ZonMw tijdlijn Quality in Health Care https://www.zonmw.nl/ Het laatste nieuws van de tijdlijn van Quality in Health Care en-gb Fri, 05 Mar 2021 21:10:57 +0100 Fri, 05 Mar 2021 21:10:57 +0100 TYPO3 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

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.

Statistics

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.


More information

 

 

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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.

More information

 

 

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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.

Partners

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.

Partners

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
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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:

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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.

MOMENTUM

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.’
Partnership

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

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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.

More information

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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

More information     

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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

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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.

More information
 

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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.

More information

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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

 

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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

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news-6102 Tue, 01 Sep 2020 09:41:36 +0200 Animal-free innovations for better COVID-19 research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/animal-free-innovations-for-better-covid-19-research/ This summer, 40 research projects into the coronavirus pandemic and the consequences of thisstarted with funding from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. We rapidly need a lot of knowledge about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease COVID-19. Animal-free models can play a role in that because the results can be better translated to humans and yield outcomes faster. Five projects with animal-free research will therefore start. In April of this year, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport made 40 million euros available to ZonMw and NWO for research into the coronavirus pandemic and the consequences of this for society, such as the illness COVID-19. The research results should become available as quickly as possible for everybody who has an interest in this illness: doctors and nurses, national and municipal governments, care providers and citizens. With animal-free innovations, research can be done better and faster. And that is vitally important now: the committee of the ZonMw research programme More Knowledge with Fewer Animals therefore made extra funding available to realise projects with such animal-free innovations within the research programme COVID-19. ‘I’m proud of the performance delivered by everyone involved, applicants and assessors, because an awful lot of work was realised in a short space of time’, says Dick Tommel, chair of the committee More Knowledge with Fewer Animals.

The Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing also made funding available for this call for proposals. ‘Many animal experiments are performed for research into COVID-19. We will almost certainly see that in the figures’, says Debby Weijers of the Society. ‘With this initiative, we want to contribute to COVID-19 research without animal experiments. For this disease in particular – and similar diseases in the future – we hope to achieve a lot with human models. That is because these models reveal far more accurately how the disease progresses in humans. Also, with human models, we can personalise the research, for example by using stem cells or computer simulations based on patient data. With such approaches, we can better investigate why the virus makes certain groups more ill than others. Animal models will not be able to provide an answer to these and other questions.’

Exemplary projects

In this special round, embedded in the COVID-19 call for proposals, five projects were selected that make broader use of existing animal-free innovation or make the development of new animal-free innovations possible.

A heparin puff against coronavirus infection? - Theo Geijtenbeek (Amsterdam UMC)

Theo Geijtenbeek, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Immunology at Amsterdam UMC, will lead research into the possible preventive effect of the anticoagulant low molecular weight heparin against SARS-CoV-2. Already, COVID-19 patients are now immediately administered heparin by means of injections when they are hospitalised in order to prevent blood clots. But Geijtenbeek and his group discovered that this drug also blocks the binding of the virus to cells and consequently prevents infection. Now they want to investigate whether inhaling heparin can have a preventive effect so that, for example, healthcare personnel can use a heparin inhaler to protect themselves from infection. The first step in the research is innovative, says a proud Geijtenbeek. Volunteers will be asked to inhale heparin via the nose. Subsequently, the researchers will remove some nasal mucosa cells (just like during a coronavirus test) and will subsequently expose these cells to the virus to investigate the antiviral effect of heparin. Geijtenbeek: ‘We want to do it in this way to prevent the need for animal experiments and so that we can enter the clinical phase earlier. And time is an important factor in this pandemic’. In addition, the research group will make use of a dynamic human cell model to further investigate the effect of heparin on the coronavirus infection.

