Expression of Interest (EoI) for Collaborative Projects on Regenerative Medicine

1.- Background


The Centre for Regenerative Medicine of Barcelona (CMR[B]), together with the Biomedical Research Institute of Bellvitge (IDIBELL), at the behest of the Catalan Government(1), have launched the Program for advancing the Clinical Translation of Regenerative Medicine of Catalonia – P-CMR[C]. The fundamental mission of the P-CMR[C] is to advance the implementation of regenerative medicine strategies by conducting research of excellence to address the current bottlenecks that prevent the clinical translation of pluripotent stem cell (PSC)-based therapies. The P-CMR[C] aims to nucleate and catalyze research on regenerative medicine based on PSC in Catalonia. Research at P-CMR[C] targets unmet medical needs tractable by regenerative medicine strategies. Research projects at P-CMR[C] aim at excellence; we seek new concepts, novel enabling technologies, fundamental discoveries, proof-of-principle evidence, first-in-man trials. We value quality over quantity. Our projects are intended to use state-of-the-art technologies. Based on prior scientific knowledge, outstanding bottlenecks to be solved, societal impact, and strategic opportunity, first-choice targets include: i) heart failure; ii) neurodegenerative diseases; iii) non-malignant hematological diseases; and iv) age-related macular degeneration. However, other scientifically sound scenarios designed to address unmet medical needs by means of PSC-based regenerative medicine approaches will be considered as well.


We believe that the establishment of high-quality scientific criteria, based on a real complementarity of action among the different relevant stakeholders within Catalonia, and with unequivocal orientation towards the clinical applicability of the findings, will help improving the quality of life of patients.


An Advisory Body consisting on representatives of the Catalan Healthcare Research Centers certified by the Instituto de Salut Carlos III (Catalan IIS Centers), representatives of the Health Department from the Generalitat de Catalunya, and representatives of the CMR[B], will be appointed to guide the implementation of the P-CMR[C].


2.- Aim of the EoI


The P-CMR[C] is seeking to map in detail the research and development capabilities on regenerative medicine approaches across Catalonia2. To this end, we hereby invite for Expressions of Interest (EoI) regarding collaborative efforts planning to develop goal-oriented projects in the field of regenerative medicine. EoI must involve at least three research groups spanning the relevant basic, applied, and/or clinical expertise within the Catalan Ecosystem (see eligibility criteria below).


EoI are intended to provide an inventory of the research groups existing in the Catalan research ecosystem who wish to align their efforts with those of other research groups in order to develop strategies of regenerative medicine in a collaborative manner. Proposals are expected to be interdisciplinary and clearly demonstrate the potential impact in regenerative medicine as well as the added value of the proposed collaboration.


The P-CMR[C] will select up to 10 outstanding EoI based on their ability to identify a clinically relevant paradigm tractable by regenerative medicine approaches, and to propose a research project addressing the outstanding bottlenecks that preclude their clinical implementation. The
P-CMR[C] will establish collaborative agreements with the Institutions proposing the selected EoI and will finance up to 10,000 € to help consolidating the collaborative effort.


3.- General eligibility criteria for application


EoI should meet the following eligibility criteria:


• Should be comprised of at least three research groups based on Catalonia (at least three different principal investigators)
• Should be comprised of at least two different research centers
• The project coordinator (principal investigator) should belong to a Catalan IIS Center
• The project coordinator can only participate in one EoI


4.- How to apply


Documentation needed:


• Application form: Including a description of the research groups participating in the collaborative effort and a brief description of the project proposal (relevant question related to regenerative medicine the groups want to tackle).
• Standardized short CV: (CVA – CNV format) of all the group leaders participating in the collaborative effort. Please provide only a selected list of 10 publications within the CVA.
• Declaration form from the Research Centers participating in the collaborative effort.


All documentation must be written in English. The call forms are available at the following link: https://cmrb.eu/media/upload/pdf/pcmrc_eoi.pdf


EoI for Collaborative efforts on Regenerative Medicine will be accepted exclusively when all the requested documentation is presented in time and manner to pcmrc_eoi(ELIMINAR)@cmrb.eu. The deadline for presenting EoI is July 22, 2019.


Presenting an EoI implies authorization for P-CMR[C] to obtain and contrast the necessary data on the applicants with the relevant public bodies, research centers, universities or institutes in each case, in order to satisfactorily resolve the call. Likewise, P-CMR[C] is authorized to submit the information to an external advisor if needed.


5.- Prioritization of EoI


EoI received by the deadline indicated above will be first screened for eligibility criteria. Those that do not meet the eligibility criteria will be rejected.


EoI meeting the eligibility criteria will be evaluated by the P-CMR[C] Advisory Body to select the most outstanding proposals and prioritize funding according to the following criteria:


• Participating groups (6 points out of 10):


o Multidisciplinary of the research groups (including basic, translational, clinical
research groups) will be highly considered
o Participation of private partners will also be considered
o Leadership of the collaborative effort
o CV of the participating PIs
o Expertise of the groups relevant to regenerative medicine
o Previous collaborations among research groups

• Project proposal (4 points out of 10):
o Excellence of the project proposal: clarity and pertinence of the objectives, as
well as soundness and credibility of the concept
o Expected Impact: The extent to which the output of the project would contribute
to advancing the clinical translation of regenerative medicine strategies
o Level of ambition in the collaboration and commitment of the participants in the
proposed project


The results of the EoI prioritization will be posted by September 18, 2019 on the CMR[B] (www.cmrb.eu) and IDIBELL ( www.idibell.cat) websites.


6.- Main Duties of the selected collaborative efforts


Funded EoI are expected to use the allocated funds for activities that consolidate their collaborative efforts. Such activities include (but are not restricted to): organization of brainstorming meetings, generation of preliminary results supporting their working hypotheses, preparation of joint proposals for competitive calls, etc. The project coordinator (principal investigator) will be responsible for budget allocation and management.

(1) Approved by “Acord de Govern de la Generalitat de Catalunya” on October 6th 2015.

(2) This was approved by CMR[B]’s Board of Trustees on December 19th 2018.


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