ERA4Health Joint Transnational Call (2024) “Modulation of brain ageing through nutrition and healthy lifestyle (NutriBrain)”

The vision of the recently established EU Partnership “Fostering a European Research Area for Health”  (ERA4Health) is to foster a European Research Area for health. This Partnership brings the opportunity to increase European transnational collaborative research funding by creating a funding body for joint 
programming in priority areas addressing European Public Health Needs.

Increased lifespan, in combination with environmental and lifestyle modifications, is among those factors responsible for the increased prevalence of cognitive disorders of different severity, from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) till overt dementia (such as Alzheimer’s disease). Due to demographic changes in Western societies, age-related diseases such as dementia are assuming a societal challenge in terms of public health and health care. In addition, maintaining cognitive abilities in old age enables people to remain independent for as long as possible and increases the number of years with a high quality of life.

To date, there is no proven disease-modifying treatment for cognitive impairment during ageing, so the main focus is on prevention and early detection. Epidemiological studies suggest that obesity, inadequate nutrition, protein energy malnutrition (PEM), poor sleep, and physical inactivity increase the risk of cognitive impairment, although there is still limited evidence of how better nutrition and increased physical activity could slow down brain ageing and lower the risk of cognitive impairment. Thus, increasing knowledge on promoting changes in lifestyle in pre-symptomatic and predementia stages, implemented in evidenced based multimodal interventions, are highly needed since they may have the potential for delaying a high 
proportion of dementia worldwide. 

In this context, 26 funding organisations from 22 countries have agreed to launch a Joint Transnational Call (JTC2024) for collaborative research projects on “Modulation of brain ageing through nutrition and healthy lifestyle (NutriBrain)”.

Additional Information

At least one of the following lifestyle factors should be investigated: nutrition (particularly improvements in 
dietary pattern), physical activity, sleep pattern (quantity, quality and timing), social interaction and stress.

Researchers should apply a perspective of prevention and public health, taking into consideration large population groups such as age cohorts or relevant subgroups.

Proposals may include one of the following approaches, such as:

  • Pilot test interventions that will help to lower the risk of cognitive impairment manifestations related to a pathological brain ageing.
  • Upscale existing pilot interventions that will help to lower the risk of cognitive impairment  manifestations related to a pathological brain ageing.

Proposals may be supplemented by one of the following approaches, such as:

  • Mechanistic / experimental research focusing on how specific lifestyle factors influence brain ageing;
  • Translational research that will establish proof of concept, in order to support the development of effective health-improvement strategies and/or solutions to promote a healthy brain.

Proposals that relate purely to the study of pathomechanisms are not eligible for funding in this call.

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This is a joint transnational call: applicants must apply as part of a transnational consortium.

Researchers from Ireland can apply as coordinators or partners. If successful, researchers from Ireland will be funded by the Health Research Board. Applicants applying for funding from Ireland must be based at an eligible HRB Host Institution. Refer to the Guidance Notes for full details of Lead Applicant eligibility.

Main Eligibility Criteria

  • A minimum of three eligible and a maximum of five eligible partners from at least three different countries participating in the call.
  • The maximum number of eligible partners can be increased up to six or seven (see table below) if they include one or two partners, respectively, from the following participating countries: Latvia; Lithuania; Slovakia; Türkiye.
  • No more than two eligible partners from the same country participating in the call  will be accepted within one consortium. 
  • A maximum of two collaborators per consortium. Collaborators are self-funded partners.
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Please review HRB’s guidance and FAQs on this page alongside the core call text for full details of the aim, objectives and scope of the call: https://era4health.eu/healthequity-2023/ .

The ERA4Health partner search tool  can be used to identify potential partners. 

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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  submission system.

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

Italian Ministry of University and Research

Dr Aldo Covello and Dr Sara Cella

Email: nutribrain(at)mur.gov.it

For country-specific information for Irish Partners, please contact the HRB, Ireland:

Dr Siobhán Hackett

Email: eujointprogrammes(at)hrb.ie

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