A broadly applicable dynamic model – Robbert Rottier (Sophia Children’s Hospital)

A dynamic cell model is a research setup that the consortium led by Robbert Rottier, senior researcher at the Pulmonology Department of the Sophia Children’s Hospital, will use for their research. Static lung systems are used a lot in today’s coronavirus research. The disadvantage of these models is that they only simulate the functioning of human lung cells to a limited extent. Therefore, Rottier’s team, together with professor Roman Truckenmüller from Maastricht University and the MERLN Institute, will produce a closed dynamic system. They will use an existing bioreactor to simultaneously culture human cells from both the epithelium of both the respiratory passages and blood vessels. By transporting microfluids through this, a dynamic system will arise. That can be used to better study the development and progression of our infections such as COVID-19. Through the collaboration with Truckenmüller, an expert in the area of nanotechnology and biochips, and the MERLN institute, this system can also be rapidly produced at a commercial scale and made available to laboratories. The team is also working on a protocol so that the model can be used without the need for extra training. According to Rottier, working on animal-free innovations has additional advantages: ‘Since we started working on this type of innovation, we have increasingly looked for alternatives within the research group, and our use of laboratory animals has decreased.’

Combining human cell models with genetic characteristics – Jeffrey Beekman (UMC Utrecht)

Working on animal-free innovations can make researchers more aware of how they do their research. It is also what Jeffrey Beekman, Professor of Cellular Disease Models at University Medical Center Utrecht discovered. ‘Before this, I did not particularly focus on animal-free research, but the call for proposals and writing the proposal has made me more aware of this. I now pay more attention to the materials I work with, such as the human cells that originate from individuals and the serum that I use to allow those cells to grow. That serum often has an animal origin.’ For research into COVID-19, Beekman and his research team will use cell models to study how the coronavirus infection works in vivo on various organs: upper respiratory passages (nose), lower respiratory passages (lungs), intestines and kidneys. ‘By combining these models with unique genetic characteristics of the cell donors, you can compare the different tissues and discover factors that influence the effects of the coronavirus and the efficacy of the drugs used against it’, says Beekman. ‘In the case of COVID-19, that is particularly important because the virus affects various organs.’

Microchips as mini-patients with COVID-19 – Andries van der Meer (University of Twente)

How can you simulate a COVID-19 patient so that you can investigate why some patients develop blood clots? That was the question which Andries van der Meer, Associate Professor in Applied Stem Cell Technology at the University of Twente, and his team will tackle. Some 10-30% of people with COVID-19 who are hospitalised, end up developing blood clots. Consequently, this group of patients has a far worse prognosis. The basis for the project is a model of mini-blood vessels on a microchip developed by the University of Twente. By adding blood plasma from patients to this model, Van der Meer and his team hope to develop models of COVID-19 patients. These models can then be used to simulate the development of blood clots. To realise this, they sought collaboration with Saskia Middeldorp, Professor of Internal Medicine at Amsterdam UMC, and Christine Mummery, Professor of Developmental Biology at Leiden University Medical Center. For the research, it is vital that material from different patients with and without COVID-19 is used. Because why do some COVID-19 patients suffer from these clots and hypoxia, whereas others do not? These individual models will function as mini-patients on which treatments and drugs can be tested in the second phase. For Van der Meer, the use of these human models is a logical step: ‘The technology has developed in such a way over the past 5 to 10 years that we can now make models that closely resemble humans and consequently make a fast “turn-over’ towards patients. The reflex of using animal models in medical research is deeply rooted. However, with the extra tools that are now at our disposal, we can do exciting things that have added value and are animal-free.’

Better insight into lung damage due to COVID-19 – Pieter Hiemstra (Leiden University Medical Center)

Patients recover slowly from COVID-19, and it seems that both the virus and the immune system’s response to the virus cause damage to the alveoli. How do the cells that cover the respiratory passages and alveoli, the epithelial cells, respond to the virus and how does that response contribute to lung damage? These are the questions that Pieter Hiemstra, Professor of Cell Biology and
Immunology of Lung Diseases, will tackle together with his colleagues from Leiden University Medical Center. For the research, the team will make use of tested human cell models, organoids andconventional culture models. In the first phase, epithelial cells from, among other things, the nose and alveoli will be cultured to examine what the virus does with the different cell types.

