ZonMw tijdlijn FAIR data and data management https://www.zonmw.nl/ Het laatste nieuws van de tijdlijn van FAIR data and data management en-gb Mon, 14 Jun 2021 01:36:39 +0200 Mon, 14 Jun 2021 01:36:39 +0200 TYPO3 news-7361 Thu, 10 Jun 2021 14:35:00 +0200 Team science for groundbreaking fundamental research receives boost of 12.5 million euros https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/team-science-for-groundbreaking-fundamental-research-receives-boost-of-125-million-euros/ Sixteen research teams will set up innovative collaborations that contribute to innovation in science and healthcare for the longer term. Each team has received a maximum of 750,000 euros from the programme ZonMw Open Competition. The research groups will investigate, for example, the genetic factors of heart muscle diseases, better treatment of damage to the retina and the development of antibiotics against tuberculosis. With a view to team science, the programme ZonMw Open Competition is specifically aimed at innovative and groundbreaking combinations of two or more research groups. The projects and the teams are assessed against criteria such as creativity, groundbreaking research of high quality, and the utilisation of knowledge via transmission and implementation through, among other approaches, the participation of stakeholders in the broadest sense of the word. The composition of the teams and the synergy between the different research partners was another important element in the assessment. ZonMw is increasingly using the narrative CV in funding rounds, and it was now used for the first time to assess research teams. In a manner appropriate to the research question and design of the research project, researchers and research groups are assessed for research, education, and a good balance between individual talent and team science, scientific leadership, and contributions to Open Science. This form of assessment is part of the new Recognition and Rewarding.

Besides budget for personnel and material costs, funding could also be requested for knowledge utilisation, internationalisation and research infrastructure. Three research groups received an extra investment module of at most 250,000 euros for medium-sized infrastructure.

These are the sixteen research teams who will set to work with innovative collaboration and groundbreaking research (in order of application number):

Linking mTOR to deregulated GABA signaling in developmental epilepsy
Prof. E.M.A. (Eleonora) Aronica – Amsterdam UMC-AMC
Dr D. (Dirk) Schubert – Radboudumc

Epilepsy is a common neurological disease, affecting approximately 180,000 people in the Netherlands. Treating childhood-onset genetic epilepsies is challenging. This project brings together researchers with expertise in epilepsy, neuropathology and neurophysiology to elucidate the mechanisms underlying altered neuronal network function in epilepsy, using human brain tissue and human cell models.

New energy for genetic cardiomyopathy
Prof. ir J.P.W.M. (Jeroen) Bakkers – Hubrecht Institute
Prof. F.W. (Folkert) Asselbergs and dr M. (Magdalena) Harakalova – University Medical Center Utrecht
Dr F.M. (Frédéric) Vaz – Amsterdam UMC

Cardiomyopathies are life threatening diseases that can be caused by genetic factors such as the PLN mutation. In this project it will be investigated how the PLN mutation affects the energy metabolism of the heart by using novel disease models. The results will help to develop new treatment strategies.

Disturbed protein complexes on cancer cells leads to reduced therapy response
Prof. A.B. (Annemiek) van Spriel – Radboudumc
Prof. P. (Piet) Gros – Utrecht University

Protein complexes on the cancer cell surface can facilitate growth. The researchers are investigating the structure and organisation of protein complexes on the cancer cell surface. This research may provide prospects to make cancer cells more sensitive to immunotherapies.

Ready for the new T: resident cells for tumorimmunity
Prof. T. (Thorbald) van Hall – Leiden University Medical Center
Dr K.P.J.M. (Klaas) van Gisbergen – Amsterdam UMC

Cancers consist of more than just derailed cells but are intermingled with normal cells of the body, including those of the immune system. Immunotherapy activates such immune cell and thereby control tumor growth. We here will investigate the role of a new lineage of cells: tissue-resident memory T cells.

Navigating uncertainty in gender incongruence and differences in sex development (DSD)
Dr C.M. (Chris) Verhaak and dr A.J.M. (Anke) Oerlemans – Radboudumc
Dr W.J.P. (Wyke) Stommel – Radboud University
Dr M.A. (Marij) Hillen – Amsterdam UMC-AMC
Dr A.L.C. (Annelou) de Vries – Amsterdam UMC-VUmc

Transgender and intersex children, their parents, and healthcare providers face substantial uncertainty. This covers medical, psychological, ethical and communicative aspects regarding treatment decisions and longterm development of the conditions. This project aims to understand uncertainty and support children, parents and healthcare professionals in recognizing, discussing and coping with uncertainty.

Cornea regeneration instructed by molecular cell identity characterization
Dr H. (Jo Huiqing) Zhou – Radboud University
Dr M. (Mor) Dickman and dr V.L.S. (Vanessa) LaPointe – Maastricht University

The current treatment for cornea damage depends on stem cells in the patient's own healthy eye. No
treatment is available for patients with two injured eyes. Scientists will develop a novel regenerative
technology to convert patient's skin and mouth cells into cornea stem cells to restore vision.

Peeping through the cell wall of the tubercle bacillus
Prof. W. (Wilbert) Bitter – Amsterdam UMC-VUmc
Prof. Dr D.J. (Dirk) Slotboom – University of  Groningen

The tubercle bacillus is remarkably resistant to antibiotics due to its fortified cell wall. Now, we will unravel how this cell wall works in keeping up defenses while allowing transport of essential nutrients. We will use this knowledge to device new antibiotics.    

In search for the origin of our autonomic nervous system
Prof. A. (Andries) Kalsbeek – Amsterdam UMC
Prof. O.C. (Onno) Meijer – Leiden University Medical Center
Dr C.X. (Chun-Xia) Yi – Amsterdam UMC
Dr A. (Ahmed) Mahfouz – Leiden University Medical Center
Prof. E. (Eric) Fliers – Amsterdam UMC

The hypothalamus is a small brain area that controls all of our physiology via hormones and autonomic nervous system. Its neuro-endocrine neurons have been well-characterized since a long time. With the newest microscopes and molecular techniques researchers will now trace and characterize the neurons that control our autonomic nervous system.

Family matters: genes and behavior as the biological basis for a long and healthy life
Prof. P.E. (Eline) Slagboom – Leiden University Medical Center
Prof. D.I. (Dorret) Boomsma – Free University Amsterdam
Prof. W.M.M. (Monique) Verschuren – RIVM
Dr M. (Marian) Beekman – Leiden University Medical Center

The life expectancy raises globally but the increase in healthy lifespan is lagging behind. Longevity families traced in Dutch databases often display disease-free survival into exceptional ages. In this project, we will disentangle the social, behavioral and genetic mechanisms that protect against age-related disease and promote a healthy life span.

Targeting the Mesenchymal Cancer Cell Phenotype for Therapeutic Gain
Prof. ir. P. (Peter) ten Dijke – Leiden University Medical Center
Dr P.E. (Pouyan) Boukany – TU Delft
Prof. J.W.M. (John) Martens and prof. S. (Stefan) Sleijfer – Erasmus MC Cancer Institute

Most cancer patients die from malignant metastases, or because the patients have become insensitive to chemotherapy. In this project, we aim to identify and repurpose existing drugs to selectively change the behaviour of aggressive cancer cells into non-invasive and therapy sensitive cancer cells or benign fat cells.

Out in the cold!
Prof. P. (Patrick) Schrauwen – Maastricht University
Dr E. (Eric) Kalkhoven – UMC Utrecht
Dr J. (Joris) Hoeks – Maastricht University
Prof. S. (Sander) Kersten – Wageningen University and  Research Center

In type 2 diabetes, tissues such as skeletal muscle take up less glucose, leading to elevated glucose levels in the blood. This research explores if cold-induced shivering, a type of muscle contraction that heavily relies on glucose for fuel, can stimulate glucose uptake and improve glucose control in diabetes patients.

Dynamic symptoms networks - a novel paradigm to improve diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of multimorbidity
Prof. M.G.M. (Marcel) Olde Rikkert and Dr G.M.E.E. (Geeske) Peeters – Radboudumc
Prof. T.M. (Thomas) Gill – Yale School of Medicine
Prof. C.L.H. (Claudi) Bockting and dr R. (Rick) Quax – University of Amsterdam

The researchers aim to develop a novel theory to improve diagnosis and treatment of older people with complex health problems. Symptoms of diseases overlap and influence each other. The insights gained through this theory can inform doctors about the optimal strategy to treat patients with multiple concurrent diseases.

Recovery of the cell's energy factories for tissue repair in COPD: muscles to the rescue
Prof. I.H. (Irene) Heijink – UMC Groningen
Dr R.C.J. (Ramon) Langen and dr H.R. (Harry) Gosker – Maastricht University
Prof. E.M.J. (Sabeth) Verpoorte – University of Groningen

COPD is a severe disease characterized by lung and often also muscle damage. We will investigate a
novel concept where aberrant interaction between lung and muscle leads to defects in the cell’s energy factories and impaired tissue repair. By restoring these defects, we aim to improve lung and muscle function.

