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03 Sep 2018
The LINQ family keeps growing
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Today we re happy to welcome our latest addition to the company, Dr. Dagmar Schwenk, who holds a PhD in Pharmaceutical Biology and spent her PostDoc time at VTT Technical Research Center Finland before she returned to Germany to join the team of the Administrative Headquarters of the Max Planck Society. In that position she coordinated the cooperation program between Max Planck and Fraunhofer Society, two of the leading research organizations in Germany, before moving on to the Society’s Institute Liaison Office to provide central support to the 83 Max Planck Institutes.

At LINQ Dagmar will manage our new office in Berlin and assist the growing team in facilitating project implementation and proposal writing.

06 Jun 2018
EIT Health launches new call for proposals for Innovation by Ideas
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On June 6, 2018 EIT Health opened their second call for proposals for Innovation by Ideas activities to be included in the 2019 Business Plan. The deadline for submissions is October 2, 2018. As for the last round of calls, LINQ is delighted to be supporting EIT Health Germany again in the hot phase before the call submission deadline, in order to best prepare German and Swiss partners in their preparations of project proposals.

Innovation by Ideas projects are "solution driven", which means they are based on a potential solution that has been identified to capatalise on a specific opportunity or to address a specific need. The ultimate objective of the projects should be rapid market penetration of innovative products and services, and/or testing and implementation of novel organisational and healthcare delivery processes.

06 Jun 2018
First EDCTP calls 2018 opened
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After the EDCTP’s work plan 2018 has received approval by the European Commission and the EDCTP Association on 1 June 2018, eleven new calls which represent an overall investment of €118 million in clinical research and research capacity in sub-Saharan Africa are now being published.

The first two calls, ”Diagnostic tools for poverty-related diseases” and “Advances in product development for effective prevention, treatment and management of co-infections and co-morbidities”, opened today!

25 May 2018
IMPRINT – the first year in review
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Time flies! On May 22nd 2018, IMPRINT Board members came together in London to review the first completed year of the network’s activities, summarize the status of scientific progress in the six thematic challenges, critically assess the network’s strentgths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities, and jointly plan ahead.

Twelve months down the road, all structures are in place and fully functional, the second round of applications under the pump priming and fellowship schemes is already being reviewed, candidates selected in the first calls have started their projects, and preparations for the first full network meeting in September are nearing completion. Additional calls for Public Engagement activities will be published soon, and first selected training opportunities are about to be communicated to the contiuously increasing network membership.

Excited about so much progress in year one, the group is now looking forward to expanding the set of activities even further in year number two.

18 May 2018
LINQ at the 6th TBnet Academy in St. Petersburg
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LINQ was honored to be among the faculty of the 6th TBnet Academy, which took place in St. Petersburg, Russia, from May 13 to 16 2018.

This annual forum provides students, residents, fellows, doctoral students and post-docs in the field of tuberculosis with the unique opportunity to exchange ideas, learn from each other under expert guidance and mentorship, and benefit from the expertise of international TBnet trainers and coaches.

During their 2018 Academy days, participants from Russia and other Eastern European countries were trained in different aspects of the fight against tuberculosis, ranging from prevention through diagnostics to therapy, and received coaching in a wide range of relevant soft skills, such as the drafting of a research manuscript or the preparation of research proposals.

Hosted by Professor Piotr K Yablonskii and his wonderful team at the State Research Institute of Phthisiopulmonology, the international TBnet delegation felt warmly welcomed, and is excited that follow-up plannings for a TBNET post graduate course at the Russian TB congress in November 2018 are already underway.

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14 May 2018
First annual meeting of the global PredictTB consortium
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From 9 to 11 May 2018, PredictTB partners from Africa, USA, Europe and China came together in Stellenbosch, South Africa, for their first annual progress meeting.

PredictTB is a large-scale, five-year project funded by the EDCTP, BMGF, NIH, FNIH, NIAID, Grand Challenges China, ICIDR and CTB2 with more than 20 million EUR. It aims to shorten the treatment times of tuberculosis (TB) in drug-sensitive patients through individualized therapy.