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news-6091 Mon, 31 Aug 2020 09:43:46 +0200 Open Access: more impact from research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/open-access-more-impact-from-research/ Open Access publishing ensures that research is quickly and easily accessible. During the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of that has become clearer than ever before. For example, doctors and patients search for information about the treatment of COVID-19. To increase the impact of knowledge, ZonMw will tighten the guidelines for Open Access with effect from 1 January 2021. What will change? Better research and more impact through Open Access

Sharing publications and data in a quick and accessible manner (Open Access) helps science, healthcare and education to progress. Doctors, patients, policymakers and professional practitioners can immediately make use of the most recent insights and data. The quality of research and data improves because colleagues can immediately examine the results published and can reproduce experiments in their own lab. It also improves national and international collaboration between researchers. Furthermore, It becomes clear at an earlier stage if something does not work, which means that research can then be adjusted or stopped. For example, it was mainly thanks to Open Access publications that the efficacy and safety of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 patients was quickly shown to be inadequate. Jeroen Geurts, chair of the board of ZonMw: ‘The coronavirus pandemic has very clearly underlined the importance of Open Access publishing’.

Implementation of Plan S

Since 2013, ZonMw has required researchers to make all publications that emerge from research that is partially or entirely funded by ZonMw available in Open Access form. A study by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) reveals that in 2018 that was already the case for 60% of publications. ZonMw wants to accelerate this positive development. In mid-2019, ZonMw endorsed Plan S for Open Access. This plan has been drawn up by cOAlition S, an international collaboration of research councils, with the aim of realising 100% Open Access. Just like NWO, ZonMw will implement the guidelines from Plan S this year.

Direct 100% Open Access from 1 January 2021 onwards

The principles of Plan S apply to all call proposals that ZonMw publishes with effect from 1 January 2021. Therefore, compared to 2020, ZonMw will further tighten the guidelines. In practice, this means, for example, that there is free access to the publications and no embargo period between the date of publication in a journal and the publication being freely accessible online. Publication will also be under a Creative Commons licence, enabling sharing/reuse of results. Also retainment of copyright by authors or institutes will be aimed for.

Obstacles to overcome

Many researchers already publish in Open Access form but not in all cases and not always directly. The implementation of Plan S will therefore provide researchers from ZonMw projects opportunities but also obstacles that need to be overcome. For example, researchers experience that large sums sometimes have to be paid for Open Access publishing. That problem is currently being worked on, for example through national agreements between universities and publishers. ZonMw will also examine possible solutions to this problem. Rob Diemel, ZonMw coordinator Open Science: ‘ZonMw wants encourage Open Access via several routes so the project leaders can make their own choices. For example, in new funding rounds from 2021 onwards, applicants can include a post in the project budget for publication via the so-called full golden route (publications that are immediately free and accessible for everybody ). We will also facilitate the green route by offering researchers access to a repository that is frequently used worldwide. This will lead to the more rapid spread of research results and will offer researchers greater visibility.’

Open Access to utilise knowledge in society

Even though the transition from publishing behind paywalls to Open Access is a difficult process, Jeroen Geurts also sees that researchers are increasingly embracing Open Access: ‘Of course, researchers also feel the need to allow their findings to be used by society. In the case of COVID-19 research programmes, you can see that there is a considerable amount of expertise in the Netherlands to counteract the medical and non-medical negative effects of COVID-19. Rapid access to each other’s research and being able to make use of each other’s research is vitally important for researchers, especially if they are working in a race against the clock.’

Recognising and rewarding researchers

Open Access also requires a different way of recognising and rewarding researchers. Open Access publications are easy to find, are cited more often and have a greater reach. It is important that researchers are rewarded for the quality of their research and its importance for science and/or society, and not for controversial indicators such as the journal impact factor and H-index. Therefore, from 2021 onwards, the DORA (Declaration on Research Assessment) principles will be used in the assessment and selection of ZonMw funding proposals. Amongst other things, that should lead to another way of recognising and rewarding researchers.

Requiring but also informing and facilitating

During the course of 2020, ZonMw will mainly focus on implementing the guidelines from Plan S and informing and advising researchers and project teams about the Open Access publication of their research. The ZonMw Open Access team will also facilitate this implementation by including the guidelines and the processes and thoroughly preparing ZonMw employees for these changes so that they can help applicants. All of the information can be found on the ZonMw website and, of course, if you have any questions, you can contact the employees of the Open Access team.

