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EURONANOMED II Informe resumido

Project ID: 321570
Financiado con arreglo a: FP7-NMP
País: France

Periodic Report Summary 2 - EURONANOMED II (EUROpean network for transnational collaborative RTD projects in the field of NANOMEDicine)

Project Context and Objectives:
EuroNanoMed II (ENM II) is an ERA-NET on nanomedicine funded under the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme from November 1st 2012 to October 31st 2016, comprising 20 partners from 17 countries/regions. The ERA-NET serves as a platform for funding agencies and ministries to develop joint activities and programmes in order to coordinate high quality research on nanomedicine across national borders. Nanomedicine is the application of nanotechnology to health. The field takes advantage of the physical, chemical and biological properties of materials at the nanometer scale to be used for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of diseases. Given the immense potential impact of nanomedicine on public wellbeing and on economic growth, the field is of considerable strategic importance for Europe and has been rated among the six most promising Key Enabling Technologies (KET) by the High Level Group on KET (2011 report). ENM II has been built on the basis of the ENM I accomplishments, which launched three joint transnational calls for proposals in three years (2009-2011). The increasing number of submitted proposals in the successive ENM joint calls, their quality and the first outcomes of the funded projects show the need amongst the nanomedicine scientific community for such a targeted initiative. Pure nationally funded programmes often face difficulties to successfully translate fundamental research in first clinical stages, as in many member states there are too few players in the specific domain of nanomedicine. Therefore, the main goal of the EuroNanoMed II ERA-NET initiative is to go further in supporting transnational research and innovation projects, through the launch of yearly joint calls for proposals. These calls allow ENM II partner countries to support transnational collaborative and multidisciplinary research and technology development projects that are in line with the strategic priorities of the European Technology Platform in nanomedicine (ETPN). The ENM II funded transnational collaborative research consortia has to involve at least two categories of partners among clinical, industrial and academic research teams, carrying out research projects that will boost the translational and clinical research in the field. In addition, ENM II aims to extend the cooperation among its partners through the development of other activities: i) foster the participation of young European researchers to ENM II activities; ii) develop a strategic research and innovation agenda (SRIA) for ENM II in close cooperation to the ETPN; iii) create more interactions within the European nanomedicine community and improve communication on nanomedicine to the public; iv) frame and address regulatory, safety and ethical issues associated with nanomedicine; v) monitor the results of the ENM I & ENM II funded research projects and the activities of the ENM II network; and, vi) develop a long-term cooperation framework for European nanomedicine research. Therefore, through joint funding of translational nanomedicine projects and its other activities, ENM II will enhance coordination of research and resources in this field, thereby shaping the European Research Area in nanomedicine.

Project Results:
The main objective of EuroNanoMed II is to continue fostering the competitiveness of European nanomedicine actors through the organization of yearly joint transnational calls for proposals for research groups working in nanomedicine and operating in ENM II operating countries (WP2). Since the beginning of the project three joint transnational calls (JTC) have been organized as planned: JTC2013, JTC2014 and JTC2015, and one is under preparation (JTC 2016).

These three joint calls for proposals were focused on the three main subfields of nanomedicine (as defined by ETPN): diagnostics, targeted delivery systems and regenerative medicine. Altogether, 823 partners from 25 countries participated in these joint calls, in a total of 160 submitted projects. The number of applicants per country has globally grown between 2013 and 2015 (from 220 to 337 respectively), as well as the number of submitted proposals (from 43 to 66 respectively). The proposals were reviewed by an international peer review panel taking into account the scientific, technical, clinical and commercial merit of the projects. The evaluation process was improved for JTC2014 and JTC2015 according to the suggestions of working groups put in place to analyse the lessons learned from previous experiences. The participation of young scientists was encouraged in JTC2014 and JTC2015 and the evaluation criteria were adapted accordingly.
These joint calls for proposals funded 28 transnational research projects involving 147 partners from 16 countries/regions participating in the calls and 4 additional non-participating countries, with about € 21 million funding from the ENM II funding agencies and a further € 13 million funding from the research partners participating in the funded projects. As ENM II joint calls for proposals aimed at funding translational research projects in Nanomedicine, each consortium had to include teams from at least 2 of the following categories: academia, clinic/public health, industry. Noteworthy, 57% of the funded projects included partners from all three categories, indicating the high added value of these collaborations in nanomedicine translational research.