Autism exposed
Dr R.A. (Raymond) Poot – Erasmus MC
Prof. B. (Bas) Van Steensel – Nederlands Kanker Instituut
Dr H.H.H. (Hieab) Adams – Erasmus MC

The risk to develop a mental disorder such as autism or schizophrenia is determined by your DNA. The researchers apply a new method towards reading in the DNA whether somebody is susceptible and to better understand what goes wrong in the brain development of patients.

Beta cell stress and the exocrine pancreas: A cause/ consequence relationship?
Dr B.N.G.G. (Ben) Giepmans – UMC Groningen
Dr E.C.M.C. (Elizabeth) Carroll – TU Delft
Dr A. (Arnaud) Zaldumbide – Leiden University Medical Center

Evidence that the complete pancreas is affected in Type 1 diabetes is emerging. In zebrafish larvae the scientist microscopically study a cause-consequence relationship to understand whether the insulinproducing cells will be stressed by their neighbors involved in food processing, which may be a long-sought trigger for Type 1 diabetes.

The bicarbonate umbrella – a multiorgan protective mechanism in humans.
Prof. U.H.W. (Ulrich) Beuers – Amsterdam UMC
Prof. A.J. (Ton) Rabelink – Leiden University Medical Center

Patients with cholestatic and genetic liver diseases suffer from consequences of worsening liver function, but also liver-independent complaints. We identified bicarbonate secretion as protective mechanism for liver and bile ducts. We aim to characterize and manipulate the 'bicarbonate umbrella' in liver, bile ducts and other organs in a multidisciplinary approach.

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news-7243 Thu, 06 May 2021 14:57:54 +0200 Videocall app 123familie.nl winner of JAIN challenge 2021 https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/videocall-app-123familienl-winner-of-jain-challenge-2021/ An app that allows you to make video calls super easy, even if someone doesn’t have digital skills or suffers from forgetfulness or dementia. With this solution the 123familie app won the Dutch JAIN challenge on April 28th. This bi-annual challenge called for solutions based on artificial intelligence, which improve the quality of life and independence of people with dementia and their environment. And which could reduce the workload for professionals, relatives and caretakers. Simple recording function

The nominated solutions were assessed by a jury and a focus group of users, consisting mainly of informal caretakers. The 123familie.nl app, which stems from the Active & Assisted Living-project Kith&Kin, was praised by the jury of the JAIN Challenge for its user-friendliness. Especially the automatic pick-up function was appreciated for people in further stages of dementia. This function ensures that someone with dementia does not have to pick up the phone when it rings; the caller can connect remotely. However this function can also be switched off if it’s not necessary.

Other advantages of the app that where mentioned is that privacy is served by the fact that only family/friends with an entry code can make videocontact. Next to that the app can also be used on several devices, such as smartphones, tablets or a smart tv. So, there is no need to buy a special device.

news-7236 Tue, 04 May 2021 14:07:37 +0200 Special edition Quality in Care (KIZ) journal published and available in English https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/special-edition-quality-in-care-kiz-journal-published-and-available-in-english/ The latest special edition of Quality in Care (KiZ) is all about implementation and offers a preview of the European Implementation Event 2021. Effective interventions do not automatically find their way into healthcare practice. We now know that active, knowledge-based implementation is necessary to realize and accelerate improvement in health care practice. Implementation has become a field in its own right with a growing scientific knowledge base. And more and more professionals have become specialized in implementation.

Sneak preview

A new special issue of the magazine Quality in Care (KiZ) is entirely devoted to implementation. The issue is a sneak preview of the European Implementation Event on May 27 and 28, 2021. The EIE2021 offers a rich and diverse program that features implementation research and practical experiences from multiple countries, sectors, environments and disciplines.

A number of articles from the KIZ special have been translated into English for our international readers.

  • Event organizers Bianca Albers and Pauline Goense explain the importance of the event and highlight several interesting sessions and the new online format.
  • Keynote speakers Professor David Chambers, Professor Jet Bussemaker and Professor Paul Iske discuss the key messages that they will present during the event.
  • The magazine also contains an article about early career implementation professionals and their specific situation and needs. At the event special sessions have been organized for them.

Registration for the event is still open.

For more information, articles and EIE registration:

news-7210 Wed, 28 Apr 2021 14:09:19 +0200 Industry and science will jointly develop animal-free innovations https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/industry-and-science-will-jointly-develop-animal-free-innovations/ Two Dutch research groups and industry will jointly develop animal-free innovations via the ZonMw call Create2Solve. Over the next five years, the projects will focus on a 3D model of human brain cells and a better test method for potentially toxic substances. The projects will contribute to limiting the use of laboratory animals in both industry and science. The selected projects: a better test method for potentially toxic substances

One of the provisionally awarded projects is from Dr Nynke Kramer (Utrecht University, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences), in collaboration with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the private partners Vivaltes and Toxys. This project focuses on developing a robust animal-free test method to establish the toxic dose of poorly soluble substances. ‘If the reliability of animal-free test methods is increased, users will gain more confidence in these and use them as an alternative for animal experiments,’ says Kramer.

The project will provide a solution for Challenge 1: the problem that was previously defined by a consortium consisting of Shell, Sabic and LyondellBasell. As a result, the questions have been posed by the end-users. ‘The outcomes of the project are therefore also something that the end-users will genuinely benefit from’, says Kramer. ‘This approach could enable us to realise an animal-free era in toxicology sooner.’ The project will also considerably limit the number of animal experiments by focussing on more than just the science. James Wheeler, Senior Eco-Toxicologist at Shell, says: ‘Bringing together several parties creates an ideal situation for the successful implementation of animal-free innovations in practice, also at the international policy level.’

A 3D model of human brain cells

The second project provisionally awarded funding is from Dr Femke de Vrij (Erasmus MC) in collaboration with the private partner Core Life Analytics. It focuses on developing an animal-free 3D model with human brain cells that will contribute to drug development and research. ‘Especially for complex brain diseases that are difficult to investigate in laboratory animal models, it is vitally important to do research with human material’, says De Vrij.

Therefore, this project will provide a solution for Challenge 2, the problem defined by the consortium consisting of Charles River Laboratories and Danone Nutricia Research. The design of the project is regarded as promising for medical applications. By combining in-depth academic knowledge with the input of the application-oriented industry, models will be created that could be used for the successful development of new drugs. The collaboration with industry opens new doors as well. ‘The scaling up of experiments and large-scale data analysis are now possible, whereas usually, an academic research group does not have the capacity for this’, says de Vrij.


With the call Create2Solve, which is part of the programme “More Knowledge with Fewer Animals”, ZonMw and industry together undertake demand-driven research into animal-free innovations. With this, ZonMw supports the development of animal-free innovations with an impact that aim to provide marketable methods, models and/or services. The funding for Create2Solve has been made available by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and the Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing.

In July 2019, phase 0 of Create2Solve was completed. In this phase, two questions, so-called Challenges, from two consortia of companies were articulated in a call for proposals. For these Challenges, knowledge institutions could submit a project proposal in collaboration with a private partner. Three “proof-of-concept” projects were admitted to phase 1 in December 2019. Two of these projects, one per challenge in the current phase 2, have been selected to develop their proposals into an animal-free innovation, together with the private parties involved. Each of the project groups will receive one million euros and will be given a maximum of five years to realise the project.

Summaries of the projects

Project Challenge 1: Better in vitro Dosing (BID): Framework and technology development for improving the quality of in vitro data - Dr Nynke Kramer (Utrecht University, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences)

(Private) partners: Vivaltes, Toxys and RIVM
Challenge holders: Shell, Sabic and LyondellBasell

To reduce animal experiments, in vitro cell systems will be used to establish the toxic dose for a test substance. Generally, the nominal concentration (the amount of substance added divided by the volume of medium) is used to establish concentration-effect relationships. However, in humans and animals, that leads to poor predictions of the toxic dose of volatile, lipophilic and unstable substances because only a small fraction of these substances ends up in the cells. In this project, we will keep the evaporation, breakdown and bonding of these substances to plastic and plasma proteins in vitro under control by using small, closed glass pots and well collection plates that are dosed using a polymer (so-called partition-controlled dosing). We have developed a decision tree that clarifies under which conditions it is recommended to use these techniques.

