CALL PROJECT 2018

AIMS OF THE CALL

AIRETT, the Associazione Italiana Rett Onlus (no-profit Italian Rett Association) that brings together the families of children affected by Rett syndrome (RTT), intends to contribute to the development of basic research activities, applied clinical research, and development of new rehabilitation approaches focusing on RTT (MeCP2, CDKL5 and FOXG1 genes). We are seeking grant applications that progress the discovery or development of treatments or cures for this disease. Since we recognize that many gaps exist in the basic understanding of pathogenetic mechanisms of this disorder, basic science projects that address these gaps are welcome, provided that they put the basis of a potential therapy. Projects addressing the clinical complexity and heterogeneity of RTT  are also welcome. Thus, priority will be given to grants that cover the following themes:

  1. Novel therapeutic approaches including but not limited to techniques in genome editing, X chromosome reactivation, RNA-based mechanisms, small molecule repurposing in animal models and human cellular models.
  2. Approaches to rescue of phenotypic deficits in animal models with gene therapy techniques.
  3. Discovery and validation of MeCP2, CDKL5, FOXG1 biomarkers of high  translational value in disease models.
  4. Discovery and validation in patients of novel RTT quantitative and homogeneous clinical biomarkers useful for assessment in clinical trials
  5. Scientific and creative studies on motor and cognitive development of children with RTT
  6. Investigation on breathing problems and therapeutical approach in RTT

Project duration is two years. Extension of projects can be also granted upon evaluation of the results obtained and the necessity of further work by an evaluating commission. While no cost extensions of the early proposed activities of a project can be granted upon motivated appeal, requests for additional funding should be based on new experiments stemming from the original project.

Projects can be monocentric or multicentric ones. Multicentric projects (made by max. 3 units) blending Italian and foreign research centers are welcome. The presence of an Italian partner is not strictly necessary for eligibility but it is encouraged. Multicentric projects can include external partners with funding of their own and they must have a coordinator that will interface with AIRETT, and a section dedicated to explain the contribution of each unit and the synergy of the group.

ELEGIBLE SUBJECTS

Eligible subjects are research or clinical centers with previous experiences on RTT documented by previous publications or extensive preliminary data in the project.

FUNDING

The total funds available for basic, clinical and rehabilitative research are 400.000 euros. The maximum request of 100.000 euros is for the duration of two years per project. In case of equal evaluation judgements, less expensive projects will be preferred.

An analytical cost assessment should be added to the proposal. The following items should be addressed:

a) Research costs: consumables, services, etc
b) Costs for instruments:
c) Personnel costs
d) Subcontracting costs

PROJECT SELECTION

Each project will be evaluated by three reviewers. The reviewers will be required to sign a declaration of ethical principles and confidentiality. Anonymity is guaranteed for the judgments expressed by the referees. The evaluation procedure must be completed within two months of the project presentation deadline.

The referees are asked to produce an analytical judgment on each project based on measurable data.

The following aspects will be examined:

a) scientific quality and national and international relevance of the project
b) increase of basic knowledge on RTT
c) impact of the project on the development of therapeutic approaches and improvement of the quality of life
d) sharing of the activity among the research participants and appropriate division of scientific contributions among the units in order to demonstrate the added value of the resulting project.
e) feasibility of the project on schedule;
f)  Scientific experience and importance of both coordinators and units. Presence and availability of technological, structural and organizational resources needed to carry out the project (diagnostic and therapeutic services, disease registers, preclinical models, bioinformatics services, biostatistics, data management, service networks in the area)
g) welcome previous collaboration with AIRETT
h) presence of co-financing
i) congruity of the financial statement.

PROJECT SUBMISSION

There will be a two-steps procedure for joint applications: pre-proposals and full proposals.

Pre-proposal: A brief description of aims, methods and budget amount has to be clearly indicated. The deadline for submitting the pre-proposals is scheduled for midnight of 25th May 2018. Pre-proposals will be reviewed by experts in the field, who will make a list of the projects allowed to the next step within the end of June. Full-proposals will be asked to researchers of top-ranked pre-proposals. The exact deadline will be further communicated, approximately by midnight of 15th July 2018.

Winning projects will be communicated by 30th September 2018.

Projects must be sent in english via email to bandoricerca2018@airett.it.

FUND TRANSFER

Money will be transferred to each of the units composing  the approved research projects according to the following scheme:

20% at project kickoff;
50% after the submission and approval of the interim annual report;
30% after approval of the completed project.

FULL-PROPOSAL

Full-proposal must be up to 10 pages.
Details of project expenses must be specified in the document.
Below the full-proposal guidelines.