More information

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news-6072 Wed, 26 Aug 2020 09:00:00 +0200 Societal effects of COVID-19 examined https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/societal-effects-of-covid-19-examined/ 20 new research projects will soon begin to investigate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Dutch society. 11 more projects will receive funding after additional administrative steps. These research projects will focus on the impact of the measures taken, the resilience of society, and the economic consequences for society. Thanks to the quick start and short duration of the projects, the studies can provide relevant knowledge in the short term. Effectiveness and impact of measures

Projects that are part of this theme will examine the effectiveness and impact of the measures taken and of the strategies in response to the coronavirus crisis. The projects range from research into the well-being and sustainable deployment of healthcare staff to research into the effect of the measures taken on the constitutional rights of vulnerable plaintiffs in particular, and their confidence in the justice system. Other examples are research into the lessons that we can learn from the measures taken by other European countries, and research into the preferences for introducing COVID-19 apps in the Netherlands.

Human resilience and society

Within this theme, the research mainly focuses on groups who during the coronavirus crisis have been disproportionately affected by the consequences of the measures taken in either the social or societal spheres. For example, research will be done into the educational disadvantage experienced by underprivileged (primary school) pupils and also new vulnerable groups that have arisen (such as sole proprietors and people with a temporary job, including many young people). Furthermore, the mental and physical long-term effects on former COVID-19 patients and healthcare employees will be investigated.

Consequences and solutions for the economy

Research into the economic resilience focuses on the effect of the crisis on various sectors of the economy, the labour market and support measures. For example, one study focuses on strengthening the regional economic structure with the aim of increasing the national economic resilience in the long term. In addition, research will be done into to what extent and in what way sectors in regions are affected by the corona crisis and what explains the differences in resilience and agility of regions.

COVID-19 Programme

More information about the projects will soon be available on the ZonMw website. These research projects are starting in the context of a large action and research programme concerning the new coronavirus that ZonMw set up in collaboration with NWO in May. Research projects into the diagnostics, treatment and prevention of the coronavirus began last month. In addition, more than 50 collaborations have been established within this programme between research institutions and civil society organisations.

More information 

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news-6016 Fri, 07 Aug 2020 13:42:01 +0200 ZonMw’s approach to optimize reuse of COVID-19 related data https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/zonmws-approach-to-optimize-reuse-of-covid-19-related-data/ Under the urgency of the outbreak of the corona pandemic, we take a number of actions to enable researchers in ZonMw’s COVID-19 projects to create FAIR data that can be used by humans as well as machines. As a result, data become findable through computer search, and accessible for learning-algorithms (comparable to the Personal Health Train concept). The results of the activities are available for the entire research community of COVID-19. VODAN for COVID-19 patient data

In spring 2020, ZonMw commissioned the GO FAIR initiative and its VODAN (Virus Outbreak Data Access Network) Implementation Network to make COVID-19 related data FAIR.  As a result, real world COVID-19 patient data become available for research, under well-defined conditions and with patient privacy well protected.

In summer 2020, the VODAN project delivered a proof of concept of a working VODAN infrastructure to open up COVID-19 patient data via so called FAIR Data Points: VODAN-in-a box. It is made up of a number of components:

  1. A semantic data model based on the case report form (CRF) following the WHO standards;
  2. Localized VODAN FAIR Data Points (FDP’s), where the (meta)data of the machine-readable eCRF files could be hosted. Several FDP’s have been installed, in the Netherlands, USA and on the African continent (funded by the Philips Foundation).
  3. A user-friendly data-entry-wizard, allowing data stewards in the local clinic or hospital to capture patient data in the CRF.
  4. Creating/updating the metadata on the installed VODAN FDP’s, “link” the patient data and indicate if the data can be shared.
  5. A simple tool to allow queries to “visit” the (meta) data across multiple FDP’s, thereby performing analysis based upon certain characteristics of the recorded patients.

