proposal not later than 02 July 2012.
NOTE: Full proposals will be accepted only from those applicants explicitly invited by the JCS to submit them.
The final funding decisions, including a summary of the evaluation, will be communicated to all coordinators in October 2012.
Depending on the time needed for the administration of granting funds to the respective national/regional research groups, individual projects of a research consortium are expected to start between March and April 2013.

Publication of the JTC 2011:14 December 2011
Opening of electronic proposal submission system: 10 January 2012
Deadline for electronic pre-proposals submission: 10 February 2012
Communication of the pre-proposal evaluation results: 24 April 2012
Deadline for electronic full proposals submission: 02 July 2012
Communication of final evaluation result and funding decision: October 2012
Start of funded research projects: March-April 2013