Other important objective of ENM II related to the support of transnational collaborative research projects is the follow-up and support of the ENM II funded projects (WP2 & WP3). Since the beginning of the project, ENM II has organized two review seminars back to back with training workshops:
1. Review seminar (WP2) & training workshop on regulatory, Intellectual Property and ethical issues (WP3) (Dusseldorf, January 29th & 30th 2014). During this review seminar all funded projects from ENM I calls except one presented their results (42 participants). The JTC2009 projects (almost at the end of their funding period) and the JTC2010 projects (approx. at midterm) gave 16 oral presentations. Projects from JTC2011 and young researchers from the other calls presented 20 posters. Three members of the ENM I peer review panel (PRP) chaired the sessions and provided written projects’ progress reports. The ENM funded researchers had attended a training workshop on regulatory, Intellectual Property and ethical issues the day before the Review seminar. After an introduction by the ENM coordinator and NSC chair with general information about ENM, different nanomedicine related topics on regulatory, IP Rights, ethical and safety issues were addressed. In addition, a case study of the successful translation of a nanomedical product was discussed and other EU initiatives presented their activities and services to the ENM researchers (ETPN, ECRIN and EATRIS). A report including the main conclusions of this workshop and the presentations (D3.1) is available on our website. A questionnaire collecting the feedback from the researchers showed that the participants were very satisfied of the training workshop and the review seminar, and suggestions for improvement of the upcoming training workshops and seminars were discussed among ENM II partners during the NSC3 meeting.
2. Review seminar (WP2) & training workshop on ethical issues (WP3) (Oslo, December 2nd & 3rd, 2014). During this review seminar all funded projects from JTC 2010, 2011 and 2013 except two presented their results (13 oral presentations and 18 posters) and a best poster award presented by young researchers was evaluated by three members of the ENM peer review panel (PRP), who also chaired the sessions. The next day the workshop on ethical issues included different lectures on ethical topics given by European ethical experts. Additionally a practical example was given, wherein a researcher presented his project with main focus on the ethical aspects. The survey carried out after the meeting (WP5) showed a high level of satisfaction of this event. A report including the main conclusions of this workshop (D3.5) is available on our website, as well as the recorded conferences during the workshop.

ENM II is constantly monitoring and improving the collective work and its activities (WP5). ENM II members agreed on a mutual understanding of the common needs and expectations of the ENM II partners for the outcomes of the work-program and the indicators that will be used to asses ENM II achievements (D5.2). A series of indicators to assess ENM funded projects and the means to measure them were approved by the ENM II partners during the NSC2 meeting (Venice, July 4th 2014). These indicators have been used for the assessment of JTC2009, 2010 and 2011 funded projects and reports have been produced (D5.7, and D5.8; D5.9 is under development). The information collected in these reports confirm that ENM funds high quality transnational research in nanomedicine, producing results with market value and social & economic impact

ENM II has a dedicated WP for communication and dissemination activities (WP4). The ENM II website ( was made publicly available on April 2013 (D4.1) and is used for dissemination of information related to EuroNanoMed II activities and publications. The coordination unit continuously contributes to updating the content of the website and the joint transnational calls section is updated at each significant step of the process by Veneto Nanotech (call announcement and call results). An Intranet space (D4.2) was created in order to facilitate the communication between the ENM II partners: all documents related to ENM II collective work are classified and made available to all ENM II partners’ representatives through a secure-password connection. In addition, different types of documents were produced to promote ENM II activities towards the scientific community and the policy makers: 4 leaflets, 4 newsletters and a press release. Representatives of ENM II attended 49 conferences or symposia and presented ENM II activities through oral presentations, posters and the printed material.

