Call for SMA Research Projects 2012

SMA Europe is pleased to announce its 5th international Call for SMA Research Projects.

SMA Europe is pleased to announce its 5th international Call for SMA Research Projects.

This new Call for SMA Projects will be open to any research project aimed at finding a therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

Contents:

1 - Call
2 - Application and eligibility
3 - Awards
4 - Application procedure
5 - Evaluation process

1 - Call

Priority will, however, be given to projects concentrating on the following aspects/fields:

SMA Europe is pleased to announce its 5th international Call for SMA Research Projects.
This new Call for SMA Projects will be open to any research project aimed at finding a therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Priority will, however, be given to projects concentrating on the following aspects/fields:

A. Understanding and Function of the SMN Complex as it relates to the Natural History of the Disease;
B. Innovative Approaches for Therapy of SMA;
C. Projects addressing Bottlenecks impairing rapid transition from Basic Research to Clinics: Outcome measures and biomarkers validation (physiological markers, pulmonary function, muscle mass quantification, CNS imaging etc), administration route of potential therapeutics including studies in the inter-species differences in crossing of the Blood Brain Barrier;
D. Natural History of the early phase in SMA, especially describing the shift from the pre-symptomatic to the symptomatic phase.

The overall goal of SMA-Europe is to help the dedicated international scientific and medical community in its search for cures and therapies for SMA. Time being critical for the patients with SMA, preferences will be given to projects that may efficiently alleviate bottlenecks and potentially lead rapidly to a cure.

2 - APPLICATIONS & ELIGIBILITY

The application deadline for projects is October 5, 2012

Two types of research grants will be awarded:
1. Operating Grants;
2. Postdoctoral Fellowship – the "SMA Europe Fellow 2012".

It is anticipated that notification of Awards will be made early in 2013 with funding to commence as soon as possible thereafter, subject to contracts being agreed between the relevant parties. It is recognized that time lines will be affected by project specifics, notably in the case of potential part or joint funding of a clinical trial.

Grant applications should be made in the currency in which the applicant’s institution would like to receive the grant, together with an equivalent amount in Euros. Payments to subsidiary institutions involved in the research must be made by the institution to which the grant award is made. SMA Europe cannot enter into contracts and agreements with partners involved in a project. However, where more than one currency is involved in one project, separate payment may be negotiated, if acceptable to the grant giving organization.

Eligibility

To be eligible as principal investigator to apply for an operating grant, an individual should have the skills, knowledge and resources to carry out the proposed project and coordinate a multi-team project. A principal investigator:

1. Must be a professional or faculty member at an appropriate educational, medical or research institution or SME (small or medium enterprise) biotech and be qualified to conduct and supervise a programme of original research;
2. Must have access to institutional resources necessary to conduct the proposed research project;
3. Must hold a Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Science or equivalent degree;
4. Must have a track record of collaboration with others.
To be eligible to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship, an applicant:
1. Must be a member of a research team in the laboratory of a senior investigator under whose guidance the applicant will conduct the research project;
2. Must hold a Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Science or equivalent degree and demonstrate an intended commitment to SMA research in the long term.

3 - AWARDS

Awards are for up to two years. Under exceptional circumstances they can be for longer periods.

Funding for a second year and beyond will depend on receiving a detailed and satisfactory annual report for consideration by members of the SMA-Europe Scientific Advisory Board.

Standard operating grants have no specific limitation but usually will not exceed €150,000 (or equivalent). Grants for part or joint funding of a clinical trial may be made at a higher level.

The Grant for Postdoctoral Fellowship must be within Continental European norms. Advice will be sought over appropriate levels where grants are made in countries outside Europe. The young "SMA Europe Fellow 2012" will receive a two year grant and travel expenses to attend a yearly conference dedicated to SMA will also be covered.

4 - THE APPLICATION PROCEDURE

The application forms will be available on August 3rd, 2012 on http://www.afm-telethon.com/research/calls-for-proposals.html

FOR STANDARD OPERATING GRANTS AND POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS PLEASE SEND:

a.) By e-mail before 5 October 2012 to sma-europe@afm.genethon.fr, 1 electronic version of the application (2.0 Mb maximum, MS Word);
b.) By post before 5 October 2012, 1 signed original application form - The signatures of the Laboratory Director and of all the participants must appear on this application.


For the attention of:
Mme Claire LEGRAND-TABARY
SMA-Europe C/o AFM SP-CS
Secrétariat Permanent du Conseil Scientifique
Plateforme Maladies Rares
96, Rue Didot
75014 PARIS
FRANCE
 

5 - THE EVALUATION PROCESS

The screening of applications in 2012 will be provided by a scientific advisory board under the direction of AFM (Association Française contre les Myopathies).

The final choice of projects to be funded will be selected by the representatives of the partner organizations of SMA-Europe, based on the recommendations made by the advisory boards of both the hosting AFM SAB, and the scientific board of SMA-Europe.

SMA-Europe has no central secretariat. The selected projects will be allocated to member organizations of SMA-Europe for funding. Contractual and financial responsibility for a project will be held directly by the member organization(s) on behalf of SMA-Europe.

Each project will be peer-reviewed according to the following criteria:

1. Relevance and Significance;
2. Project quality /scientific soundness;
3. Innovation;
4. Feasibility (i.e., investigator, environment, approach);
5. The reasonableness of the budget.

1. Relevance and significance: how is this research relevant to a better understanding of SMA, its causes, cure and/or prevention? Does this study address an important problem or a bottleneck in R&D? Is there a sufficient body of high quality fundamental, preclinical or clinical research that supports the rationale for the proposed study? What is the potential impact of the proposed intervention on health care and quality of life?

2. Project quality/ scientific soundness: Are the rationale and experimental design adapted to the study objectives?

3. Innovation: Are the aims of the study original? Does the proposed study design represent advancement in the field? Does the project advance international cooperation in the field?

4. Feasibility: Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative strategies? Is the principal investigator well suited to carry out the proposed study? Is the scientific environment adequate? Is there evidence of institutional support? Have appropriate agreements with collaborators been established?

5. Reasonableness of the budget: Is the budget reasonable in relation to the proposed research?

Scoring and selection

Scores will be given for each category, ranging from 1 to 5, 1 being the best score.

The written reviews of referees are an important element in the decision making process, but these are not the sole criteria for deciding the success or failure of an application. In practice, only projects which attracted the top scores are likely to be successful. We expect to provide feedback to both successful and unsuccessful applicants in the form of reviewers' comments plus any relevant points arising from the committee discussions, but this may not always be practical. In the case of part/joint funding of clinical trials, applicants may be invited to respond to reviewers' comments before a decision is made by the committee.

—31 July 2012—