Coordinated by Prof. Clifton Barry from the US National Institutes of Health and Prof. Gerhard Walzl from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, the consortium performs an ambitious phase 2B clinical trial at several sites in South Africa and China, and develops a set of criteria to reduce TB treatment times using data from scans, assays and cultures to evaluate inflammation and lung pathology, to test for the sustained presence of bacteria, and to determine which patients are eligible for a treatment which is much shorter than the current standard of care.

In addition to discussing the progress of PredictTB itself, the meeting also included scientific presentations on cutting-edge tuberculosis research from various partner studies, the perspective of the funders, and several committee and work group meetings. To provide the Chinese project partners with an insight into clinical routine and patient management, the third day began with a visit of UCT Lung Institute’s clinical site for them. Meanwhile the African and European consortium members met to talk about the achievements and challenges in year 1 of the EDCTP funded part of PredictTB as well as about the workplan for year 2.

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4 May 2018
New EDCTP calls planned for 2018
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The European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) has announced that they intend to launch 11 calls for proposals to support clinical research and related activities on poverty-related diseases (PRDs) in 2018. While details of the call texts are pending approval of the work plan by the European Commission and the EDCTP General Assembly, the following topics have been announced already in the EDCTP Special Update to their April Newsletter yesterday:

Research and Innovation Actions (RIA):

  • Diagnostic tools for poverty-related diseases
  • Advances in product development for effective prevention, treatment and management of co-infections and co-morbidities
  • Strategic action for overcoming drug resistance in malaria
  • Vaccines for diarrhoeal diseases or lower respiratory tract infections
  • Strategic action for the comparison, selection and development of malaria vaccine candidates

Coordination and Support Actions (CSA):

  • Capacity development to facilitate delivery and uptake of new or improved medical interventions in African health systems
  • Ethics and regulatory capacities

Training and Mobility Actions (TMA):

  • Career Development Fellowships
  • EDCTP Clinical Research and Product Development Fellowships
  • EDCTP-AREF Preparatory Fellowships
  • Senior Fellowships

More information on the type of application (one-stage or two-stage) as well as indicative timelines of the calls can be found in this overview.

14 Mar 2018
ScreenTB meeting and lab training in The Gambia
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From 12 to 14 March 2018, MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM hosted the second annual meeting of the ScreenTB consortium in Banjul. After two successful years, the consortium met to jointly assess progress, discuss current challenges, and plan for the final year of the project.

The first two days focused on in-depth discussions on the progress and achievements during year two of ScreenTB. Researchers from Stellenbosch University, Makerere University, Armauer Hansen Research Institute, MRC Unit the Gambia and the University of Namibia gave updates on the progress of the clinical study.

In addition, the yearly meeting offered a platform for mentees to meet with their mentors and discuss the progress they made during the last year and the personal goals they achieved.

On the last day, the consortium members took a tour of the MRC campus, visiting both the clinic as well as labs and other research facilities. Afterwards researchers from the ScreenTB clinical sites in South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Namibia and The Gambia participated in a lab training led by Prof. Annemieke Geluk and Prof. Paul Corstjens from LUMC in The Netherlands. During the training, the researchers practiced using the readers and finger-prick test that were developed in the first two years of the project, which they will now be using at the different sites to screen their TB patients in the upcoming months.

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1 Mar 2018
New addition to the LINQ team
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We are excited to welcome Malte Streitz as a new member to our team today, who will help us keep up with our growing workload, and further complement our pool of expertise: Malte studied Linguistics and Literature Studies in Germany, the UK and US. Before joining LINQ, he was joint head of a project management team in Munich/Germany, focusing on international university marketing, recruitment and employer branding, and organised higher education fairs all over Germany. Besides his marketing and event management experience, Malte has a background in teaching At Vassar College, New York.

As a project manager, Malte will support ongoing projects as well as proposals for new initiatives.

27 Feb 2018
IMPRINT receives additional funding from The Industrial Challenge Strategy Fund
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Wonderful news: Ten months into the lifetime of our project, at a point where the first contracts for IMPRINT pump priming projects are being signed and the first round of IMPRINT fellowships has been awarded, the network is receiving an additional £599,920 by The Industrial Challenge Strategy Fund (ICSF). The ICSF aims to bring together the UK’s world-leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time, including leading-edge healthcare.