Finally, two additional goals of ENM II are:
• to expand the number of participants in ENM JTCs. The coordinator has contacted 32 funding agencies to invite them to participate in JTCs and the third phase of EuroNanoMed under the ERA-NET Cofund scheme. Five new partners have joined ENM II JTCs and ten new partners have shown interest in joining EuroNanoMed III ;
• to collaborate with other European initiatives in order to create synergies and avoiding duplication of efforts. The ENM II coordinator collaborates actively with ETPN: ENM II coordinator and most ENM II WP leaders participate in ETPN General Assemblies and the ETPN chair, Patrick Boisseau, is an active member of the ENM II EAB, and regular communication and collaboration are maintained between two initiatives, especially for the development of an SRIA.

Potential Impact:
The EuroNanoMed II (ENM II) consortium, with 20 partners from 17 countries and regions, is a strong, established partnership of relevant member states’ funding bodies, willing to attribute a part of their national funding budget to transnational research and innovation projects in nanomedicine. Due to the fact that at national level there are too few players in the specific domain of nanomedicine, nationally funded programmes often face difficulties to successfully translate fundamental research in first clinical stages. Therefore, ENM II supports transnational research and innovation projects through annual joint calls, which allow achieving the critical mass of actors that will successfully translate scientific results from the lab to patient’s bedside. Considering the results already achieved in the three calls of ENM II (i.e. the participation of more than 337 applicants from more than 20 countries and the increased number of proposals from one call to the next) and the visibility of the ERA-NET, ENM II expects to have a significant impact on the European nanomedicine research landscape. On one hand ENM complements national funding activities as nanomedicine is often not the main focus of the national calls for proposals; on the other hand it is complementary to FP7/H2020 large scale projects funding tools (e.g. EUREKA, Eurostar, IMI) and FP7/H2020 programmes (NMBP, SC1), which are characterized by a heavier application process and support for larger projects focussed in particular diseases. Experts consulted during an strategic workshop in ENM II (Tenerife, June 2014) agreed that the open bottom up approach, which has been used for the ENM calls so far, is the right one to contribute to increasing innovation and translational research in the field of nanomedicine.In addition, ENM II contributes to transform the research funded by our calls in marketable products and new therapies for patients by providing training to the funded researchers so that regulatory, IP Rights, safety and ethical questions are taken into account already at an early stage of their projects. ENM II has already organized two successful training workshops for ENM funded researchers coupled to review seminars, one on regulatory affairs and one on ethics issues; and will organize one more review seminar on regulatory affairs at the end of the project. These events bring together the key actors in the European nanomedicine research communities and thus promote interactions and collaborations at European level. Therefore, ENM II contributes to the development of innovative therapeutic solutions for the patient and to the competitiveness of the European health industry by facilitating multidisciplinarity, a crucial issue in the field of nanomedicine.
The common transnational work of ENM II partners impact the coordination of national programmes in the field. Defining the common procedures, practices and documents for each of the four planned joint transnational calls for proposals and organizing the implementation and the follow-up of the funded projects require sustainable work in synergy between the partner funding agencies over many years. The lessons learned from each call, the continuous systematic exchange of information and the monitoring activities of ENM II through an iterative process allow ENM II partners to share good practices and to effectively use these practices. Moreover, the final goal of ENM II is to propose and establish a sustainable cooperation framework after the end of this second ERA-NET on nanomedicine. This ambitious goal is achieved through dedicated activities, including mapping of strategies and programmes in nanomedicine, development of an SRIA in collaboration with ETPN and organizations of strategic workshops. Finally, dissemination and communication activities (dedicated website, flyers and Newsletters and collaboration with sister activities) will create more interactions within the European nanomedicine community and improve communication on nanomedicine to the public.

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