Project Challenge 2: 3D MICro-brains: An animal-free human 3D cortical network platform for screening myelination and inflammation phenotypes. 3D Myelination & Inflammation Cortical network platform (3D MICro-brains) - Dr Femke de Vrij (Erasmus MC)

Private partner: Core Life Analytics
Challenge holders: Charles River and Danone Nutricia Research

Recent developments in induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology make it possible to implement
cell-type-specific human cell culture models for research and drug development. In this project, researchers will develop a 3D model with human brain cells that can simulate the brain’s complex structure in early development. These micro-brains (3D MICro-brains) will reduce the modelling of the frontal cortex to its essence in a format of, literally, a millionth of the normal brain volume. The platform contains all relevant brain cell types: functional neurons and glia in layered radial structures, including astrocytes, myelin-producing oligodendrocytes and microglia that play a crucial role in inflammatory processes in the brain. Furthermore, this model is entirely animal-free and thus contributes to the transition to animal-free research. Due to its scale and reproducibility, this platform is ideally suited for automated applications in drug development and research, which will be further elaborated with a company that will add automated, high-resolution image processing to this project.

More information:

news-7170 Mon, 19 Apr 2021 14:25:57 +0200 Pearl for data gold mine https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/pearl-for-data-gold-mine/ Which patients with cardiovascular diseases run the risk of a (new) heart attack, heart failure or stroke? What is the optimum personalised treatment? On 15 April, cardiologist Prof. Folkert Asselbergs (University Medical Center Utrecht) received the ZonMw Pearl for a data collection that contributes to answering these questions and for developing a self-management platform. Bridge-builder

The committee that awards the Pearl refers to Asselbergs as a bridge-builder who has contributed to a unique international collaboration. Currently, the genetic and clinical data of about 260,000 people from 64 hospitals have been stored in a standardised manner and made available for research. The international collaboration works with so-called federated data analyses, which leave the data in the original hospital. The analysis program visits all local data collections, so to speak, and only reports the conclusions. In this way, patients’ privacy can be guaranteed, and international collaboration becomes easier from a legal perspective too. That is because the patients’ personal data do not leave the hospital.

Initial results

It was found that not all genetic risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases contribute to an increased risk of recurring problems. A better understanding was also gained of individual differences in response to drugs and other treatments, as a result of which treatments can become increasingly personalised.



news-7109 Fri, 02 Apr 2021 10:29:33 +0200 Start research into the optimal use of COVID-19 vaccines for patients with immune system disorders https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/start-research-into-the-optimal-use-of-covid-19-vaccines-for-patients-with-immune-system-disorders/ Research groups will further investigate the effect of COVID-19 vaccines in patients with immune disorders, cancer or a transplantation. These research projects are part of the COVID-19 research programme, and each project has received a grant from ZonMw.
On behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and in collaboration with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), ZonMw is focusing in these studies on optimising the effect of COVID-19 vaccination in groups of patients who have an immune system disorder. This includes patients with malignancies, immune disorders and other patient populations not identified in previous studies.

The research to be funded supplements RIVM’s research in the context of monitoring and evaluating national vaccination programmes and also the research carried out by the vaccine manufacturers. The patients will be vaccinated as part of the government’s vaccination strategy against COVID-19. The new research projects will provide knowledge for patients and those treating them, and it will support an optimum use of vaccines in these groups.

Patients with an immune system disorder

The vaccines currently available are mainly, but not limited to, vaccines tested by the manufacturers on relatively healthy adults. Specific risk groups, such as people with certain diseases, obesity, Down’s syndrome, pregnant women and certain age categories (dependent on the maximum age of the people selected for the vaccine study) are only partly included in these studies. The registration authorities have approved the vaccines for these target groups as well. However, additional research into these groups is still needed to provide us with more insights into the immune response to vaccine antigens in patients with a less well-functioning immune system. Such a less well-functioning immune system could be due to birth defect or it could be caused by a transplantation or immune-modulating treatments (chemotherapy, immunotherapy).

Studies will initially focus on patients with autoimmune diseases who are treated with immunosuppressive drugs, patients with primary immune deficiencies or immune disorders, cancer patients (solid tumours) who are treated with chemotherapy and/or immunotherapy, patients with a kidney transplant and dialysis patients, lung transplant patients and people with Down’s syndrome. The RIVM will investigate the immune response in the general population, including the elderly.

Prepared for new pandemics

Within the ZonMw and RIVM projects, standardised protocols and measurement methods are used that have been internationally agreed upon. This means that overarching research across the different vaccines and populations is possible. The knowledge developed through national and international collaboration and analysis will ensure that we are better prepared for the use of vaccines in any possible new pandemics.

More information

•    Read more about research into the coronavirus and COVID-19

news-7074 Tue, 23 Mar 2021 16:00:00 +0100 Dutch minister adopts recommendations from ME/CFS research agenda and commissions research programme https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/dutch-minister-adopts-recommendations-from-mecfs-research-agenda-and-commissions-research-programme/ The Dutch Minister of Medical Care and Sport, Tamara van Ark, intends to ask ZonMw to carry out a biomedical research programme on ME/CFS. This was stated in a letter to the Dutch House of Representatives sent by Van Ark on the 23rd of March. There will be 28.5 million euros available to carry out a research programme with a duration of 10 years. In doing so, the Minister has adopted the most important recommendations from the ZonMw ME/CFS research agenda. This agenda was presented to the Minister of Medical Care and Sport (VWS) on the 23rd of December 2020. The research agenda was drawn up by a steering committee composed of representatives of patient organizations, practitioners and scientists from different fields of science. ZonMw facilitated the steering committee and used its knowledge, experience and network to steer the process in the right direction.

Enabling scientific breakthroughs

Jeroen Geurts, chairman of ZonMw, is pleased with the intended commission to ZonMw. ‘ME/CFS is a serious chronic illness for which there is no effective treatment. More biomedical research makes scientific breakthroughs possible that improve the lives of patients with ME/CFS. The ME/CFS research agenda was the first step in that process; I am pleased that we can take the necessary follow-up steps with this new programme.’

In drawing up the research agenda, cooperation between patients, therapists and scientists played an important role. This cooperation will be continued in the new programme, according to Geurts. ‘There are many different opinions about the causes and treatment of ME/CFS. In addition, only a small group of scientists in the Netherlands conducts research into the illness. Many therapists know little or nothing about the disease. Only by working together intensively can differences of opinion be bridged, so we can we really change the lives of patients.’

‘This cooperation is not limited to our national borders. By cooperating internationally, we can set up larger-scale research, share data and combine research resources. In this way, breakthroughs will come within reach more quickly.’

Next steps

Once we receive an official assignment from the Dutch government, ZonMw will begin preparations for a biomedical research programme on ME/CFS. The first scientific studies should start in early 2022. Topics that will be addressed in the preparatory phase include the participation of patientorganisations, the composition of the programme committee, the start-up of a patient cohort and the collaboration with foreign scientists.

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news-7064 Thu, 18 Mar 2021 16:58:45 +0100 Changing the game: on the assessment of researchers and their research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/changing-the-game-on-the-assessment-of-researchers-and-their-research/ Today a consultation meeting of research performing organisations took place. The European Committee Research & Innovation organised this meeting. Several European research funders focused on the assessment of researchers and research teams. Jeroen Geurts, chair of ZonMw and ambassador for the Dutch initiative Recognition and Rewards, was there to represent the Dutch perspective. Jeroen Geurts started his contribution to the round table discussion with a short statement in which he highlighted the position paper Room for everyone’s talent: towards a new balance in the recognition and rewards for academics and gave some examples of activities to assess researchers not only on their research but also on education, a balance between individual and team science, leadership and clinical research. Examples were among other things the introduction of a narrative CV in the funding scheme ‘Talent programme’ of NWO and ZonMw, a national report about professionalising data stewardship by setting out guidelines for competences, training and education, and to make Open Science (open access and FAIR data) a standard item to be addressed in calls and application forms.

Jeroen Geurts: "Reasons for success in the Dutch Rewards & Recognition process were the early build of a strong coalition of RPOs and funders and a subsequent bottom-up process that enabled thorough, local implementation of the changes proposed. This way, we could change not only the rules, but the entire game."

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news-7082 Mon, 08 Mar 2021 14:57:00 +0100 Professionalising data stewardship with competences, training and education https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/professionalising-data-stewardship-with-competences-training-and-education-1/ As part of the National Programme Open Science (NPOS), the 'Professionalising data stewardship in the Netherlands' report was recently published. This report provides arguments for urgent decisions and activities to ensure adequate data steward capacity in the Netherlands, in order to realise the ambitions for Open Science. How are Open Science and FAIR data connected?

The Dutch National Programme Open Science (NPOS) has defined 3 key areas:

  • Open Access: making all research output (articles etc.) accessible for everyone without costs
  • FAIR data: making all research data FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable
  • citizen science: promoting the involvement of citizens in science programmes

Within the key area of ‘FAIR data’ the current report focuses on the people who can help to turn FAIR data into reality - namely data stewards.

What is a data steward?

Data stewardship is a catch-all term for numerous support functions, roles and activities with respect to creating, maintaining and using research data. The core responsibilities and tasks vary from policy advising and consultancy, to operational, and technical, ICT-related tasks. Unfortunately, a data steward is not yet uniformly defined as most descriptions originate from the fast evolving landscape of Open Science, research data management and FAIR data, and thus share its newness and fuzziness.