This supplement funding will allow us to implement additional and diverse pump-priming activities and to strengthen collaborations between industry and academic researchers. In addition to a larger number of exciting research projects that can be funded, special industry-academia-sessions at the annual network meetings are planned to spark and strengthen cross-sectoral collaboration.

Newly introduced outreach activities will include the production of educational materials to help explain the concept of maternal immunization to lay audiences, calls for IMPRINT Public Engagement Awards, and transferable skills training for members of our growing network at different levels.

Related calls will appear on the project website soon!

05 Dec 2017
Joint stand of all five vaccine networks at the British Society for Immunology Congress 2017 in Brighton
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The network managers of IMPRINT and its sister Networks VALIDATE Network (Vaccine development for complex intracellular neglected pathogens), IntVetVac (the International Veterinary Vaccinology Network), HIC-Vac (The Human Challenge Model Network) and BactiVac (the Bacterial Vaccines Network) joined forces during the British Society for Immunology (BSI) meeting in Brighton, UK, from 4-7 December 2017 to promote the networks as well as current pump priming and fellowship calls.

The team of managers was supported by BSI President Peter Openshaw and MRC Programme Manager Martin Broadstock in their aim of spreading the word and raising awareness of the networks and their activities.

The BSI Congress is the largest national immunology Congress in Europe and was attended by over 1,250 speakers, presenters, sponsors, exhibitors and delegates – of which many were happy to join our networks as new members.

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23 Oct 2017
International Symposium concluding the TBnet Armenia project
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On Friday, 20 October 2017, the Tuberculosis Network Clinical Trials group TBnet and Research Center Borstel hosted an international Symposium on MDR-TB in Europe, concluding a project aimed at strengthening the cooperation between Armenia and Germany in the fight against Tuberculosis (TB).

LINQ management prepared and organized the event, which brought together 50 TB experts from all over Europe, including a representative from the Armenian Ministry of Health and eight physicians and scientists from Armenia, who had spent four-week observerships at several institutions and medical clinics in Germany.

The Symposium featured talks describing the work of TBnet and the Doctors Without Borders Programme in Armenia as well as presentations by TB experts on specific topics, such as the level of drug-resistance in M/XDR-TB in Europe, the impact of molecular drug resistance testing on M/XDR-TB control in Europe, new drugs for treatment and HIV coinfection in M/XDR-TB in Europe.

In addition, all Armenian participants of the observership programme presented the highlights of their stay in Germany, describing the benefits of the experience as well as important lessons learnt and how they intend to translate the newly acquired knowledge into their work in their home country. It became apparent that the observership programme, which was officially concluded with the Symposium in Borstel, had been a very fruitful initiative, which will lead not only to valuable input for future work in the fight against TB but also to strengthened ties between German and Armenian TB experts.

The overall project, comprising a four-day TBnet Academy held in Yerevan earlier this year, the four-week observerships and the Symposium on MDR-TB in Europe were funded by the German Ministry of Health (BMG). In addition to the organization of the Symposium, LINQ were also supporting the implementation of the observership programme.

Due to the success of this project, all partners involved agreed that they are now determined to sustain and expand the bilateral cooperation between German and Armenian TB experts, potentially leading to new projects in the future.

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05 Oct 2017
LINQ leading through EIT Health Annual Symposium
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On 4-5 October 2017, Dr. Claudia Schacht from LINQ management GmbH moderated the 2nd Annual Symposium of EIT Health Germany which was hosted by AbbVie Germany in Ludwigshafen (day 1) and Roche Diagnostics GmbH in Mannheim (day 2). This symposium brought together EU officials, representatives of business and academia, and start-ups from the healthcare sector under the focus of “data, digital health and connectivity”:

  • Speakers from AbbVie, University of Cologne, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg and Roche presented project examples highlighting how digital innovations could create value for patients and healthcare systems.
  • Interactive break-out sessions on data analytics (led by Prof. Wolfgang Petrich, Roche Diabetes Care GmbH), data privacy (Dr. Ioannis Tarnanas, ETH Zürich) and harmonized ethical requirements (Dr. Claudia Schacht, LINQ management) provided room to discuss challenges and opportunities of “Real World Data in Healthcare”.
  • Keynote speeches held by Manuel Irun Molina, KIC Officer of EIT Health from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and by Horst Krämer, Programme Officer of DG CONNECT from the European Commission, explained the EIT’s perspective on connectivity and gave an insight into current EU developments in the field, such as the new EU General Data Protection Regulation and the Public Consultation on Health and Care in the Digital Single Market.
  • 18 start-ups pitched their innovative healthcare solutions and had the opportunity to further discuss their business ideas with other participants during matchmaking sessions, giving the second day a high degree of entrepreneurial spirit.

Altogether, the event showed the potential of EIT Health to “connect the dots” by bringing the right organizations together and support them in developing new healthcare solutions.

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10 Sep 2017
IMPRINT kick-off meeting in Brussels
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On Sept 10 2017 the Steering Committee and Management Board of the new IMPRINT network came together in Brussels, Belgium, to hold their project kick-off meeting and an IMPRINT stakeholder session in conjunction with the 4th International Neonatal & Maternal Immunization Symposium (INMIS).

The IMPRINT network, led by Prof Beate Kampmann from Imperial College London and Dr Chrissie Jones from the University Hospital Southampton, was selected for funding as one of nine UK Vaccine Networks supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), which is co-funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

IMPRINT brings together stakeholders from basic science, immunology, vaccinology, social sciences, industry, public health and national and international policy makers, and will receive £1.931.436 of funding over three years to advance our understanding of fundamental scientific questions about vaccination in pregnancy and the neonatal period, and to identify the best methods for assessing the efficacy, safety and acceptability of such vaccines.

Through a bundle of support activities such as network events, an attractive IMPRINT fellowship scheme and the awarding of pump-priming grants, IMPRINT aims to create a strong, sustainable network of scientists and other stakeholders in the field of maternal and neonatal immunization, with a particular focus on collaboration with partners from Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC).

LINQ is proud to be involved in this important initiative and is looking forward to see the network grow in the years to come.

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01 Aug 2017
LINQ Management partners with TBnet
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LINQ Management is supporting the Tuberculosis Network Clinical Trials group (TBnet) in the coordination of a project funded by the German Ministry of Health (BMG), aiming to strengthen the cooperation between Germany and Armenia in the fight against tuberculosis.

The project comprises several activities including:

  • A four-day TBnet Academy, which was held in Yerevan in mid May 2017 and provided students and young university graduates from Armenia and other Eastern European countries with the unique opportunity to benefit from the expertise of international TBNET trainers and coaches.
  • Four-week observerships by young physicians and scientists from Armenia, who will stay at German host institutions in Bochum, Borstel, Freiburg, Gauting/München and Homburg where they will work with experienced TBNET mentors, gaining in-depth insights into patient management, lab diagnostics and clinical research in Germany.
  • A joint Symposium on MDR-TB in Europe hosted by the TBNET at the Research Center Borstel on 20th October 2017, bringing together young Armenian doctors and scientists, their German hosts from various Research Institutes and hospitals as well as TB experts from Armenia and around Europe.

More information about the project, the Armenian guests who will visit their German counterparts, and the MDR-Symposium can be found here on the TBnet website.

The LINQ team is looking forward to working with TBNET partners and the group of Armenian guests to implement this exciting initiative and bring together experts to foster bilateral cooperation in the field of tuberculosis research.

01 Aug 2017
A warm welcome to our new colleague!
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We’re excited to welcome Dr. Tanja Jung-Sendzik who will join the LINQ team as a project manager as of August 1 2017.

After acquiring her PhD in Molecular Biology in 2006, Tanja spent her PostDoc time at Harvard University before moving on to the industry in Germany and Luxemburg. In addition to marketing and scientific management, she regularly held technical trainings in diagnostics of infectious diseases in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Tanja is an ISO certified quality manager and currently completing her MSc in Public Health.

Throughout her professional career Tanja has focused on strengthening international networks and is now looking forward to new challenges with LINQ.