FAIR data services and a national COVID-19 data portal

As a next step, building on the knowledge and deliverables from VODAN, ZonMw has commissioned the GO FAIR Foundation and the Health-RI Foundation to develop FAIR data services and a national COVID-19 data portal. These services will support researchers in the creation of FAIR research outputs, and to find and reuse COVID-19 related observational data from Dutch health care providers (taking privacy and other ethical, legal and social issues in to account).

An advanced approach for creating FAIR data

The FAIR data services will function as a three-point FAIRification Framework, where FAIR metadata are crafted for each project (1) as part of the overall COVID-19 Programme FAIR Implementation Profile (2) which then configures the FAIR Data Point (3) where COVID-19 Programme research outputs can be easily discovered and reused. The planned national COVID-19 data portal will form a human friendly interface to the metadata and observational hospital data.

Data experts collaborate with domain experts

A crucial aspect of the FAIRification approach is that domain experts collaborate with data experts in order to include the standards, technologies and infrastructure that match the research community, in this case COVID-19. We will therefore facilitate that COVID-19 researchers and data stewards from ZonMw projects make use of the three-point FAIRification Framework, with the support of the FAIR data experts from GO FAIR and Health-RI.

Workshops and training

Researchers and data stewards from ZonMw’s COVID-19 projects are invited for a workshop series in autumn 2020 for an introduction to the FAIRification framework, and to take part in tailoring the framework to the needs of the COVID-19 research community.
In addition, data stewards from the ZonMw projects will be trained by and get support from the FAIR data experts of GO FAIR and Health-RI. Support through the data steward community will be organised within the Data Stewardship Special Interest Group (DSIG).

Taken together, by taking part in these activities, researchers and data stewards create – as a minimum - FAIR metadata for their research data. They thereby allow other research on COVID-19 to directly benefit from their activities, and accelerate solutions for the corona crisis. In a broader sense, they contribute to a growing knowledge base on FAIR data, enabling innovative research methods.

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news-5961 Tue, 21 Jul 2020 12:27:58 +0200 Innovative research awarded funding in COVID-19 Programme https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/innovative-research-awarded-funding-in-covid-19-programme/ Within the COVID-19 Programme, a total of 40 projects have now been awarded funding. In addition, 12 more projects will receive funding after additional administrative steps. In this programme, research will start that focuses on the effects of the measures against the coronavirus pandemic. This concerns a substantial financial injection in the Dutch research field. With this funding, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, together with ZonMw and the Dutch Research Council (NWO), is focusing on the rapid introduction of innovative measures that emerge from these projects. Research across the full breadth of healthcare

An effective approach to the coronavirus pandemic is associated with many knowledge requirements and research questions. The COVID-19 Programme has three focus areas:

  • Predictive diagnostics and treatment
  • Care and prevention
  • Societal dynamics

Predictive diagnostics and treatment

Within focus area 1, “Predictive diagnostics and treatment”, 17 of the 22 eligible projects were awarded funding. Several of these projects focus on new or existing therapies and their modes of action. Other projects focus, for example, on acquiring insights into the microbiome, immunity, predictive parameters and individualised treatments.
An example of such a project is: A phase 2 clinical study necessary for the clinical development of the drug lanadelumab against COVID-19 from Dr R. Brüggemann and Dr F. van de Veerdonk from Radboudumc. In this project, it will be investigated whether the intravenous administration of lanadelumab can prevent and reduce the need for the external administration of oxygen – necessary due to lung oedema – during the COVID-19 infection.

Animal-free innovations

Besides the 22 projects stated, 5 projects within focus area 1 will do research into the development of new or broader applications of existing animal-free innovations. The ZonMw programme “More Knowledge with Fewer Animals” and the Dutch Society for Replacement of Animal Testing made more than 2 million euros available for this. The ultimate aim is more relevant health and healthcare research for people.

