FOREUM PLATINUM CALL WITH UCB

Call for FOREUM Platinum project call 2024 with UCB: entitled “Understanding pathobiology of axSpA-associated uveitis”.

Introduction

FOREUM is committed to promote the best talents in the field of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMD). Consistent with these goals FOREUM issues from 2024 on a new type of call, the Platinum Partner supported project call, that aims to fund excellent young researchers with innovative ideas and high quality research projects in basic-translational or clinical science related to RMDs.

Scope

This FOREUM project grant is intended to fund one excellent young scientist with an already existing track record in RMD research for a project entitled: “Understanding pathobiology of axial spondyloarthritis (AxSpA)-associated uveitis”. The grant aims at supporting the initiation of an innovative independent research project for a period of maximal 12 months.

The specific focus of the call is to develop a deep and specific understanding of the pathobiology of axSpA-related acute anterior uveitis (AAU), eventually compared to other forms of uveitis or pathophysiologically linked to other spondyloarthritis manifestations. Research should prioritize human uveitis studies, although existing validated or novel animal models may be considered to obtain or confirm specific insights. Priority is given to research on local mechanisms of disease, in particular the biology of causal and regulatory cytokines, cells and tissues.

Eligibility and requirements

  • The applicant must be a talented early-career scientist who has already produced high-level supervised work. She/he must be an MD or PhD, who is appropriately linked to RMD research in Europe. It is anticipated that applicants can work independently.
  • The applicant must be awarded their PhD or MD no longer than 8 years ago. Periods of maternity or paternity leave during those years are not counted as part of the 8 years.
  • The researcher’s institution must declare how it intends to support the applicant with respect to their position, protected research time, lab space or access the clinical data.
  • Participation of patient research partners is expected in the project to increase impact. Involvement of patient research partners is part of the evaluation.

Budget

The applicant is eligible to apply for total funding of up to 100’000 Euro for a maximal period of 12 months. Full financial support will depend on the successful evaluation of a written mid-term and final report at the end of the project. Submitted publications can be used as part of the report. In the framework of this call one project will be funded for period of 12 months.

 

How to apply
Applications should be made electronically (email to info@foreum.org). Necessary application forms:

Application forms must be uploaded as three PDF files named Year_Month_Day_Name_Last Name_LOI/Lay Summary or CV

Letter of intent
All applicants considering submission of a proposal are invited to send a short letter of intent by 02 September 2024 accompanied by a ‘lay (non-scientific language for the general public) summary’, for review by patients. The structure and required content of the letter of intent are described in the ‘Letter of intent template’ available above. Translational and clinical projects can be submitted. In the letter of intent, the applicant should indicate whether the content of the project is either clinical or translational. A CV of the applicant as well as a short statement of support from the head of the centre (integrated in the letter of intent) needs to be provided. Page limitations are strictly applied.

Letters of intent will be assessed by members of the FOREUM Scientific Committee and one invited guest reviewer from the supporting industry partner (non-voting member). Applications deemed meritorious of full application will be selected on a competitive basis. The secretariat will respond by 07 October 2024 as to whether the proposal meets the scope, priority, and requirements of the call such that a full application will be invited.

Full project proposal
Applicants selected will be invited to submit a full proposal (30% chance); they will be sent the full project proposal template. Scientific excellence of the applicant as well as innovation potential, impact and feasibility of the planned project will be important aspects of the full application together with clear evidence of support and necessary infrastructure at the host centre. To facilitate review by patients, additionally a lay summary must be completed at this stage. Both forms will be provided to applicants invited to submit a full proposal. Full research proposals must be submitted electronically by 05 November 2024 to the FOREUM Secretariat.

Participation of patient research partners
Participation of patient research partners is strongly recommended for all research projects to provide experiential knowledge, with the aim of improving the relevance, quality and validity of the research process. For more information, please read the material on EULAR | PARE patient research partners

Evaluation and decision
The proposals will be independently peer-reviewed for (i) their scientific quality, (ii) the applicant’s expertise to conduct research in RMD, (iii) the applicant’s CV, the (iv) feasibility of conducting the project, and (v) appropriate involvement of patient-related research partners. Based on this peer review, the FOREUM Scientific Committee and one invited guest reviewer from the supporting industry will make a funding recommendation to the FOREUM Executive Committee, which will make its funding decision. Decisions will be communicated to the applicants by 13 December 2024.

Please be aware that all projects (LOIs and full applications) submitted for this call will be sent, according to the conditions specified in the Confidentiality Agreement, to the supporting industry partners. 

Ethical aspects
FOREUM expects a high standard in the conduct of research it funds. For researchers this includes scientific integrity and adherence to the principles of good research practice. Patients subjected to investigation shall be included with due adherence to the declaration of Helsinki.

Management of the call
The FOREUM call and approval process will be administered by the FOREUM Secretariat, together with the FOREUM Scientific Committee. The call schedule will be as follows:

  • Call issued: 24 June 2024
  • Closing date for Letter of intent: 02 September 2024
  • Decisions on Letter of intent announced: 07 October 2024
  • Closing date for full proposals: 05 November 2024
  • Decisions on full proposals announced: 13 December 2024

Inquiries
For general inquiries please contact the FOREUM Secretariat at info@foreum.org.