Tagged / Health

EU funding relevant to Health and Media

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – Economic Research on Incentives for Efficient use of Preventive Services: This R01 funding opportunity announcement solicits applications for economic research on the role of incentive arrangements in promoting efficient use of preventive services and interventions, specifically considering both costs and health outcomes. NIH intends to commit approximately $1.6 million in fiscal year 2012 to fund approximately four awards. Application budgets are not limited, but need to reflect actual needs of the proposed project for the maximum project period of five years. Deadline 15.11.11

Healthy Ageing: Funding is available for innovative policies to support healthy, active and dignified ageing and raise the effectiveness and efficiency of spending on social, health and long-term care services and benefits. Deadline 26.09.11

ESF-LiU Travel Grants for Conference on Images & Visualisation – Imaging Technology, Truth and Trust: The conference, to be held from 17 to 21 September 2012 in Scandic Linköping Vast, Sweden, will bring together experts from across the natural and social science with curators, artists, producers and users of images based on advanced visual engineering, in order to explore challenges at the interface between science and visual art. Grants are available to cover conference fees and possible part travel costs for students and early stage researchers. Deadline 06.06.12

Culture Programme: The Culture Programme has been established to enhance the cultural area shared by Europeans, which is based on a common cultural heritage, through the development of cooperation activities among cultural operators from eligible countries, with a view to encouraging the emergence of European citizenship. The Programme is aimed at three specific objectives: promotion of the trans-national mobility of people working in the cultural sector; support for the trans-national circulation of cultural and artistic works and products; and promotion of inter-cultural dialogue. The Programme has a flexible, interdisciplinary approach and is focused on the needs expressed by cultural operators during the public consultations leading up to its design. Deadlines are: 15.09.11, 05.10.11, 16.11.11, 03.02.12, 03.05.12

Research by Prof Colin Pritchard featured in The Guardian

Prof Colin Pritchard’s study comparing the effectiveness of the NHS with health services in 16 other western countries is published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, and was featured in The Guardian today. You can read the full story on The Guardian website  – ‘NHS among developed world’s most efficient health systems, says study’

The research also features on a number of websites, most notably:

Politics.co.uk website – http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2011/08/08/surprise-report-nhs-most-efficient-healthcare

GP Online website – http://www.gponline.com/News/article/1083812/nhs-among-cost-effective-health-systems-world/

UTV (Ulster – Northern Ireland) – http://www.u.tv/News/NHS-among-developed-worlds-most-efficient-health-systems-says-study/5901a770-528c-405b-b7ae-ac9ce576f07a

You can access the full-text of Colin’s paper here: http://shortreports.rsmjournals.com/content/2/7/60.full.pdf

€4.2M Healthy Ageing in the EU Research funds just released!

Europe’s first joint call for ageing research ‘ERA-AGE 2’ has been released with a whopping €4.2M available. Research Councils from across Europe have contributed to this fund which aims to increase healthy ageing and increase life expectancy by two years within the European Union by 2020.
This call enables researchers from all disciplines to put in applications addressing “Active and healthy ageing across the life course”. The research funded will aim to generate new insights on the factors that enable individuals to live actively and healthily into later life. Applications are invited from multidisciplinary research groups representing three to five funding countries. Stage-one pre-proposals can be submitted until 3 October 2011 under three areas:
1. Generate new knowledge on the biological, clinical, behavioural, social and environmental factors that enable individuals to live actively and healthily into later life.
2. Explore comparatively different models, methods, approaches and good practices in societal responses to increased longevity which emphasise both social inclusion and sustainability.
3. Engage in effective knowledge exchange activities that will assist European and other countries to achieve the goal of increasing healthy life expectancy by two years by 2020.

Find EU Partners for the Lifelong Learning Programme, Ethics in Security or Health

Attending Information days and workshops held by the European Commission not only gives you a great opportunity to find out more about a call and ask any questions about it, but these events are also critical networking opportunities to meet others interested in building a consortium and applying for funding. An info day on the Lifelong Learning Programme will be held in October and a workshop on Ethical issues in Security Research in September.  If you are interested in applying to either of these calls, you should attend the info day.

To help find partners in Health funding, the details of participants who attended the recent partnering day on the 2012 Health Theme calls in Brussels are now available. A search page has been created where it is possible to look for participants of the recent partnering event by area of the work programme, type of organisation, country or through a free search. If you are planning on being involved in a proposal for the 2012 calls for the FP7 Co-operation Health Theme, then you should join look at this search page Health partnering day search page

FP7 Cooperation Theme: what subjects are covered?