In this report data stewardship is defined as 'the responsible planning and executing of all actions on digital data before, during and after a research project, with the aim of optimising the usability, reusability and reproducibility of the resulting data' (definition put forward by DTL).

Why do we need more data stewards?

In the past years it has become clear that there is a large need for and shortage of individuals with data stewardship expertise. Furthermore, a lack of formal education and training, a lack of awareness and recognition amongst researchers and the absence of a coordinated approach all hamper the professionalisation and expansion of this profession.

How many data stewards do we need where in the organisation and with what competences?

Each research-performing institute should ask these questions. This report helps to build the foundation to answer them. It provides an overview of the current situation of data stewardship in the Netherlands. It gives specific recommendations to multiple stakeholders, so that they can move forward with advancing FAIR data stewardship in their organisation. Furthermore, it draws attention to the urgent need for nationally coordinated implementation.

What next steps can organisations take?

In the report it is recommended that:

  • the defined data stewardship and research software engineer competences will be consolidated and implemented
  • the corresponding job profiles should be formalised via national job classification systems
  • tailored training programmes matching the required competences should be defined, developed and delivered
  • a data steward skills tool should be built, which then serves as a single point of reference for up-to-date information on competences, job profiles, and training opportunities, and allows for (self-)assessment and identification of career development options

The recommendations in the report are specifically tailored to the following stakeholders in the Netherlands:

  • local research organisations, such as universities, university medical centres, universities of applied sciences, and their board members, deans and HR managers
  • umbrella organisations, such as VSNU, NFU and VH and similar representative organisations
  • research-funding organisations, such as ZonMw and NWO
  • representatives of the researcher communities, such as PNN, the networking organisation for PhD candidates, and the local Open Science communities
  • service-providing, networking and training organisations, such as DTL, SURF, LCRDM, Health-RI, and RDNL

Over 30 representatives from numerous organisations participated and endorse the report

The NPOS-F project team consisted of over 30 representatives of multiple Dutch universities, university medical centres, universities of applied sciences and service providers. In addition, major stakeholders speaking for diverse organisations such as VSNU, VH, NFU, PNN, SURF and ZonMw were involved in this project. Thanks to active involvement of these partners and the practical applicability of the recommendations, the team is convinced that the necessary decisions and activities to ensure adequate data steward capacity in the Netherlands will be implemented in the near future.

NPOS, ZonMw, Open Science and FAIR data

This end report of the NPOS-F project team ‘Professionalising data stewardship’ is part of the NPOS FAIR data programme line. Authors of the report are representatives of DTL (Dutch Techcentre for Lifesciences), DANS (Data Archiving and Networked Services), Maastricht University, GO FAIR Foundation, ZonMw and LCRDM (National Coordination Point Research Data Management).

ZonMw aims at improving the scientific and social impact of research output, including research data. To gain impact from research data, one must be able to reuse them for verification of research findings, or for future research. To this end, ZonMw requires researchers to perform research data management and stewardship (RDM), and to share their data to contribute to future, innovative research. ZonMw’s procedures for RDM aim at creating data that are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR), and high quality research projects.

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news-7008 Mon, 08 Mar 2021 12:06:45 +0100 Register now for 6th JPI HDHL conference on April 20 and 21 https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/register-now-for-6th-jpi-hdhl-conference-on-april-20-and-21/ The 6th international conference of the Joint Programming Initiative ‘A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’ will take place digitally on April 20 and 21, 2021. In 2020 we reached a milestone: 10 years of JPI HDHL. This conference offers the perfect opportunity to discuss with our stakeholders how we can build on our experiences and achievements. While there are many lessons to be learned and shared, one of the main recurring issues is how nutrition often falls in the gap between the themes of health and food.  JPI HDHL stands for the need to bridge that gap, to ensure that nutrition research and policy receives the attention it deserves. This is part of the urgent, broader call for a food systems approach. Therefore, we will explore during our conference how a systemic approach can be implemented to create more impact; what does this mean for scientists? What does it mean at a policy level? And how can we better connect the two? Through topical keynotes, a panel, workshops and informal discussions we will cover these and other questions relevant to the future of food, nutrition and health research.

Programme in a nutshell

This year we are organizing a 2-day conference on the morning of April 20th and the afternoon of April 21st in a digital conference environment.

April 20, 10.00-13.30
We will kick-off our conference with Dr. Sébastien Treyer (Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations) who will speak on connecting research to policy and the needs of society. Why is this important and how can it be strengthened? We will continue this topic with and interactive audience and panel discussion. The first day will conclude with several inspiration sessions; short talks about exciting developments relevant to the area of food, diet and nutrition.

April 21, 14.00-17.00
On the second day our keynote speaker is Professor of human nutrition John Mathers (Newcastle University, JPI HDHL scientific advisory board vice-chair). In his talk he will address the development of nutritional research in light of 10 years of JPI HDHL. He will reflect on the contributions of the JPI HDHL to the research field and the key issues for the future. The keynote will be followed by (interactive) workshops on a wide array of topics, including the intersection of physical activity and nutrition research and how to improve international collaboration.

Register now!

We look forward to welcoming you, because only through joint efforts can we move closer to achieving the aim of JPI HDHL in the next 10 years: the prevention of diet-related disease, for healthy people on a healthy planet. You can already register for one or for both days. After registering, you will be invited to choose your inspiration sessions and workshop in the upcoming weeks.  

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news-6980 Mon, 01 Mar 2021 08:48:58 +0100 6 scientists to receive NWO Vici grants for medical research and care innovation (ZonMw) https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/6-scientists-to-receive-nwo-vici-grants-for-medical-research-and-care-innovation-zonmw/ 6 leading scientists will each receive 1.5 million euros from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This Vici grant will enable them to develop an innovative line of research in the field of medical research and care innovation and set up their own research group in the coming five years. Hack NWO

As a consequence of the hack of NWO, ZonMw and NWO can at this moment only announce the laureates who applied at ZonMw. It is not yet possible to say when the applicants who applied at NWO, will be informed about their Vici proposal.


Vici is one of the largest scientific grants for individuals in the Netherlands and targets advanced researchers. The Vici laureates will examine among other topics the role of ethnic descent on the risk of lifelong diabetes, spontaneous and inherited mutations in genes and new approaches to characterize how our immune system changes upon infection and how these changes drive virus evolution.


Of the 44 proposals applied at ZonMw, 15 (35%) were submitted by women and 29 (66%) by men. Overall, 1 female candidate and 5 male candidates were awarded a grant. The total award rate is 14 per cent.

Talent Scheme: about Vici

The Vici grant targets highly experienced researchers who have successfully demonstrated the ability to develop their own innovative lines of research, and to act as coaches for young researchers. Vici provides researchers with the opportunity to set up their own research group, often in anticipation of a tenured professorship.

The Vici grant is one of three funding instruments within the Talent Scheme. The other two instruments are the Veni grant (for recently graduated PhDs, up to 3 years after graduation) and the Vidi grant (for experienced postdocs, up to 8 years after graduation).

The Vici is part of the NWO Talent Programme. ZonMw is realising this round for the domain of medical research and healthcare innovation.

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news-6971 Fri, 26 Feb 2021 12:26:24 +0100 ZonMw will announce Vici laureates medical research and health innovation next week https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/zonmw-will-announce-vici-laureates-medical-research-and-health-innovation-next-week/ In the week of 1 March, ZonMw will announce which researchers who submitted a proposal in the domain medical research and health innovation will receive a Vici grant. That is possible because these applicants submitted their proposals to ZonMw and, as a result, the decision-making about their proposals is not affected by the hack of the NWO systems. Therefore, ZonMw can complete the decision-making process for its part of the Vici 2020 round. ZonMw will first inform the applicants about its decision and then publish the news about the laureates on its website. The awarding of Vici grants by NWO for the other domains (Applied and Engineering Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, and Science) are currently delayed. The decision-making for these applications will be resumed once the NWO processes can be restarted. NWO is currently doing all it can to fix the problem as quickly as possible. It is not yet known how long this situation will continue. As soon as there is more clarity about the exact consequences of the situation for the funding programmes, this will be announced on nwo.nl.

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news-6897 Mon, 08 Feb 2021 10:28:00 +0100 Fellowships Gender in Research course https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/fellowships-gender-in-research-course/ After a successful first edition in 2019, ZonMw and ErasmusMC will again offer an interesting online joint course program on gender, health and research. The ZonMw Gender and Health Knowledge Program offers 20 Gender in Research Fellowships for early career researchers to participate in the course program. A Gender in Research Fellowship offers exclusive access to the full online course program. The course program is a two-part program: a ZonMw Gender in Research workshop in May and June and a Gender and Health course in late August organized by ErasmusMC as part of the well-renowned Erasmus Summer Programme. Exact dates will follow as soon as possible.

