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Infectious Diseases Catalyst Grants 2024

Call opens
23 May 2024
Call closes
4 September 2024 12:00am (CET)
Announcement of results
Expected mid-December 2024
Recurring calls
February 2025
Application guidelines Send ansøgning

Purpose

The purpose of the “Infectious Diseases – Catalyst Grants” programme is to provide catalytic funding for exploratory research projects within the thematic research areas pathogenic fungi, novel antimicrobial resistance (AMR) tools, and harnessing innate immunity. Within these thematic areas, the aim is to stimulate Danish research, strengthen international collaborations, and to initiate innovative research projects with exceptional potential for future direct impact on global challenges.

Eligibility

  • The main applicant must be anchored and have their primary employment and research group at a university, hospital, or other non-profit research institution in Denmark.
  • The main applicant must be an established investigator with their own line of research.
  • It is encouraged to include one international co-applicant in the project who is anchored and has their primary employment and research group at a university, hospital, or other non-profit research organisation outside of Denmark. If an international co-applicant is included, they must significantly contribute to the scientific advancement of the project and receive a significant part of the funding. Further, it must be clear from the application how the project collaboration is ensured, and the work and budget is distributed.
  • The main applicant and, if included, the co-applicant must be employed at the institution they are applying from and must be guaranteed their own salaries for the entire project period.
  • Collaboration with for-profit research partners (biotech, industry etc.) is possible, but funding cannot be awarded to for-profit research partner(s), unless they act as sub-contractors (e.g., consultants, service providers, vendors, etc.).

About the grants

Amount

Up to DKK 3 million per grant for projects with a single applicant (one PI). Up to DKK 6 million per grant for collaborative projects (one PI plus one co-PI).

Location

Denmark, International

Career stage

Research Leaders (Established/Prof.), Research Leaders (junior/non-tenured), Research Leaders (Mid-career/Associate Prof.)

Research area focus

Bioscience and Basic Biomedicine, Clinical and Translational Medicine, Infectious Diseases

Contact

For grant inquiries
Fiona Goldizen
Grant Manager
+45 2061 4825 [email protected]

Thematic Research Areas

Research projects suitable for funding within the call must:

  • Be in scope of at least one of the three thematic research areas outlined below.
  • Be use-inspired. I.e., the research project can have a fundamental scientific focus but must include a potential application towards generating better and needed tools, and/or the scientific rationale, concept, and research direction is driven by the potential use to which the new knowledge will be put.

Theme 1: Pathogenic Fungi

Invasive fungal infections pose a growing threat to human health and with the rise of antifungal resistance, research and discoveries are needed to develop new and effective prevention, diagnostic, and treatment tools. The pathogenic fungi in scope of this call are the 19 Fungal Priority Pathogens listed by the World Health Organization.

Areas of research could be (but are not limited to):

  • Target exploration and validation of novel potential therapeutic targets.
  • Biomarker identification for future potential diagnostic tools.
  • Understanding fungal biology or host-pathogen interactions that provide insights into potential vulnerabilities that could be targeted therapeutically or preventatively.
  • Fungal genomics e.g., understanding how fungal pathogens evolve to cause disease, contribute to speciation, trace gene variation, and identify genomic changes that confer antifungal resistance.
  • Mechanisms of antifungal resistance and improved strategies to mitigate emergence and spread of drug-resistant strains.
  • Enabling tools and technologies such as establishment of assays, strains, or animal models for improved translational efforts.

Theme 2: Novel AMR Tools

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to global public health. It constitutes a ‘silent’, ongoing pandemic, estimated to directly cause ~1.3 million deaths annually. There is an urgent need for new tools to combat AMR infections, but the existing clinical pipeline is weak and in need of substantial replenishment. The intention of this theme is to provide funding for early and exploratory projects that investigate rationally designed, novel and innovative approaches to prevent, diagnose or treat drug resistant bacterial  infections with pathogens listed on the WHO Bacterial Priority Pathogen List, 2024 or the US CDC Antibiotic Resistance Treats Report.

Areas of research could be (but are not limited to):

  • Promising new treatment modalities alternative to traditional small-molecule antibiotics (such as phages, monoclonal antibodies, multibodies or nanobodies, targeted protein degradation etc.).
  • Dual-action or dual-modality or novel combination therapies to reduce the likelihood of resistance emerging.
  • Rapid, point-of-care diagnostic tools.
  • Microbiome -exploration, and -interventions to tackle AMR.

Theme 3: Harnessing Innate Immunity

Innate immunity provides a rapid, ‘front-line’ defence against respiratory pathogens through the recognition of Pathogen-associated Molecular Patterns (PAMPs). Although pathogens can evade innate immunity, one strategy is to boost innate defences using immunostimulatory molecules in situations where future exposure is predicted. This would give individuals an advantage over the pathogen(s) by promoting an early or more efficient innate immune response. The objective of this theme is to better understand how innovative tools can be developed and used to induce innate immunity and broadly counteract respiratory infections.

Areas of research must have applicability to more than one respiratory pathogen and can focus on:

  • Better understanding of the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of immunostimulatory stimuli, and how these translate to broadly protective outcomes.
  • Better understanding of the duration and type of protection, including the interplay between central vs tissue-specific factors, epigenetic signatures, and metabolic pathways.
  • Identification and characterization of novel therapeutic targets and/or novel immunomodulators for the induction of broadly protective responses.

Funding

The total grant budget is DKK 50 million, which can be awarded over up to three years (2024-2026), meaning that this call will recur in 2025 and potentially in 2026. The individual grants awarded can have one of two different granting frameworks: For each grant where there is only one applicant based in Denmark, up to DKK 3 million can be awarded, with a grant period of up to 3 years. For each grant where there is a Danish main applicant and a co-applicant based abroad, up to DKK 6 million can be awarded, with a grant period of up to 3 years.

Application Process

The application must be completed and submitted using NNF’s online application and grant management system, NORMA, which can be accessed from: https://norma.novonordiskfonden.dk. When all applications have been assessed, applicants will be notified about whether or not they have been awarded a grant. The notification e-mail will be sent from [email protected] to the e-mail address entered on initial registration.