04 Jul 2017
New EDCTP2 calls published
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On July 3 & 4, the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) has published a new round of calls for proposals, inviting researchers to submit proposals responding to the following topics:

  • Treatment innovations for poverty-related diseases
  • Strategic actions supporting large-scale clinical trials
  • Clinical trials to reduce health inequities in pregnant women, newborns and children
  • Targeting control and elimination of NIDs through clinical trials
  • Targeting control and elimination of NIDs through product-focused implementation research

EDCTP is a public-public partnership between countries in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, and the European Union. Its second programme runs from 2014 to 2024 and supports health services optimisation research as well as product-focused implementation research, for new or improved medical interventions against poverty-related and neglected infectious diseases, including advanced testing and field validation of new diagnostic tools.

Calls are open to participation of researchers globally provided they team up with European and sub-Saharan African partners. Researchers and/or institutions from sub-Saharan Africa, the European Union or one of the countries associated to Horizon 2020 are eligible to receive and administer EDCTP funding directly.

The funding of projects is based on annual work plans and the priorities outlined in the EDCTP2 Strategic Business Plan.

The full topic texts as well as all related call information can be found here.

09 Jun 2017
LINQ supporting EIT Health Hearing Coachings in Frankfurt
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On May 29 and June 8 2017, the German EIT Health GmbHy organized two full-day preparatory coachings for successful German coordinators who were invited to present their planned projects in the upcoming final stage of the selection process of the call for proposals for EIT Health's 2018 Business Plan.

To optimally support the workshop participants with a full range of relevant expertise, Entrepreneurship Manager Dr Bodo Brückner, Innovation Manager Dr Stephanie Bechtel and Business Creation Manager Dr Eva-Maria Markutzik from the German EIT Health CLC teamed up with pitch trainer Colin Bennett, design specialist Mary Delaney, and proposal & programme expert Dr Claudia Schacht from LINQ management. After introductory expert talks, tailored support and advice from the team of coaches as well as a focussed pitch rehearsal at the end of each day, the coordinators are now ready to shine in the Hearings - and coaches keeping their fingers crossed for each of them!

21 May 2017
LINQ @ TwinnToInfect Grants Office workshop in Portugal
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On May18-19, 2017, LINQ management was invited to speak at the TwinnToInfect Grants Office Workshop which was hosted by the Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM Lisboa), Lisbon, Portugal.

TwinnToInfect is a 3-year-project funded by Horizon 2020 under the Twinning action of "Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation“ which provides Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM Lisboa) the opportunity to integrate the European circle of research excellence institutions by cementing a sustainable science, technology and innovation network with two internationally-leading organisations in the immunity and infection area of research, the Institut Pasteur (France) and the Francis Crick Institute (UK).

In the context of this project, the 2-day workshop on May 18 and 19 brought together Grants Office members of the three institutes for a best practice exchange. This provided them with the opportunity to discuss different approaches and best practice in providing Health scientists with the best possible support service to help them optimize their chances for success and participation in Horizon 2020 as well as other international funding programmes. The exchange was further complemented by expert talks on the following selected cross-cutting issues:

  • Proposal Preparation I & II, Claudia Schacht, LINQ management GmbH, Germany
  • US-European Collaborative Programmes, Agatha Keller, Co-Head of EU GrantsAccess, ETH Zurich, Vice-Chair of NCURA Select Committee on Globar Affairs
  • Ethics in Horizon 2020 funded projects, Joana Namorado, DG Research & Innovation, EC
  • Open Access and FAIR Data Management (H2020 PILOT on Open Research Data (ORD)), Jarkko Siren/Daniel Spichtinger, REA/EC

Expert sessions were attended by about 80 participants, including iMM researchers and research administration staff as well as representatives of other relevant research institutions in Portugal. Attendants not only benefitted from the facts and experiences shared during the presentations, but also from room for networking and lively discussions in between the expert talks. At the end of day two, both scientists and grants office staff were going home inspired by the discussions and training sessions, looking forward to translating the newly acquired knowledge into hopefully many successful applications to come.