Throughout the course program, (inter)national experts and guest speakers from a multitude of disciplines will share their knowledge and research expertise with the next generation of researchers from all over the world. Over 5 sessions of 3.5 hours each, the ZonMw workshop will provide early-career researchers with new skills on how to include sex and gender considerations in all phases of the research cycle. The ESP Gender and Health course will offer participants the latest knowledge on critical health issues for women and men through the life cycle.

The ZonMw Gender and Health Knowledge Program offers 20 Gender in Research Fellowships for PhD-students and post-doctoral researchers to participate in the joint program. International early-career researchers are also very welcome to apply. Interested? Read more about the fellowship on our Funding Information page and submit your application before 18 March 2021, 14:00hr (CET).

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news-6872 Thu, 04 Feb 2021 10:15:23 +0100 ZonMw Open Competition: new funding round opens mid-June https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/zonmw-open-competition-new-funding-round-opens-mid-june/ In mid-June 2021, innovative teams of researchers can once again submit project ideas for the ZonMw Open Competition. With the current pandemic situation, everybody is under a lot of pressure. Therefore, instead of 2 months, we will give applicants 4 months of preparation time to submit their project idea once the funding round has opened. The deadline for submissions is mid-October 2021. ZonMw Open Competition is specifically aimed at enabling excellent research teams to realise innovations in their research lines with regard to both content and collaboration. The objective is to create room for team science that leads to synergetic, groundbreaking research of exceptional quality in and around fundamental research into healthcare and health innovation.

The ZonMw Open Competition is part of the NWO funding line Curiosity-Driven Research. ZonMw is realising this round for the domain of medical research and healthcare innovation.

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news-6825 Fri, 22 Jan 2021 18:05:29 +0100 Awarded projects JPIAMR Network Plus Call https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/awarded-projects-jpiamr-network-plus-call/ The intent of the call is to support networks to design and implement ways to support antimicrobial resistance (AMR) research considering at least one of the six strategic areas of the JPIAMR Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA): Therapeutics, Diagnostics, Surveillance, Transmission, Environment and Interventions. Seven networks including 146 partners from 35 countries have been recommended for funding. The total funding amount is approximately € 737.000. Two networks with Dutch coordinators have been awarded a grant by ZonMw. Both networks will start early 2021, with a duration of 2 years. All consortia are composed of at least 6 partners from 6 different countries.

Within this call, eligible costs include costs associated with international network building and collaboration. Examples are joint seminars, courses, workshops, joint conferences, and joint publications or other joint information dissemination.

JPIAMR-network for Integrating Microbial Sequencing and Platforms for Antimicrobial Resistance (Seq4AMR)

The potential utilisation of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) in combatting antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is being constantly refined, aided by the development of novel sequencing technologies, new protocols, algorithms and AMR databanks. In this respect, the Seq4AMR network will generate new synergies, identify AMR NGS gaps and solutions in applications and quality standards, develop and promote new teaching materials and publish an international Strategic Roadmap on NGS and AMR. To achieve this goal, Seq4AMR partners include interdisciplinary, One Health, international experts in the fields of antimicrobial resistance, software development, (open access) bioinformatics platforms, the applications of microbial genomics, DNA sequencing technologies, and microbial DNA databanks.


This project has two coordinators (shared), from the Netherlands and Sweden. The Dutch coordinator is John Hays (Erasmus MC). The network consists of 13 partners from 9 different countries.

  • The Netherlands: Erasmus University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Leiden Centre for Applied Bioscience and Leiden University Hospital
  • China: East China Normal Hospital
  • USA: Orion Integrated Biosciences Inc, SME
  • France: BioMérieux, large industry
  • Sweden: Chalmers University of Technology (CUOT) / University of Gothenburg
  • UK: Cambridge University and London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Canada: McMaster University
  • Switzerland: Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and SmartGene GmbH, SME
  • Austria: Ares Genetics GmbH, SME

JPIAMR Network T&CM alternatives for antibiotics worldwide: Global Initiative for Traditional Solutions to Antimicrobial Resistance (GIFTS-AMR)

Traditional and Complementary Medicine (T&CM) is often used in both animal and human healthcare and may contribute to reducing inappropriate antibiotic use or as alternative prevention or treatment.

The aims of the network are:

  1. To develop a global GIFTS-AMR network: to map and connect the research fields, research institutes, researchers and infrastructures in human and animal medicine involved in research on “Traditional Solutions to Antimicrobial Resistance” worldwide;
  2. To discuss and formulate a research agenda for at least one to three prioritised indications both in human and veterinary healthcare;
  3. Collaborate in funding applications.


This network has a Dutch coordinator, Erik Baars (Louis Bolk Instituut). The network consists of 23 partners from 17 different countries.

  • The Netherlands: Louis Bolk Institute and University of Applied Sciences Leiden
  • Austria: Private Medical University, Sigmund Freud University, Vienna and WissHOM
  • Belgium: Eurocam
  • Bulgaria: Medical University of Varna
  • China: Centre for Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicin
  • Germany: University of Witten-Herdecke, University Medical Centre Freiburg and Sustainable Business Institute
  • Ghana: University of Ghana School of Pharmacy
  • Hungary: University of Pécs
  • India: The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences & Technology (B. Prakash)
  • Italy: Coordination Center for Complementary Medicine of the Health Unit Tuscany North West and Foundation for Salutogenesis
  • Mali: University of Sciences, Techniques and Bamako Technologies (USTTB) Faculty of Pharmacy
  • Nigeria: National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research & Development
  • Norway: Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture
  • Spain: IAVH
  • Turkey: Uludag University
  • Uganda: Makerere University
  • UK: Univ. of Southampton, School of Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education and Organic research centre

More information

  • Read more about this JPIAMR call on the JPIAMR website
news-6808 Tue, 19 Jan 2021 11:30:00 +0100 Access for researchers to worldwide open access publishing platform https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/access-for-researchers-to-worldwide-open-access-publishing-platform/ On 1 April 2021, NWO and ZonMw will become members of Europe PMC (PubMed Central), an open science platform that maintains a worldwide collection of scientific articles and other research output. This membership allows NWO and ZonMw funded researchers in the life sciences and medical sciences to globally share their publications via one central location. With this, they will also satisfy the requirements that NWO and ZonMw set for the research projects they fund: making publications openly accessible immediately. Europe PMC is one of the largest open access platforms and is the European mirror version of the American PubMed Central (PMC) that is used throughout the world. For example, Europe PMC contains 6.6 million full articles and 38.1 million abstracts, including those from PubMed and PubMed Central (PMC). Whereas PubMed provides access to abstracts and PMC to full articles, Europe PMC provides online access to a worldwide collection of abstracts, full articles, preprints and patents in the field of medical and life sciences. The membership of Europe PMC helps NWO and ZonMw funded researchers to make the research results openly available, according to the so-called “green route”, and to share these in open access form at a single location thereby making their work even more visible and findable.

The advantages of open access publication via Europe PMC

Europe PMC is more than just a platform. It is also a search engine that provides the richest sets of results in the area of the life sciences and medical sciences. Publications are automatically enriched or linked with information from other sources, such as preprints and information from research funding and project data or, for example, with links to underlying research data. Some publishers will automatically upload articles emerging from research funded by NWO and ZonMw to Europe PMC.
Europe PMC is pleased that NWO and ZonMw will become members of this global platform for open access publishing.

Aiming for 100% open access publishing

In 2019, the research funding agencies NWO and ZonMw endorsed Plan S with the ambition of fully implementing the principles of Plan S with effect from 1 January 2021. Plan S was drawn up by cOAlition S, a collaboration between international research funding agencies whose aim is to accelerate the transition to 100% Open Access. In recent years, NWO and ZonMw committed themselves to realising this. For example, they have both made their funding conditions stricter by stipulating that all scientific publications that emerge from research they fund should be published immediately in open access form. The membership of Europe PMC is the next step in supporting researchers to realise this and comply with the principles of Plan S.

NWO and ZonMw will soon inform researchers and other stakeholders about the way in which the services of Europe PMC can be used.

More information

Europe PMC:

NWO Open Access policy: 

  • NWO open access publiseren (NL) 
  • NWO open access publishing

ZonMw Open Access policy:

news-6779 Wed, 13 Jan 2021 17:04:00 +0100 New JPIAMR call focused on tackling antibiotic resistance https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/new-jpiamr-call-focused-on-tackling-antibiotic-resistance/ We are pleased to open this joint transnational research call about One Health interventions to prevent or reduce the development and transmission of antibiotic resistance. The call, has financial support from the European Commission, and include some 30 funding organisations from 21 JPIAMR member countries. The total estimated call budget is 24.9 million Euro. Antibiotic resistance, One Health and international collaboration

The call advocates for a One Health approach to 1) understand the impact of interventions on the development and transmission of antibiotic resistance and to 2) design, implement, evaluate, and compare interventions that will have a true impact on preventing or reducing the development and transmission of antibiotic resistance in and between the different One Health settings (human, animal, environment).

