The Call for proposals « Nano and advanced technologies for disease prevention, diagnostic and therapy (NANOTECMEC) », funded by the European Union in the frame of the ERA4Health patnership, will aim to support translational research projects that combine innovative approaches in the field of nanomedicine and encourage and enable transnational collaboration between academic research (public and private partnership i.e. research teams from universities, higher education institutions, public research institutions) and clinical/public health research (research teams from hospital, healthcare settings and other healthcare organisations) or R&D activities from industrial enterprises (all size). The participation of Medical Doctors and clinicians is strongly encouraged. SMEs (Small and Medium-size Enterprises) are also strongly encouraged to participate.
Project proposals will address multidisciplinary and translational research. The applications must cover at least one of the following nanomedicine areas that are of equal relevance for this call:
a) Regenerative medicine
Proposals may include, but are not limited to the identification, characterisation and validation of biomarkers, early diagnosis, convergence of nanotechnology and stem cell technology, cell biology applied to nanomedicine, multimodal imaging agents or techniques, point of care diagnostics (on site sensors), standardised procedures for preparation & characterisation of drug delivery systems, green production processes for nanomedical products, nanoparticles for hyperthermia, regenerative, gene or cell therapies using nanotechnology. Pre-clinical and clinical studies are eligible subject to national/regional regulations.
In order to use nanomedicines/nanodevices in clinical practice, additional advances and further understanding are, therefore, still needed and achievable. The aim of the call is to advance nanomedicine toward any translational focus with anticipated impact relative to the risk and investment. The call also invites applications that focus on improving outcomes e.g. improve the current drug development process, consistency and reproducibility studies, studies such as safety surveillance, studies to support use in special populations.
For a better understanding of the objectives and a more efficient evaluation, applicants are asked to specify in which of the two categories described below the project falls, according to its Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), i.e. its degree of innovation and expected time to market:
- Innovation applied research projects: Proof of concept projects for innovative applications with analytical/experimental research and/or implementation and integration of components and test in laboratory and/or animal models. Safety and nanotoxicity should be taken into account when relevant. The viability of a path that may lead the experimental and/or analytical results (for TRL 3) and/or demonstrators (for TRL 4) to a future application at medium/long term shall also be demonstrated.
- Projects with high potential of applicability at short/medium term: Projects closer to the market for the validation of demonstrators and prototypes in a realistic laboratory (for TRL 5) and/or relevant simulated operational field environment (for TRL-6). The viability of a path that may lead the validated systems and results to real products shall be demonstrated. Industrial engagement is crucial in this type of projects. Medical regulatory aspects have to be properly considered.
At the end, projects should fall within, but are not limited to, TRL 3-6, although for being realistic and coherent with the characteristics of the call, projects should propose advancements for a maximum of two TRL levels during their lifetime. TRL level must be understood as the level achieved by the end of the three-year-project. Industry engagement should be appropriate for the TRL range being investigated.
Exclusion: proposals based on nanoscale naturally occurring processes or structures and proposals focus on KET without nanotechnologies.
General conditions for application
The duration of the projects will be 36 months.
Joint research proposals may be submitted by applicants belonging to one of the following categories (according to national/regional regulations; certain categories may not be eligible for funding by a specific funding organisation, please see Annex I of the call text):
- A. Academia – research teams working in universities, other higher education institutions or research institutes.
- B. Clinical/public health sector – research teams working in hospitals/public health and/or other health care settings and health organisations.
- C. Enterprises – private companies of all sizes.
- and D. Operational stakeholders – e.g. patient advocacy organisations, municipalities and local governments, local/national NGO’s. In line with the concept of RRI, operational stakeholders should be in a position to provide useful knowledge to the consortium, ensure the consortium’s research is useful and translatable to their (or other) organizational contexts, and/or influence decision making or create change within their organisations. Operational stakeholders should be engaged in the research process from conception of the study to dissemination.
Size of the consortium
Each application must include partners from at least two of the three categories A, B and C. The number of participants and their research contribution should be appropriate for the aims of the transnational research project and be reasonably balanced in terms of international participation. Each transnational collaborative project should represent the critical mass to achieve ambitious scientific goals and should clearly demonstrate an added value from working together. It is important to integrate partners from the category D in line with the aims of the proposal.
Only transnational projects will be funded. The following conditions apply to the composition of consortia:
- Minimum of three eligible and a maximum of five eligible partners from at least three different countries participating in the call (see list above).
- The maximum number of eligible partners can be increased up to six or seven (see table below) if they include one or two partners, respectively, from the following participating countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Türkiye.
- No more than two eligible partners from the same country participating in the call will be accepted within one consortium.
- Maximum of two collaborators per consortium. Collaborators are self-funded partners: i.e. partners that do not request funds in this Joint Transnational Call provided by one of the participating funding organisations (i.e. partners from non-funding countries or partners which are not fundable according to national/regional regulations of the participating funding organisations).
There will be a two-step submission and evaluation procedure for joint applications, i.e. pre-proposals and full proposals, and the full proposal review process will be complemented by a rebuttal stage. For both submission steps, one joint proposal document (in English) shall be prepared by the partners of a joint transnational proposal and must be submitted on the electronic submission system by the project coordinator.
Deadline for the pre-proposals submission: 30 January 2024