20 Apr 2017
ScreenTB meeting, networking and capacity strengthening at the University of Namibia
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On 4 and 5 April 2017, the University of Namibia hosted the first annual meeting of the ScreenTB consortium in Windhoek. During that time, the group could review the progress made so far, plan ahead for the remaining 24 months of the project, and renew the focus and commitment of all partners involved.

The two very productive meeting days not only included status updates on the project activities and the clinical trial but also lively discussions on mentorship and a practical exercise on career development plans, focusing in particular on the needs of young African researchers, but also allowing more experienced members of the group to set clear goals and to develop an action plan that can be followed up throughout the next years.

The ScreenTB consortium also seized the opportunity to visit the research lab at the UNAM Medical Faculty, which had undergone significant upgrades over the previous months. The local team presented newly acquired lab equipment and techniques, and demonstrated the workflows established for handling of ScreenTB clinical samples.

An evening symposium entitled “New bullets against an old enemy - the future of tuberculosis diagnostics and the role of new science” rounded up the official programme, attracting a large number of students, scientists and professional care givers. The list of speakers included ScreenTB investigators Dr. Emmanuel Nepolo and Dr. Gunar Günther from UNAM, ScreenTB coordinator Prof. Gerhard Walzl from Stellenbosch University in Cape Town South Africa, the Namibian national TB programme officer Dr. Nunurai Ruswa as well as Prof. Stefan Niemann from Research Center Borstel in Germany, who is currently spending his sabbatical at UNAM and has provided tremendous support in setting up the sequencing lab during his time in Windhoek.

After the end of the official group programme, LINQ management stayed on for a number of capacity building and strategic planning meetings with different members of UNAM research staff and financial administration, to thoroughly prepare the team for the upcoming first reporting as well as to help plan and set up a general system of managing research grants at UNAM. The jointly developed workflows and agreements will now optimally support the scientists involved in international research projects while catering to the needs and requirements of the different funding programmes as well as UNAM management.

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22 Feb 2017
LINQ training on Horizon2020 Financial Management
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On 22 February 2017, LINQ management conducted a training workshop on Horizon 2020 Financial Management at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. The seminar was hosted by the University’s Research Service Centre (RSC) and aimed at supporting staff members involved in the administration of Horizon2020 projects with a targeted and hands-on training. The first part of the training was provided by Julia Buech of LINQ management and consisted of a session on the financial rules and regulation of the EC’s current Framework Programme – complemented by a detailed presentation of the specifics of H2020 financial reporting, including best practice tips and clear guidance on the Dos and Don’ts in financial management.

LINQ’s part of the seminar was followed in the afternoon by a practical session held by RSC representative Dr Marco Betz, who focussed on the internal grant reporting mechanism at Goethe University based on specific examples and gave attendees the opportunity to practice the reporting process through the set-up of a sample Horizon2020 financial report.

The form and structuring of the training workshop and the practical approach were well received by participants and the information provided will surely be a valuable help for the Goethe University staff in their day-to-day administration of Horizon2020 grants.

10 Feb 2017
From the current practice of "one size fits all" to precision-guided individualised TB therapy
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February 1st 2017 marks the beginning of our latest EDCTP (co-)funded project "Predict-TB" which will receive over 20 million EUR funding over the next five years from the EDCTP, NIH, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and China Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).

‘Predict-TB’ aims to cut treatment duration in majority of patients

Current treatment of TB is long, complicated to administer, and can have severe side-effects. To prevent recurrence of the disease after treatment is stopped patients undergoing treatment must take a combination of different antibiotics for at least 6 months. This often leads to improper adherence, which consequently can result in the development of multi-drug-resistant TB (MDR). Treatment for drug-resistant TB can take up to two years, and is yet more complex, expensive, and toxic. The staggering cost of curing MDR-TB poses a significant challenge to governments, health systems, and other payers – and still, many patients are unable to even access treatment. Among those who do receive treatment for MDR TB, only 50% survive.

Thus, shortening of standard treatment is a main priority of current TB research. Previous studies of treatment shortening, usually to 4 months, have all been unsuccessful when compared to standard 6-month treatment. Six-month courses cure 95% of patients and shorter courses only 80-85% of patients. This still means, however, that most patients are cured after 4 months - but we cannot currently know beforehand which patients belong to that group. If it were possible to identify the patients who only require 4-month therapy, we would be able to reduce treatment duration in the vast majority of patients.