This call intends to create and reinforce the collaboration between research partners coming from different countries, including LMICs, and different fields of expertise to promote research on antibiotic resistance.

Proposals will be evaluated in a two-step procedure (pre-proposals/full proposals), and applicants have up to March 16th, 2021, 12:00 CET to submit their pre-proposals on www.jpiamr.eu/interventions-and-transmission-call-2021/.

Webinar [updated]

A live webinar was held on the 28th of January 2021 presenting the call and the partner search tool. Representatives from funders participating in the call answered questions live.

The presentations from the webinar are now published on the JPIAMR YouTube channel

A summary of the Q&A can be found here: Q&A Online Webinar for applicants 28 January 2021

Match-making tool

A match-making tool has been created for applicants, to facilitate networking and the creation of consortia. The tool can be consulted for several purposes:

  • Partner looking for project: As individual researcher or a representative of a lab or research team, searching for a project to join.
  • Project looking for partner: If you want to build a consortium around an existing project and want to find partners for your project ideas.

Find and use the tool here: https://ncn.gov.pl/partners/amr13th/

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news-6778 Mon, 11 Jan 2021 17:16:48 +0100 What do microplastics do in our body? https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/what-do-microplastics-do-in-our-body-2/ On Monday 11 January 2021, the knowledge agenda Microplastics and Health was presented to the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, Stientje van Veldhoven. This knowledge agenda describes the most important knowledge gaps and calls for more research. ZonMw, together with other research funding bodies, has made an important first step in the right direction for further solution-focussed research. On behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, ZonMw carried out a foresight study into the need for knowledge about microplastics and health. This has resulted in the knowledge agenda What do micro-plastics do in our body?. This knowledge agenda was produced in collaboration with various relevant parties: researchers, companies, policymakers, NGOs and other stakeholders.
Knowledge agenda’s recommendations

The Netherlands is one of the first countries in the world to have funded research into the health effects of microplastics. This is a good first step, but further research is desperately needed. The knowledge agenda clearly recommends further research. Fundamental research remains important and must also be expanded with research into exposure. The research infrastructure must be safeguarded and collaboration within the research is crucial, with a special focus on implementing the results in practice. Many parties have a considerable need for this knowledge, such as parties that produce and process plastics and are striving to achieve a circular economy, but also organisations responsible for water, air and food quality.


The key message from the knowledge agenda is the need for more research. ZonMw, TNO and Health~Holland, together with various knowledge institutions and industrial partners, are taking a first step in this direction. They are jointly providing 5.4 million euros in funding for the MOMENTUM consortium. The aim of this consortium is to determine the effects of micro- and nanoplastic particles (MNPs) on human health and ultimately to prevent this. First of all, methods will be developed to analyse and measure MNPs in the human body. Next, research will be conducted into where in the human body these plastic particles might be absorbed. This can occur via the airways and the gastrointestinal tract and it remains to be seen whether these plastic particles could end up in the brain or in an unborn child. Finally, the potential effects of MNPs on our immune system will also be investigated.

The MOMENTUM consortium builds upon the work of 15 breakthrough projects that started in the spring of 2019 within the ZonMw research programme Microplastics & Health. These projects focussed on the same subjects. ‘We know very little about whether MNPs are actually absorbed by the body’, says Juliette Legler (Utrecht University), Professor of Toxicology and project leader of MOMENTUM. ‘There are initial indications for this but we will now investigate it using far more samples from human blood and various tissues. That will help us to gain a better understanding of exposure in humans and to determine how serious this exposure is. In addition, we want to record the effects of MNPs. If we know what is actually absorbed in the body and what the effects of this are, then together with industry we can search for solutions to prevent exposure.’ Toxicologist Dick Vethaak (Deltares), also project leader of MOMENTUM, agrees with this: ‘It is a very complex and long-term study. However, we are making good progress in the Netherlands and we expect to make a considerable step forwards in the coming years. We will also search for potential new dangers of plastic particles. The first ZonMw projects revealed that certain bacteria and viruses thrive on plastic and can therefore enter the body via MNPs. Now we will further investigate what effect that might have on our health.’

In MOMENTUM, researchers from universities, university hospitals and research organisations will work together with companies and important stakeholders. Through scientific knowledge,
MOMENTUM will make an important contribution to solving the societal problem of MNPs in our living environment. Therefore, according to Legler, MOMENTUM’s impact will extend beyond the current project duration of three years; ‘The project is a next step towards an investment in the national infrastructure for microplastics, in which all parties jointly seek solutions instead of working independently from one another.’
More research needed

This consortium is just a first small step in the right direction for continued further research. The presentation of the knowledge agenda is simultaneously a call to the parties involved to invest in research. Within ZonMw, there are several initiatives that focus on a healthy living environment and how, through healthy behaviour, this can contribute to people’s overall health. The topic of microplastics therefore falls within these initiatives. More research is needed to make a difference and in this, collaboration plays a crucial role.

Further information about microplastics research within ZonMw and the digital edition of the knowledge agenda can be found at www.zonmw.nl/microplastics-onderzoek

Questions from the press

For questions from the press, please contact ZonMw spokesperson Cassandra Appelman (appelman@zonmw.nl, +31 6 8312 4710).

Microplastics & Health projects

Begin 2019 ZonMw started projects about microplastics and the effects on our health. Read about the most important results of these researches. Microplastics project results

Bekijk deze pagina in het Nederlands

news-6571 Wed, 25 Nov 2020 14:46:10 +0100 Pre-announcement: new round of ZonMw Open Competion in the fall of 2021 https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/pre-announcement-new-round-of-zonmw-open-competion-in-the-fall-of-2021/ Fall of 2021 researchers can apply again for the ZonMw Open Competition. Originally the start of a new call for proposals was February 2021, but as a result of the COVID pandememic the current round is prolonged. This has consequences for the following calls, so we had to take measures and adapt the schedule. More information and the exact time table with deadlines for the new call for proposals will follow in 2021.

The aim of the ZonMw Open Competition is to create space for excellent, curiosity-driven, groundbreaking science. The grant offers excellent research groups the opportunity to renew their line of research, enter into new collaborations and perform studies of exceptional quality in the field of health.

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news-6527 Thu, 19 Nov 2020 12:00:00 +0100 Award for RAPDIF https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/award-for-rapdif/ On 19 November, during World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, ZonMw awarded a Parel (Award) to Dr. Henk Schallig, parasitologist at Amsterdam UMC. He received the award for the RAPDIF study, which developed better tools and knowledge for tackling fever and malaria in Africa. One of the biggest causes of fever is malaria, a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people in Africa every year, the majority of them children under the age of five. The RAPDIF study found that the diagnosis and treatment of fever in young children in Africa is often inadequate. Rapid malaria tests are not reliable enough and, in the absence of a proper diagnosis, children with fever are often treated with both anti-malaria drugs and antibiotics. The antibiotics were found to be of no benefit in no fewer than 50 to 90% of cases.

New rapid test

The RAPDIF researchers approached the problem from two angles: making rapid malaria tests more reliable, and identifying other causes of fever. The study was performed by a group of Dutch and Burkinabe researchers in Burkina Faso. Together, they succeeded in developing a new rapid malaria test that is no less than a hundred times more sensitive that the current rapid tests. Local health workers were found to have more faith in the new test. A follow-up study involving 5700 children and adults in five African countries will show whether the new malaria test works on a large scale.

Bacterial diagnostic test

The RAPDIF team also discovered that, besides malaria, fever in young children is commonly caused by four types of bacteria: E-coli, Salmonella typhi, Pneumococcus and Streptococcus. The researchers worked on a rapid diagnostic test to detect these bacteria in blood, but this is a difficult technical challenge. Provided they secure funding, they hope to enable a rapid test for these bacteria which, combined with the rapid malaria test, would allow fever to be treated in a much more targeted way. Children could be given the correct treatment, either anti-malaria drugs or antibiotics.

International research

This would also help curb antimicrobial resistance. ‘Infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance are good friends, travelling the world hand in hand, with no regard for borders or differences between people’, Henk Schallig explained. ‘The fact that we received this award for our work underlines the importance of international research into resistance. Knowledge gained in other parts of the world is very important for the Netherlands, and vice versa. The ZonMw and NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development grant for our RAPDIF study contributed a huge amount of extra knowledge about use of medicines, diagnostics and resistance, and also about capacity-building in Burkina Faso. For our team in Burkina Faso and the Netherlands, the Parel is a huge encouragement to continue this work, and that is just what we plan to do.’