Care and prevention

Within focus area 2, “Care and prevention”, 20 of the 25 eligible projects were awarded funding. These projects focus on the organisation of care and vulnerable citizens. In addition, there is specific attention for care providers. The focus is on:

  • The impact of behaviour and behavioural changes on the spread of the virus
  • The consequences of the measures for the individual or the specific vulnerable groups
  • Spread of the epidemic and measures to prevent this

For example, there is the project “TRACE II: Patient outcomes after postponed elective operations during the COVID-19 pandemic” from Dr D. de Korte-de Boer and Prof. Wolfgang Buhre (Department of Anaesthesiology and Pain Medicine at Maastricht University Medical Center+). In this project, the effect of postponing non-acute operations during the COVID-19 pandemic will be investigated by a consortium of 10 institutions, including 4 university hospitals and 5 peripheral hospitals.

Palliative care

Within focus area 2, five projects in the programme “Palliantie. More than care” are eligible for funding. Three of those have now been awarded funding. The projects focus on support and grief counselling for the family and friends of people who have died. There is also attention for the impact of social isolation due to COVID-19 on intra- and extramural care for people with dementia in the palliative phase.

Duration and budget

The COVID-19 Programme has been funded by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and NWO. For this action and research programme a total of 40 million euros has been made available for grants for practice and research projects. At the end of August, the granting decision will be taken for the proposals from focus area 3 “Societal dynamics”. All projects will start in September 2020.

Exceptional situation

The coronavirus crisis has had a considerable impact, also on public health and healthcare. There is a huge demand for new knowledge and practical solutions to limit the negative consequences of the pandemic. Research is needed to learn from the negative and positive experiences, both now and in the longer term. Therefore, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and in collaboration with NWO, we prepared an action and research programme in March 2020 that, amongst other things, resulted in the COVID-19 Programme. The speed with which this was realised was an enormous challenge for the grant applicants, NWO and us.

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news-5908 Tue, 07 Jul 2020 09:46:53 +0200 Belgium and the Netherlands (BeNeFIT) launch a new call for proposals for clinical trials in October https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/belgium-and-the-netherlands-benefit-launch-a-new-call-for-proposals-for-clinical-trials-in-october/ The Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE) and ZonMw, the Dutch organisation for health research and care innovation, are continuing their collaboration, and in October will again call on the research community to submit proposals for clinical trials. Belgium and the Netherlands entered into an agreement at the end of 2017 to jointly invest in comparative, practice-oriented clinical studies. The aim of BeNeFIT (Belgium-Netherlands Funding of International Trials) is for Belgian and Dutch hospitals to jointly conduct non-commercial, practice-oriented research that is relevant for patients, healthcare providers and policy makers in both countries. The 5 first clinical trials will be launched soon.

Health care questions relevant to both countries

The effectiveness of existing health care interventions is not yet sufficiently compared in clinical studies (e.g. comparison between medication and surgery, or between operating and not operating). Moreover, much research is not practice-oriented, which means that the results are not immediately usable in daily medical practice. Comparative, practice-oriented studies nevertheless contribute to better patient care and a more efficient use of public resources.
In the Netherlands, the government therefore funds such studies through the ZonMw programmes ‘Rational Pharmacotherapy’ and 'Efficiency Studies'. In Belgium, Minister of Health Maggie De Block commissioned the KCE in 2015 to initiate and follow up a programme for such clinical trials. As a result, KCE Trials was created.
KCE Trials and ZonMw joined forces 3 years ago under the name 'BeNeFIT'. After all, many questions are relevant to healthcare in both countries. By working together, clinical trials can be carried out faster and more efficiently and researchers and the financing government organizations can strengthen each other and learn from each other.

5 joint clinical trials in the starting blocks

In early 2018, the two organisations made a joint call to the Belgian and Dutch research communities to submit research proposals that were relevant to patients, healthcare providers and policymakers from both countries.
This call resulted in 38 study proposals. After thorough selection, this resulted in 5 clinical trials, which will start soon: a study on (1) the treatment of wheeze symptoms in young children (KIWI), (2) the treatment of invasive Aspergillus (fungal) infection (DUET), (3) dose reduction of the new generation biologics in psoriasis (BeNeBio), (4) evaluation of surgery in elderly with traumatic acute subdural hematoma (RESET ASDH) (5) the impact of high versus standard enteral protein provision on functional recovery after a stay in intensive care (PRECISE). The first results of these studies can be expected in 2023.

