EJP Rare Diseases Joint Transnational Call (2023) “Natural History Studies addressing unmet needs in Rare Diseases”

The European Joint Programme on Rare Diseases (EJP RD) is a programme aiming to create an effective rare diseases research ecosystem for progress, innovation and for the benefit of everyone with a rare disease. Twenty-one funding organisations from 16 countries have agreed to launch a Joint Transnational Call (JTC2023) for collaborative research projects on “Natural History Studies addressing unmet needs in Rare Diseases”. The participating EJP RD funding organisations wish to promote effective collaboration on a common interdisciplinary research project based on complementarities and sharing of expertise, with the expected impact being to use the results in the future for the benefit of patients.

Additional Information

Projects shall focus on a group of rare diseases or a single rare disease following the European definition; i.e. a disease affecting not more than five in 10,000 persons in the European Community, EC associated states, and Canada. Applicants are encouraged to assemble groups of rare diseases based on relevant criteria and commonalities if these leverage added value in sharing resources or expertise.

Research proposals should cover at least one of the following areas:

  • Estimation of disease prevalence; 
  • Identification of biomarkers/companions for the diagnosis/prognosis of a RD; 
  • Identification of biomarkers/indicators/predictors of a rare disease or group of disorders (e.g. having the same aetiology) onset/progression (including collection of genetic, physiological, environmental data or variables etc.); 
  • Identification of relevant endpoints for future studies that include potential biomarkers, querying patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and quality-of-life measures;
  • Identification of biomarkers/variables for therapeutic approaches (pharmacology, drug repurposing, gene therapy, RNA therapy, cell therapy, medical devices etc).

The following types of research projects are excluded from the call:

  • Proposals seeking to evaluate a pilot or feasibility study. 
  • Proposals seeking to evaluate a definitive intervention.  
  • Proposals involving basic biomedical research. 
  • Research intended to create human embryos solely for the purposes of research or for the purposes of stem cell procurement, including by means of somatic cell nuclear transfer.

This is a joint transnational call: applicants must apply as part of a transnational consortium. The use of JTC2023 matchmaking tool is strongly encouraged to build multidisciplinary research projects.

Researchers from Ireland can apply as coordinators or partners. If successful, researchers from Ireland will be funded by the Health Research Board up to the maximum amount for the call. Applicants applying for funding from Ireland must be based at an eligible HRB Host Institution. 

Individual country partners/coordinators should confirm eligibility with their national funding organisation contact point.   

Main Eligibility Criteria

  • Only transnational projects will be funded. 
  • Each consortium submitting a proposal must involve four to six eligible principal investigator (PI) partners (referred to as partners below) from at least four different participating countries. In specific cases this can be increased to eight partners, as follows:
    • The inclusion of partners from participating countries usually underrepresented in projects (Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden and Türkiye). 
    • The inclusion of Early Career Researchers as full partners.
  • No more than two eligible partners from the same country can be present in each consortium. Patient Advocacy Organisations (PAOs) requesting funding do not count toward the total. 
  • Consortia are strongly advised to include patient representatives and PAOs.
  • The inclusion of Early Career Researchers is encouraged. They must have a PhD, or PhD equivalence approved by the HRB prior to submission, and 4–7 years active post PhD (or equivalent) research experience.
  • Collaborators bringing their own funding can be included via cooperation agreements. Collaborators cannot be work package leaders and do not count towards the partner limit.

Please review HRB’s guidance and FAQs on this page alongside the published text for full details of the aim, objectives and scope of the call: https://www.ejprarediseases.org/jtc2023/ 


There will be a two-stage application procedure for joined applications. One joint proposal document (in English) shall be prepared by the partners and must be submitted by the Coordinator via the electronic proposal system, https://ptoutline.eu/app/ejprd23


For general information, please contact the Joint Call Secretariat (JCS):

French National Agency for Research (ANR, France)

Florence Guillot, Camille de Almeida and Ingrid Pfeifer

E-mail: EJPRDcall(at)anr.fr 

Applicants from Ireland should read the information in the HRB Guidance notes and HRB FAQ on this webage.

If you have further questions, you can contact Dr Siobhán Hackett at HRB email eujointprogrammes(at)hrb.ie


The Joint Call Secretariat is organising an information webinar as follows:

Pre-proposals: 15 December 2022

You will need to register to participate in the information webinar here. 

Full proposals: 2 May 2023 (tentative)

Opening date
13:00 12-12-2022
Closing date
13:00 15-02-2023
Decision expected
December 2023