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ERA-NET on cardiovascular diseases to implement joint transnational research projects and set up international cooperations

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ERA-CVD (ERA-NET on cardiovascular diseases to implement joint transnational research projects and set up international cooperations)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2022-12-31

Among non-communicable diseases cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the major cause of death in Europe, claiming more than 4 million people per year in the 53-member states of the WHO European Region and around 2 million in the European Union (EU). Available data indicate, that up to 80% of all healthcare expenditure in Europe is allocated to chronic diseases, with CVD alone being estimated to cost the European economy more than 196 billion € every year.

The effective coordination of research at national and EU level by a European Research Area Network co-funded by the European Commission (ERA-CVD), increased cross-disciplinary interaction and research advancements over the last seven years. By gathering forces, funding capacities and information about ongoing activities 24 ministries and funding organisations from 19 countries tackled this challenge dedicated to cardiovascular diseases (ERA-CVD, webpage:

ERA-CVD develop, reviewed and managed five Joint Transnational Calls (JTCs) bringing together the best researchers from the participating countries. Additionally, two calls were specifically dedicated to young scientists (JTC2018 & 2029). ERA-CVD cooperated with the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Heart Network (EHN) to establish an overarching network and knowledge exchange. The two major results from the cooperation were the Strategic Research Agenda for CVD (SRA-CVD) and the update and optimisation of the online data base for CVD research funding in Europe (CardioScape).
Part A: Activities related to the co-funded Joint Transnational Call (JTC2016) and the consortium management
- The established management structure ensured to collaborate efficiently with the cardiovascular research funding organizations of European, associated and third partner countries. An article on ERA CVD was published in June 2016, in the same year a flyer was produced.
- Co-funded consortia were monitored and assessed through the activities delineated and the utilised indicators and questionnaires were developed and consented. In parallel the result and development were disseminated via related documents and as a main aim of the two ERA-CVD symposia in 2019 and 2022

Part B describes additional activities related to CVD Research
- The ERA-CVD partners did develop, reviews and managed four non-co-funded calls (JTC2017-2020). Also, all non-co-funded consortia were disseminated via related documents and as a main aim of the two ERA-CVD symposia in 2019 and 2022
- A Strategic Research Agenda for cardiovascular diseases (SRA-CVD) has been developed and published in parallel to the 2019 symposium in Riga. The SRA-CVD provides a general analysis of the European cardiovascular research landscape and outcomes as well as recommendations to guide research funders and deliverers of healthcare as they tackle and seek to reverse the growing burden caused by cardiovascular diseases.
- Additionally, an online survey was performed for setting priorities regarding the identified recommendations of the SRA-CVD, over 1450 participants used this opportunity.
- An online databank (CardioScape) on cardiovascular research projects across Europe was re-designed and updated with information and features. A publicly available transparent and comprehensive database of this type available online for flexible query and reporting is of high value to societies, funding agencies, and researchers, and thus promote improved quality and quantity of cardiovascular research.
- In total 5 newsletter were published on the ERA-CVD webpage. The newsletters informed about all 53 funded JTC consortia and 199 partners as well as other developments and activities of ERA-CVD.
- Two ERA-CVD symposia were organised in 2019 and 2022 were all researchers and additional early career researchers (ECR) were invited and directly or indirectly reimbursed to discuss the recent achievements, get input for the monitoring and allow the participants to network and exchange.During these events a Best Poster award was voted and handed over to the three winners.
- In addition, two Excellent Paper in CVD Awards (EPCA) has been handed over at the yearly ESC congress in 2018, Munich and 2019, Paris.
- The webpage was a core instrument to inform about activities of ERA-CVD and to share data and knowledge with the research community, the funded researchers, stakeholders and the general public. A specific partnering platform for scientists was established and enabled potential applicants to find collaborators worldwide and thereby increased the potential for researchers to form or join transnational consortia.
- ERA-CVD contributed to streamline national, regional and international practices in organizing research funding. Based upon experiences made within other ERA-Nets knowledge obtained on funding procedures, submission system, evaluation and selection process were used to organize research funding among ERA-CVD partners. The experience of partners who have been in charge of the management of the Joint Call Secretariat in other ERA-Nets was exploited to efficiently and in a short timeframe set up a highly competitive selection process based upon a common international peer-review board.
- ERA-CVD activities did support capacity building. It had a positively impact on the quality of translational cardiovascular research and the efficiency of the translational research process. On the long run, the capacity building activities are expected to accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries into novel and more effective and selective interventions in prevention, diagnosis and therapy, as well as their evaluation in the clinical setting.
- The close collaboration with the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), the European Heart Network (EHN) and voluntary health organizations did enable more accurate definition of specific needs and gaps in CVD research on one hand and broad dissemination of research outcomes on the other hand. Thus, indirectly, ERA-CVD did contribute to the improvement of health care and patient’s wellbeing.
- to increase the excellence in research stystems from competition and collaboration among scientists it is crucial for public authorities, research-funding agencies, public and private research institutes and universities to support the exchange and work across borders. Creating and promoting opportunities for cooperation with the best scientist and research infrastructures in the world was a major aim of ERA-CVD. Through its funding, ERA-CVD did support exchange and training of young scientists, clinicians and post-docs in the diverse fields of cardiovascular research (e.g. JTC specifically dedicated to young scientists and two symposia).
- ERA-CVD and its activities and publications did support the preparation of the new European Partnership ERA4Health and a first joint transnational call in 2023 (Topic: “Research targeting development of innovative therapeutic strategies in cardiovascular disease, CARDINNOV”) well as on national level to demonstrate and validate the need of CVD research and the priorities identified by the survey.