Researchers can again submit proposals in October

In October 2020, KCE and ZonMw will launch a new call for study proposals. With a budget of up to 9 million euros, BeNeFIT will again fund studies with patients in both countries.
If you would like to be kept informed about this call, you can:

More information

ZonMw: via benefit@zonmw.nl
KCE: via trials@kce.fgov.be

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news-5750 Tue, 02 Jun 2020 11:00:00 +0200 Heading for 100% Open access: NWO and ZonMw on the right track, but further steps are needed https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/heading-for-100-open-access-nwo-and-zonmw-on-the-right-track-but-further-steps-are-needed/ In 2018, 68% of the publications resulting from NWO funding were Open access. The percentage for ZonMw was 60%. These are the findings of an analysis published today by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS). NWO and ZonMw are aiming for 100% Open access. Achieving this target will require an extra effort and further steps. On behalf of NWO and ZonMw, CWTS analysed how many NWO and ZonMw publications were Open access between 2015 and 2018. The CWTS also looked at the different types of Open access (gold, green, hybrid, etc.). Since 2009, NWO has been committed to ensure all publications resulting from NWO funding are made available in Open access. In 2015, NWO made further agreements on this with the State Secretary at the time, Sander Dekker. CWTS used the bibliographic database Web of Science and Unpaywall for its analysis.

The study’s most important findings are as follows:

  • Between 60% and 70% of the publications published between 2015 and 2018 are available as open access, either via a repository (green route) or in a fully Open access journal or hybrid journal.
  • 80% of the publications of NWO institutes are openly available, mainly via the green route.
  • On average, Open access publications funded by NWO and ZonMw have a higher citation impact than publications behind a paywall.

Stan Gielen (chair of NWO): “These are excellent figures. They show that we were on the right track in 2018 with almost 70% Open access. To achieve 100%, we will have to step up our efforts, however. From 1 January 2021 onwards, we will introduce Plan S. As the CWTS report demonstrates, a more stricter way of monitoring compliance might  help in that respect. Where publications are not available in Open Access at the end of the project, we are going to request researchers to correct that by depositing their publications through their institutional repository. Remember that with the Taverne amendment, copyright law gives every Dutch author the right to openly share their work. So there is absolutely no reason whatsoever not to do that.”

Jeroen Geurts (chair of ZonMw): “At ZonMw, we will also use 2020 to tighten up our Open access policy. The principles of Plan S will apply to all calls for grants open from 1 January 2021 onwards. And we will actively help researchers to make Open access publishing possible.”

Note:
This CWTS analysis only concerns Open access publications from NWO and ZonMw. The report is a baseline measurement that will be carried out annually from now on. VSNU publishes figures on Open access publications throughout the Netherlands.

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news-5744 Fri, 29 May 2020 14:33:32 +0200 Update COVID-19 Programme: many applications https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/update-covid-19-programme-many-applications/ The interest for our calls for proposals within the COVID-19 Programme is considerable. In the past few weeks, we were pleased to receive many applications. In this update, you can read about the current state of affairs and the planning for the coming period. The COVID-19 Programme is a collaboration between ZonMw and NWO, and funds research that focuses on the effects of the coronavirus crisis and the measures taken against the coronavirus pandemic. Knowledge, practical solutions and research are urgently needed because limiting the negative consequences of the pandemic is a top priority.

Considerable interest

The funding rounds of the three focus areas yielded a lot of project ideas. We received 120 grant applications for the funding possibility Science for professional practice.

  • From 1 to 14 May, the bottom-up funding round was open for the submission of project ideas for focus area 1, Predictive diagnostics and treatment, and focus area 2, Care and prevention. We received 189 project ideas for focus area 1 and 306 for focus area 2
  • From 8 to 25 May, the bottom-up funding round for focus area 3 Societal dynamics was open. We received 508 project ideas for this
  • From 8 to 25 May, the funding round Science for professional practice was also open. A total of 120 research proposals were received for this

Granting Urgent Research Questions

Previously research groups were invited for the route Urgent research questions. From this route two proposals for focus area 1, Predictive diagnostics and treatment have provisionally been assessed and selected for granting. Two other proposals for focus area 2, Care and prevention also have been granted. At this moment three proposals for urgent research questions are being worked out in a full proposal for focus area 3, Societal dynamics and will be assessed soon.

