European Commission issues Call for Proposals in life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health

Brussels 15 July 2003The European Commission has published a call for proposals in the area of "Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health", under the Sixth Framework Programme's "Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health" activity. This is one of the areas covered by the "Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area" specific programme. In addition, another call for proposals has been published for strategic specific support actions across the thematic priority "life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health" covering area 1.3 of the work programme. This is one of the areas covered by the "integrating the European Research Area" specific programme of the Sixth Framework Programme.

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The areas covered by the first call are:

  1. Advanced genomics and its applications for health
    • Fundamental knowledge and basic tools for functional genomics in all organisms:
      • gene expression and proteomics;
      • structural genomics;
      • comparative genomics and population genetics;
      • bioinformatics;
      • multi-disciplinary functional genomics approaches to basic biological processes across the area.
    • Application of knowledge and technologies in the field of genomics and biotechnology for health:
      • rational and accelerated development of new, safer, more effective drugs including pharmacogenomics approaches;
      • development of new diagnostics;
      • development of new in vitro and in silico tests to replace animal experimentation;
      • development and testing of new preventive and therapeutic tools, such as somatic gene and cell therapies, in particular stem cell therapies, for example those on neurological and neuromuscular disorders, and immunotherapies;
      • innovative research in post-genomics, which has high potential for application.
  2. Combating major diseases
    • Application-orientated genomic approaches to medical knowledge and technologies:
      • combating cardiovascular disease, diabetes and rare diseases;
      • combating resistance to antibiotics and other drugs;
      • studying the brain and combating diseases of the nervous system;
      • studying human development and the ageing process;
      • specific support actions across thematic priority 1.

In specifying the instruments to be used in these areas, the call requests the use of integrated projects (IP), networks of excellence (NOE), specific targeted research projects (STREP), co-ordination actions (CA) and specific support actions (SSA). The total indicative budget for this call is 411 million euro. The deadline for submitting proposal documents is November 13, 2003. To see the call text, please visit the Web site of the Sixth Framework Programme.

The areas covered by the second call are:

  • Promotion of SME participation;
  • Stimulating international co-operation;
  • Linking with candidate countries;
  • Stimulating exploitation: promotion and facilitation of assessment, dissemination, transfer, exploitation, and/or broad take-up of research results stemming from past and present European Union programmes. These activities must aim over and above the standard diffusion and exploitation activities of individual projects, and may include modelling, experience-sharing or other fact-finding activities at the junction of initiatives of public and private partners involved in biotechnology innovation;
  • Realising ERA objectives: activities contributing to the strategic objectives of the European Research Area in fields covered by this priority, such as pilot initiatives on benchmarking, cartography, networking, the debate on human values and technology options, or the collective management of the knowledge infrastructures of the future, etc.
  • EU strategy for life sciences and biotechnology: specific support actions will be funded as necessary to implement any of the 30 actions listed in the Action Plan attached to COM(2002)27. Particular attention will be paid to support those actions relating to the resource base: investing in education and training, research, exploitation of intellectual property, the capital base and networks in Europe; to governing life sciences and biotechnology: social scrutiny and dialogue, consideration of ethical values and societal goals, and to those actions relating to the European response to global challenges: international collaborations, poverty related diseases and the developing world.
  • Supporting policy development: activities supporting future research policy developments such as prospective and foresight studies, analysis and evaluation of impact of past EU research programmes. Prospective studies on the impact of research policy on other policies i.e. industry, health, trade, etc., and vice versa, are also welcomed.

In specifying the instruments to be used in these areas, the call requests the use of specific support actions. The total indicative budget for this call is four million euro in 2004. The deadline for submitting proposal documents is April 15, 2004. To see the call text, please visit the Web site of the Sixth Framework Programme.


Leslie Versweyveld

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