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news-6513 Mon, 16 Nov 2020 17:56:31 +0100 Recent publications from international AMR projects with Dutch participation https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/recent-publications-from-international-amr-projects-with-dutch-participation/ On behalf of the Netherlands, we are part of the international partnership Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR), currently a collaboration between 28 member countries. Many projects funded under the framework of the JPIAMR already resulted in outstanding publications that range over One Health areas (Human, Animal, Environment). Here we highlight three projects. These projects are co-funded by ZonMw, with Dutch coordinators and/or project partners that recently published their results. Below are the summaries of the highlighted publications across the priority topics of the JPIAMR Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA).

WGS snapshot of MDR Klebsiella pneumoniae strains from WWTPs

A publication in PlosOne, 2020 from the project AWARE reported genomic characterization of 47 multi-drug resistant, carbapenem resistant and ESBL-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates from hospitals and receiving wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Southern Romania. The presented results enrich the knowledge of the epidemiological context of ESKAPE pathogens at national and European level, a major step in the implementation of reliable surveillance and actions plans.

Priority topic SRIA: Environment
Call on Transmission Dynamics, 2016
Consortium coordinator: Ana Maria de Roda Husman, Centre Infectious Disease Control, RIVM, Netherlands.
Including partners from: Netherlands, Sweden, Romania, Germany, Australia, Switzerland
Involved funders: ZonMw, SRC/FORMAS, ANCSI, BMBF/DLR

A digital antimicrobial stewardship smartphone application

AB-Assistant published a study protocol to evaluate the impact of digital antimicrobial stewardship smartphone application on quantity and quality of antimicrobial drug prescribing for the hospital setting in BMJ Open, 2020. This study is now registered for an international randomised, multicentre, clinical trial. (Trial registration number: NCT03793946, ClinicalTrials.gov registry).

Priority topic SRIA: Interventions
Call on Prevention and Intervention strategies to Control AMR infections, 2017
Consortium coordinator: Annelies Verbon, Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Erasmus University Medical Center, Netherlands.
Including partners from: Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Romania, Czech Republic
Involved funders: ZonMw, SRC, SNSF, CIHR

COM-Blockers reduce the spread of virulence factors and antibiotic resistance

The project COMBINATORIALS published an article in Cell Host & Microbe, 2020 where they identified potent competence inhibitors in Streptococcus pneumoniae, called COM-blockers. These compounds disrupt proton motive force, block natural competence (COM) and interrupt intraspecies horizontal gene transfer and exchange of antibiotic resistance. Such strategies might minimize clinical spread of antibiotic resistance.

Priority topic SRIA: Therapeutics
Antimicrobial Resistance through the JPIAMR, 2015
Consortium coordinator: Typas Athanasios, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Genome Biology Unit, Germany.
Dutch project partner: Jan-Willem Veening, Molecular Genetics Department, University of Groningen
Including partners from: Germany, Netherlands, France, Sweden
Involved funders: DRL, ZonMw, ANR, SCR
The entire list of the publications from the projects and networks supported under the JPIAMR framework is also available on the webpage: www.jpiamr.eu/scientific-articles

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news-6442 Thu, 05 Nov 2020 09:08:00 +0100 161 researchers awarded a NWO Veni grant worth 250,000 euros https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/161-researchers-awarded-a-nwo-veni-grant-worth-250000-euros/ The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded a Veni grant worth up to 250,000 euros to 161 highly promising young scientists. The grant provides the laureates with the opportunity to further elaborate their own ideas during a period of three years. The Veni laureates will conduct research on a variety of subjects such as the impact of social networks on democracy, the development of a biosensor that contributes to the revelation of fingerprints, and sustainable hydrogen that benefits the energy transition. The Veni will also be employed to investigate the shared focal point of common diseases and rare diseases, metabolic potentiation of vaccines, and the dynamic prediction, monitoring and recommendations for late effects after breast cancer.

25 of the 161 rewarded researchers will contribute to innovation and new knowledge for health care and medical research.

Veni is part of the NWO Talent Programma which ZonMw executes for the domain of Health Care and Medical Reserch

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news-6430 Wed, 04 Nov 2020 09:20:00 +0100 81 researchers receive NWO-Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/81-researchers-receive-nwo-vidi-grant-worth-800000-euros/ The Dutch Research Council has awarded 81 experienced researchers a Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros. The grant enables them to develop their own innovative line of research and set up their own research group in the coming five years. With the grant the Vidi laureates will do research on a variety of subjects including computational models that help understand social tipping points and ways to stronger assess climate adaptation policy. The Vidi will also help researchers develop a new system that gives robots an awareness of their physical limitations, even after failures. Another research will focus on the development of advanced computer models to improve the treatment of heart rhythm disorders.

15 of the 81 rewarded researchers will contribute to innovation and new knowledge for health care and medical research.

Vidi is part of the NWO Talent Programma which ZonMw executes for the domain of Health Care and Medical Reserch

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news-6418 Wed, 28 Oct 2020 13:57:36 +0100 Participation in research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/participation-in-research/ In the research world, everybody now knows that good research goes hand-in-hand with the input of peer experts. But how can that participation best be realised? We asked Christine Dedding who, as Associate Professor at Amsterdam UMC, is specialised in participation and co-creation. ‘We need to go and discover and shape things together.' Let’s start with the basics. What is participation?

‘The core idea of participation is that we all possess valuable knowledge. The policymaker, but also children, young people, the elderly, people with a disability or illness, everybody. You can only produce policies that work and interventions that are effective if you do justice to everybody’s knowledge and expertise. That means not only listening carefully, but especially working together too. As far as I’m concerned, participation is not a method, but a value that says something about how we relate to each other.’

What does that yield?

‘Policy and interventions that connect with the complex reality of people. I get irritated by sentences like: “they’re not motivated” or “they can’t do it”. We often hear that from people behind desks in institutes. It is far too easy for policymakers, advisers or researchers to talk about people in this way. However, that does not do justice to the knowledge and expertise of the people concerned. Such a view of reality is far too limited to be able to develop good policy.

An example. I’m working together with colleagues in a project about digital inequality. This concerns people affected by poverty who are struggling to find their way in the digital world. Our Pavlovian response to this is: we must train these people. But if you take the time to carefully study the complex living environment of those people, you’ll see that this is not a solution. A lack of money means pressure and stress.

How are you going to pay for the groceries? How are you going to buy those long wanted shoes for your son? On Monday there is language training, on Tuesday debt counselling and then on Wednesday yet another training to improve your digital skills? With all of those financial worries on their minds, of course people don’t have the time for that. You will only acquire new knowledge if you investigate together and learn together. That gives rise to policy that genuinely connects with people’s realities.’

But isn’t there far more attention for participation in research nowadays?

‘Yes, there certainly is. The philosophy has taken root and is encouraged by ZonMw, for example. That’s fantastic. But I sometimes wonder whether we’ve lost sight of the original goal of participation.
By doing justice to everybody’s knowledge and expertise, the founders of the philosophy wanted to realise positive changes in society. And then especially for the have-nots, therefore those people in vulnerable circumstances who are neither seen nor heard. Despite the attention for participation in research, that group is still heard too little.

I mainly see a lot of focus groups. Then you invite people into your system, which is comfortable for researchers and institutes. Furthermore, the handful of people in such groups never represent the necessary diversity. They’re often well educated and feel at ease within the system in which we have learned to work. Those are not the people we’re trying to help.’

So what should we be doing?

‘Less focus on making decisions over the heads of people and instead really meeting the people concerned and collaborating with them. Preferably in the living environment of the people we’re trying to help. That is where new knowledge arises, not in meeting rooms.

Therefore every project starts by examining who the people are that the research is investigating, what motivates them and what their needs are. First of all, we need to find those people, in a community centre or wherever else they may be found. Then you can get to know and trust each other, which costs time, and only then can you start to build something.’

And that is when the research question arises?

‘Ideally, yes. However, if the research question was already formulated from behind a researcher’s desk, then I hope that this happened in interaction with the people it concerns.’

How does participation acquire a concrete form in that research?

‘Yes, I often hear that question. My disappointing answer is always that I don’t really know. That is indeed the crux of the problem. Because you need to go and discover and shape things together. You cannot say: one size fits all. Even I begin by asking the same basic questions each time. Who is it about? What is needed here? And how can we help each other? It is an interactive process of building, thinking, reflecting and taking the next step.’

But are there keys for success?

‘Fortunately, yes. Invest in the meeting and avoid organising it in a formal setting. Go and cook or take a walk together, or do something else that is appropriate to the project. Be creative in the methods that you use. Participation all too often gains a verbal form. And with that, we unintentionally exclude a lot of people.

By asking questions, we do not always reach the deeper emotions. For example, work with photography or go and build with Lego. This is the only way other types of knowledge and emotion can emerge. By doing something together instead of just talking, a different type of conversation develops.’

What does that mean for the role of the researcher?

