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“NIH and EC Funding” Information Day Highlights Joint Funding Opportunities for U.S. and EU Researchers

Jun 17, 2011

NIH and EC funding: Building transatlantic partnerships information day took place on 23 May 2011, in Brussels. The event mainly focused on joint funding opportunities within the European Commission (EC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), for EU and U.S. researchers in the field of health.

In particular:

Ian Magrath: President International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research, Office of the Director, National Cancer Institute - NIH

Highlighted how a wide number of European researchers successfully applying for a NIH grant in the past reported on the opportunities offered by NIH and its funding strands. Some entrepreneurs explained how they had been using a research grant to boost enterprise.

Dr. Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, Director of the Health Directorate at the Research DG of the European Commission

She overviewed the whole Health theme under 7FP, and under European research more in general, with a focus on European Innovation Partnerships and Public Private Partnerhips. The last two calls in for the Health theme are going to fund a smaller number of projects but with a stronger target on market and clinical trials; total, 1.43 billions of euros. Partnerships with USA are meant to continue, in that they were 91 out of 690 funded projects so far and the EC wants to go on this way, notwithstanding IPR controversies. Part of the budget is supposed to cover ERAnet and some targeted topics for SMEs, for instance the all new SMEs for innovation (unfortunately only for European SMEs). Rare diseases and diabetes will be also brand new topics.

Dr. Skentelbery, Secretary General European Biotechnology Network

After a short presentation of NIH, explained how each NIH sub-institute diverges from other ones in funding scheme, overall budget, organization, and so on; there is therefore a plurality of opportunities. Each year starts with a program announcement scheduling proxy deadlines, spread throughout twelve months. Projects typology may vary (R01, SBIR/STTR, etc.); success rate is higher than European one, around 25%.

Dr. Fagerstedt highlighted pros and cons of his experience in partnerships with NIH grant winning institutions; applications need more details, NIH gives a lot of feedback on activities, but there is lack of total indirect costs coverage. Moreover, it is difficult to hold a grant if there were no previous lasting relationships with granting institution (or with bodies already granted by granting institution). A good legal and administrative office is required in order to deal with all controversies which may rise, especially on IPR but also auditing. It is true that some accomplishment may be performed by NIH itself, but NIH will lean towards taking decisions then.

Finally, investing opportunities were displayed by some business angels and venture capitalists companies, willing to boost the loose European tendency to create enterprises relying on health research results.

BILAT-USA (Grant Agreement no: 244434) and Link2US (Grant Agreement no: 244371) Projects are co-funded by the European Union’s Capacities Programme on International Cooperation under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Cooperation.