This is precisely what the Predict-TB consortium wants to do:

Over the next five years, the consortium, led by Prof. Clifton Barry from the US National Institute of Health and Prof. Gerhard Walzl from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, is planning to develop a smart set of treatment stopping criteria, and a point-of-care device to measure immunological markers that can contribute to the decision making. The group will perform an ambitious phase 2B clinical trial in South Africa and China, looking at demographic, radiographic, bacteriologic and immunologic parameters, to answer two key questions:

  • can those patients who cure with shorter treatment duration be identified? and
  • what combination of parameters can best identify these patients?

This new method – if successful – could be a true game changer, advancing treatment standards from the current practice of "one size fits all" to precision-guided individualised therapy, which would allow for shortened treatment in a significant proportion of drug sensitive TB patients.

Millions of patients could benefit from a much shorter treatment. This will not only make their lives much easier: Reducing the TB burden will have a beneficial effect on the economic situation in many developing countries, and less drug resistance will benefit public health on a global scale.

More information is available at the official project website.

25 Jan 2017
All papers in place: LINQ management coordinating EDCTP funded Project 'Screen-TB' together with Stellenbosch University
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We are delighted to have signed all contracts to manage an exciting project in the field of TB diagnostics led by Prof. Gerhard Walzl from Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa.

With retroactive effect, LINQ management has become a full consortium member of the EDCTP-funded initiative ‘ScreenTB’, a three-year project that aims at developing a point-of-care, hand-held, rapid screening test for tuberculosis (TB) that can be conducted on finger-prick blood in a laboratory-free manner:

ScreenTB Website
ScreenTB Fact Sheet

The initiative brings together an excellent team of scientists from four European entities and five African research institutions. Together, the collaborators strive to make screening for active TB easier and safer in resource-limited settings: The challenges in tackling TB include the facts that people are tested too late and that the turnaround for most tests is long. The test being developed by the ScreenTB consortium will provide almost immediate results, and people will be able to be diagnosed with TB and start treatment in a single visit to a health-care facility. It is done with blood obtained from a finger prick and can make a TB diagnosis in less than an hour. The device is a hand-held, battery-operated instrument that will measure chemicals in the blood of people with possible TB. This will not have to be done in a laboratory and health-care workers will be able to perform it with minimal training. The result is a low-cost screening test that has the potential to significantly speed up TB diagnosis in resource-limited settings.

In addition, ScreenTB includes various activities to provide capacity building opportunities during the project for the African partners. A crucial part of this will be the implementation of a mentorship scheme and the set-up of personal development plans for young African scientists. In this context, LINQ will provide on-site support for African institutions and guide less experienced partners in managing their international research funding.

19 Jan 2017
Global partnership CEPI launched to prevent epidemics with new vaccines
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Great news from the World Economic Forum in Davos:

With an initial investment of US$460m from the governments of Germany, Japan and Norway, by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, and with strong backing by major pharmaceutical corporations, CEPI - the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations was officially launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos January 19, 2017. The Coalition will seek to outsmart epidemics by developing safe and effective vaccines against known infectious disease threats that could be deployed rapidly to contain outbreaks, before they become global health emergencies.

The first call for proposals is open already, focussing on MERS-CoV, Lassa virus, and Nipah virus; deadline for submission of preliminary proposals is March 8, 2017.

CEPI is also setting up a database of independent experts to assist with proposal evaluations.. if you want to get involved and are willing to support the new initiative as an evaluator, send your CV and a short cover letter to apply@cepi.net by COB February 14, 2017.

13 Jan 2017
IMI2 scientific priorities for 2017
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The Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 (IMI2) has published their "Annual work plan and budget 2017" which includes the following scientific priorities for 2017:

  • Diabetes/Metabolic disorders
  • Neurodegeneration and other Neuroscience Priorities
  • Immunology
  • Infection control including vaccines
  • Translational safety
  • Data and Knowledge Management
  • Oncology
  • Other enablers of innovation

Two calls are planned for April 5 and November 9, 2017 – see the full document here.