‘That role revolves far more around helpfulness in facilitating a learning process. You always participate as a researcher, of course. That means analysing what happens and thoroughly recording that.
Furthermore, I not only publish in academic journals, but I also devise ways and tools for sharing knowledge in everyday practice. Only then will changes and improvements occur. If you have spent time together and learned from each other, then implementation is a far more natural process. Via the people with the experience and knowledge, it will end up where it needs to be.’

What does participation require from researchers?

‘Creativity. And if you’re not that creative, then involve other people who are. It requires flexibility. And because you do not always know who you will meet or what you will do, it also requires courage. Knowledge and expertise about the philosophy is also important. Because if you genuinely understand why participation is important then, in turn, you will gain more courage.

We have started the School for Participation (website in Dutch) to better explain participation and the underlying sources of knowledge. We also organise participation cafes. There researchers can present dilemmas so that they can together make progress in the learning process. Because it’s a process that can make you feel uncertain. After all, how do you do things if there’s no blueprint?’

How do you hope participation in research will develop further?

‘We need to keep on learning. ZonMw has done a really good job at boosting participation among researchers and project applicants. This phase has borne fruit, and everybody knows it is important and desirable. Now we need to critically examine who is involved and in particular: who is not involved. We also need to consider whether the ultimate objective of societal change for those who cannot easily provide input and be heard is firmly at the fore.

In the project I mentioned earlier about digital inequality we found, for example, that we need to make use of different systems. Because these citizens affected by poverty are busy with surviving and do not have time for yet another training. The professionals - who are paid to do this - must learn to design in such a way that these people can also make good use of what we offer. From this perspective, the question who lacks certain skills should not only be asked about users, but about the commissioning bodies and the designers of the research as well.’

So rethinking things?

‘Precisely. And that requires a joint learning process that starts with the meeting, there where people live.’

Author and photography Marieke Kessel

news-6415 Wed, 28 Oct 2020 10:47:58 +0100 New research into promotion of the health potential of people in a lower socioeconomic position https://www.nwo.nl/en/news-and-events/news/2020/10/new-research-into-improved-use-of-health-potential-of-people-in-a-lower-socioeconomic-position.html How can the health potential of people in a lower socioeconomic position be better engaged and promoted? This is the key question in a new call for proposals from the NWA. news-6374 Mon, 19 Oct 2020 09:04:20 +0200 Largest study ever on research integrity launches, aimed at all researchers in the Netherlands https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/largest-study-ever-on-research-integrity-launches-aimed-at-all-researchers-in-the-netherlands/ The National Survey on Research Integrity (NSRI) is being distributed to nearly 40,000 researchers in the Netherlands starting today. The survey marks the starts of not only the largest study ever conducted, worldwide,on research integrity, but also the first and largest study to target the entire research communityin the Netherlands, acrossall disciplines. The survey seeks to sketch as accurate and complete a picture as possible of theissues that can foster or hinder research integrity, such as open science practices, competitiveness, trust in published studies, work pressure, and questionable and responsible research practices.

“We are living in a time when scientific research and outcomes are essential to making decisions that affect the general populationand our country’s welfare,” said professor Lex Bouter, project leader for the NSRI. “There is much at stake, and it is imperative that those who are relying on science can also trust our research practices.”

The NSRI is one ofthe projects in the Fostering Responsible Research Practices (FRRP) programme, conducting “research about research”and underwritten by the Dutch organisations ZonMw, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and their partners. ZonMw, NWO and their partners are investing a total of 3.8 million euros over five years to realise the four pillars of the FRRP programme, of which the NSRI is one of.

According to FRRP: “By means of the NSRI, we will gain insight into the nature and causes of questionable research practices. The results will be used to implement substantiated improvements.

"Why research integrity –and why now?"

Different to ethics, research integrity generally refers to the principles and standards whose purpose it is to ensure validity and trustworthiness of research,” according to Gowri Gopalakrishna, the post-doc researcher on the NSRI team. “It has become an urgent topic not only in the Netherlands, but also worldwide, especially with the open science movement.”

Accelerated scientific publishing during the Covid-19 pandemic is an example that Bouter, Gopalakrishna and their team have cited as a reason to bring research integrity topics to the front of researchers’ attention, noting that the first four months of the pandemic resultedin muchmore related scientific publishing than in 2003 with the outbreak of SARS.

“The rapidly increasing number of publications combined with the urgency to quickly understand the new pathogen presents a significant challenge for maintaining the integrity of the underlying evidence base, and to ensure that research is conducted according to global standards of research integrity,” Gopalakrishna and Bouterargue in a commentarywritten in June 2020 for British Medical Journal Opinion.

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news-6307 Tue, 06 Oct 2020 16:37:10 +0200 Powerful US research funder unveils strict open-access policy https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02793-5?utm_source=Nature+Briefing&utm_campaign=f99132318c-briefing-dy-20201002&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c9dfd39373-f99132318c-43672369 One of the world’s richest biomedical research organizations, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), announced on 1 October that it will require scientists it funds to make papers open access (OA) as soon as they are published — a change to its current policy, which allows a delay of up to one year before results must be free to read. news-6296 Tue, 06 Oct 2020 13:25:00 +0200 Overview of AMR-related resources and services https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/overview-of-amr-related-resources-and-services/ It is with pleasure that we share the public report on the survey set out to create an overview of resources and services related to antimicrobial resistance research. We would like to thank everyone who provided input, participated and/or shared the AMR survey. We are very delighted with the interesting insights it provided. Public report and dashboard – make sure to check it out!

It is with pleasure that we share with you two things:

  1. The public report of the survey results. View the public report
  2. A selection of the results are now also presented in an interactive and user-friendly dashboard that can be used by the entire AMR research community. View the interactive dashboard.

We could not have done this without the AMR community!

Next steps

Another survey will be set out to collect more detailed information about individual resources and services, and to address issues related to their findability, reuse, sustainability, and quality. For the next survey we strive to use a machine-readable metadata scheme, ensuring that the input is documented according to a standardised & community-agreed description, is interoperable, and remains up-to-date!

Feel free to share

You are more than welcome to further distribute the public report and dashboard within your network.

This is an initiative by ZonMw (the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development) on behalf of the consortia JPIAMR and VALUE-Dx.

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news-6207 Mon, 21 Sep 2020 10:25:40 +0200 16 Starting science talents go to top foreign institutions thanks to Rubicon https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/16-starting-science-talents-go-to-top-foreign-institutions-thanks-to-rubicon-1/ 16 researchers who have recently received their PhDs can do their research at foreign research institutes thanks to a Rubicon grant from NWO. The Rubicon programme gives young, highly promising researchers the opportunity to gain international research experience. They investigate responses among other topics the plumbing of miniature kidneys, breastfeeding and healthprotecting, protecting kidneys on the ICU and the role of cholersterol in Alzheimer’s disease.  

Top institutions

For many researchers, experience abroad is an important step in their career. Thanks to the Rubicon grant these young researchers can do their research at top institutions such as Oxford and Harvard. The laureates depart to different destinations: seven laureates are going to the United States, four to the United Kingdom, two to Germany and the rest of the individual candidates are going to Australia, Israel and France.

More information

Read the complete news item of NWO
Overview of the granted Rubicon 2020-1 round

Source: NWO


news-6284 Tue, 08 Sep 2020 14:00:00 +0200 COVID-19 funding round for the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/covid-19-funding-round-for-the-caribbean-part-of-the-kingdom-of-the-netherlands/ Within the COVID-19 Programme, ZonMw and NWO have opened a funding round that is specifically intended for the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Reason for funding round

The coronavirus crisis has had a huge impact on the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. Measures that have been taken worldwide, such as travel restrictions, have led to the loss of tourism to these countries. The considerable dependence on this sector, combined with the small scale of operations in the region, has resulted in many residents no longer having an income. At the lower side of the labour market, in particular, many jobs have been lost. Vulnerable groups in society are the worst-hit.

Solutions through research

There is no simple solution to this complex issue. Research is needed to offer government bodies and residents of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom a way out of this crisis and possible future crises too. How do you ensure that societies and economies become resilient? What works and what does not? The focus is on two subjects:
-    Protecting vulnerable groups in society;
-    Building up a more diverse and accordingly more resilient economy.
As part of the COVID-19 Programme – focus area Societal Dynamics -  this funding round therefore focuses on these two subjects.

Planning and budget

From 8 September 2020 onwards, research proposals can be submitted to ZonMw by the universities of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Martin. A total of € 500,000 is available and applicants can apply for a maximum of € 250,000 per project. The intended maximum duration of the projects is 18 months. The deadline for submitting proposals is 27 October 2020. The projects can start at the end of November.

More information

•    See the call for proposals COVID-19: Societal dynamics in the Dutch Caribbean
•    Read more about current and completed studies into COVID-19
•    Go to the page about the COVID-19 Programme