Planning

The next step for the three focus areas is the assessment of the proposals by the committees. If the committee issues a positive advice, then the applicants will receive an invitation to elaborate their project idea into a research proposal. At that moment, FAQs about this will be published on our website.
The selection procedure for the research proposals for Science for professional practice will start shortly.

The most up-to-date information about the process and the planning can be found on the various programme pages (only in Dutch):

  • Focus area 1: Predictive diagnostics and treatment
  • Focus area 2: Care and prevention
  • Focus area 3: Societal dynamics
  • Science for professional practice

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news-5702 Thu, 14 May 2020 14:35:55 +0200 Will you help us with the knowledge agenda Microplastics and Health? https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/will-you-help-us-with-the-knowledge-agenda-microplastics-and-health/ ZonMw aims to identify the knowledge gaps around microplastics and health, as input for a knowledge agenda for future research. To gain all the needs and opinions, we need your help. Will you fill in the internet consultation? In 2019 ZonMw started the first international research program on micro- and nanoplastics, called Microplastics and Health. Since then, fifteen one-year research projects have started. Although these first projects produce promising initial results, many questions remain unanswered. More research is needed.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management has commissioned ZonMw to develop a knowledge agenda on microplastics, environment and health. This knowledge agenda will be the foundation for a sequel on the current Microplastics and Health research program.

Internet consultation

For this knowledge agenda, we want to identify the needs and questions from different perspectives. Researchers, policy makers and practice professionals are asked to provide their input through the internet consultation. Do you have relevant input from a policy, research or practice perspective? Please fill in the internet consultation! This is possible until May 24th, 2020.

Participation in the internet consultation

Microplastics and Health program

Little is known on the health risks of microplastics, while the exposure to smaller plastic particles will only increase in the upcoming decades. Trough air, by water and food, microplastics reach our body, which is also shown by the presence of microplastics in human stool. Among others, the Health Council of the Netherlands and the World Health Organisation (WHO) emphasise the need for research on micro- and nanoplastics.

For this reason, ZonMw has started the research program Microplastics and Health. The knowledge agenda will describe how research can fill the knowledge gaps. Knowledge about which microplastics might affect human health is essential for the development of solutions in innovations and policy. For more information about the program and the current fifteen projects, please visit the Microplastics and Health website.

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news-5679 Fri, 08 May 2020 16:56:00 +0200 COVID-19 Programme call “Science for professional practice” open https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/covid-19-programme-call-science-for-professional-practice-open/ From today onwards, research institutions together with (public) institutions and businesses or local governments can jointly submit funding proposals to quickly tackle a practical problem related to the coronavirus crisis and the measures taken against that. Given the need to act urgently, the deadline for submitting proposals for this call is 25 May 2020, at 12.00 hours CEST. Practice-oriented problems

Organisations such as care organisations, companies, schools, local governments and public transport companies face practical problems as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis and the measures taken against this. Combining knowledge from science and professional practice can give rise to research questions that can reduce or solve practical problems within a short space of time.

Call for proposals

This brief call for proposals is open for two weeks for applications from collaborations between research institutions (universities, universities of applied sciences, institutes) and (public) institutions, businesses or local governments. Scientific organisations within a collaboration can apply for funding to deploy scientific expertise or action research within the collaboration’s activities, operational processes or local policy that are aimed at tackling a problem related to the coronavirus crisis. A maximum of €25,000 is available per application for projects with a maximum duration of 6 months.

Planning funding round

The following timetable applies to this funding round:

  • Deadline submission project idea: 25 May 2020, 12.00 hours CEST

  • Granting decision: 5 June 2020

  • Latest starting date: 22 June 2020

The COVID-19 Programme

The research programme COVID-19 focuses on research aimed at the effects of the coronavirus crisis and the measures taken against the coronavirus pandemic. There are three focus areas:
1.    Predictive diagnostics and treatment
2.    Care and prevention
3.    Societal dynamics
Calls for proposals for research aimed at these areas were published online on 1 and 6 May 2020.

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