JPND Joint Transnational Working Group Call (2023) “Use of digital technologies in neurodegenerative disease research and clinical practice”

The aim of the call is to establish a number of ambitious, innovative, multi-disciplinary and multi-national expert Working Groups to assess the current and future impact of digital technologies on research and care in the field of neurodegenerative diseases. 

Digital technologies have taken a central position in peoples’ everyday lives, e.g. by managing daily routines, offering timely information and navigation or allowing boundless communication. They have also made their way into health and social care research and practice, e.g. by offering automated data processing and analysis, algorithms facilitating human efforts or tracking people’s health and physical status. Beside the impressive features offered already today, technological advancements are rapid and temporarily erratic, e.g. with regard to the conceivable roll-out of virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Assessing the impact of such cutting-edge technologies on health and social care research and services often generates a high level of uncertainty. In addition, the fast progression makes it complicated to implement them in research and in the care of patients. However, both fields may potentially benefit from making use of cutting-edge digital technologies. This specifically relates to neurodegenerative diseases, where patients require enhanced levels of support and scientists strive to unravel the functioning of the brain, which is the most complex organ in the human body. The use of advanced digital technologies for the diagnosis, disease modelling, treatment and care has the potential to improve life for people with neurodegenerative diseases. 

Additional Information

Working Groups may address the following aspects: 

  • Identification of the most relevant technologies, their current and potential use as well as their impact on the field in the next decade, 
  • Outlining the gaps, barriers and hurdles and opportunities in research in order to improve the use of specific digital technologies in the future for the diagnosis and treatment of ND, 
  • Analyzing the risks and opportunities that go along with an advanced use of specific digital technologies,
  • Ethical considerations with a focus on the perspective of patients, relatives and carers (please refer to: https://legalinstruments.oecd.org/en/instruments/OECD-LEGAL-0457 ) 

Working Groups must focus on one or several of the following neurodegenerative diseases:  

  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias 
  • Parkinson’s disease and PD‐related disorders  
  • Prion diseases  
  • Motor neuron diseases
  • Huntington’s disease  
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA)  
  • Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) 

Working Groups are to be research community-led and must demonstrate a clear scientific benefit from working across national borders and, in particular, bringing scientific communities with different areas of expertise together to work collaboratively. The approaches should be integrative (e.g. involve clinicians, engineers, physicists, computer scientists, mathematicians and non-medical personnel as well as, legal, technological and social experts) and include disability, gender, ethic, socioeconomic and cultural aspects, where possible. Experts’ discussion is envisaged to identify the appropriate developments specific for the field while involving experts from outside the boundaries of the neurodegenerative disease field. 

Patient-related research as envisaged by this call benefits from the active involvement of the persons concerned. Thus, Working Groups need to adequately involve patients, their relatives and carers and the public (see the JPND website for further information). This relates to the planning stage during the application as well as the later work of the panel. Applications must describe how patients, their relatives and carers are involved and from where they are recruited. 

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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 coordinator or a participating member of the Working Group. Funding will typically be granted to and coordinated by the coordinator only, though an alternative budget recipient may be selected if necessary or in order to maximise success. If successful, coordinators from Ireland will be funded by the Health Research Board up to a maximum of €50,000 (overheads will not be covered) to support activities for a maximum duration of 1 year (expected start Q3–Q4 2024). Applicants applying for funding from Ireland must be based at an eligible HRB Host Institution.  

Main Eligibility Criteria 

  • Only transnational Working Groups will be funded. 
  • Each networking group must involve a minimum of six and a maximum of 25 experts, including the coordinator. 
  • A minimum of six experts, including the coordinator, must come from at least five different funding countries (Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, UK). Additional experts from countries not financially participating in the call may be included. 
  • Working Groups are encouraged to include expertise from partners established in European countries with a less well-established scientific community in health and social care research, where relevant. However, at least half of the institutions participating to a Working Group must be from a JPND country (see central call text for list).  
  • Experts may join multiple Working Groups; however, they must not act as the coordinator of more than one Working Group. 
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Please review the published text for full details of the aim, objectives and scope of the call. Applicants from Ireland who are requesting HRB funding should also read the accompanying information in the HRB Guidance notes and HRB FAQ on this webpage.

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There will be a one-stage application procedure for joint applications. The coordinator must submit one joint proposal document on behalf of the entire Working Group via the JPND electronic submission and evaluation system no later than 11:00 GMT on 12 December 2023. Using the proposal template provided at the JPND website is mandatory. No other ways of submission are accepted. 

 

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

DLR Project Management Agency

E-mail: jpnd(at)dlr.de

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

Dr Siobhán Hackett 

Email: eujointprogrammes(at)hrb.ie 

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Opening date
12:00 02-11-2023
Closing date
11:00 12-12-2023
Decision expected
June 2024 (tentative)