The Cooperation theme is divided into 11 different topics; clicking on the hyperlink below will display the focus of the calls covered under each of these.
Health
Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology
Energy
ICT (Computing)
NMP(Nanosciences)
Socio-Economic Sciences & Humanities
Transport
Security
Space
Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI)
Public-Private Partnerships

Health and Wellbeing (Wei-Jun Liang, Kevin McGhee and David Osselton)

Author: Kevin McGhee, Wei-Jun Liang, M. David Osselton (ApSci)

Alternative name suggestion:

Living with environmental change – Health and Wellbeing in the Fast-changing Environments

Functional Genomics and Integrated Systems Biology

Brief theme summary: 

In the dynamic and fast-changing natural or social environments, we are exposed to a variety of pollutants, drugs, viruses and deadly pathogens. As the ages of our population are rising, so are degenerative diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s diseases. Therefore, understanding those environmental impacts on human health and aging is paramount and becomes one of the top priorities in the vision of RCUK.

Differences in genetic make-up between individuals and different populations make us respond differently to harmful agents including prescribed medicinal drugs, beneficial to some or detrimental to others.  The desire to understand detailed mechanisms in order to provide better healthcare had been monumentally dispirited before we were able to reveal the detailed differences in our genomes. Ever since the completion of human genome sequencing in 2004, the advancement in genome sciences in conjunction with that of environmental sciences provides opportunities for substantiating the improvement of human health and wellbeing as well as management of  healthcare of aging populations. Since the genomic sequences of many other important organisms have also been determined, comparative genomic studies between humans and amongst other organisms is currently the most powerful way to unravel the intricate interrelationships of human health and environment. In the post-genome era, this newer vision of biological sciences driven by the concept of systems biology is currently pursued internationally.

With our expertise in molecular biology, human genetics, toxicology and analytical chemistry as well as some of the essential equipment, we can take advantage of functional genomics in order to drive the research theme in human health and wellbeing, and aging, in relation to environmental, social and cultural factors.

Scope of theme: what is included?

 Our current on-going research embraces the following areas:

 Pharmacogenomics

  • Molecular networks of integrin-linked mechanical signalling in relation to human heart disease – Bioimaging (in collaboration with Professor Jiang Jun Zhang of Media School and Professor Adrian Podoleanu of Kent University).
  • Impacts of SNP (genetic variations) on the toxicities of methadone amongst populations (in collaboration with Professor David Paunder of Dundee University).
  • Impacts of SNP (genetic variations) on the efficacy of morphine in patient pain management (collaboration with Tamas Hikish of Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Dr Joy Ross of Royal Marsden Hospital in London).

Biodiversities and conservation

  • Evaluation and protection of local red squirrel populations in Dorset (in collaboration with Dr Kathy Hodder).
  • Evaluation and protection of local Padina species to exploit their economic potential (in collaboration with Dr Roger Herbert).
  • Molecular mechanisms of pheromone-communications of diverse species (in collaboration with Professor Rudy Gozlan).
  • DNA profiling for human and animal identifications in the fields of anthropology and archaeology.

Our topics of interests in the immediate future:

  • Human vitamin C transport and its impact on human degenerative diseases, such as cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s diseases.
  • Human detoxification pathways in relation to the glucuronidation and transport, and personalised medicine (in collaboration with Prof Stephen Wong of Wake Forest University, USA)
  • Molecular mechanisms of infectious diesease (in collaboration with Professor Rudy Gozlan).

Scope of theme: what is excluded? Not sure.

Which big societal questions are addressed by this theme?

Humans are exposed to a variety of pollutants, drugs, viruses and deadly pathogens in the modern fast-changing environments. Degenerative diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s diseases are often associated with aging. To effectively maintain human health and wellbeing, understanding those environmental impacts on human health and aging using the approaches of functional genomics and systems biology is paramount and becomes one of the top priorities in the vision of RCUK.

How do these link to the priorities of the major funding bodies?

Health and well being is one of the most important research areas funded by some of the CRUK, namely, the BBSRC, the Wellcome Trust, the MRC, the Royal Society, from which we could sort future funding.

Our proposed research theme fits very well to the underlined strategic research priorities of the Two Current Research Priority Themes of the MRC:

  • Resilience, repair and replacement (Natural protection, Tissue disease and degeneration, Mental health and wellbeing, and Repair and replacement).
  • Living a long and healthy life (Genetics and disease, Life course perspective, Lifestyles affecting health, Environment and health).

As highlighted by the BBSRC, systems biology is the pivotal approach for addressing issues in human health, aging and diseases. It is an effective way forward to study human health in the aspects of epidemiology, such as parasites, virus, and infectious disease. Our research theme also fits well to strategic research priorities of the BBSRC, in exploiting new ways of working were outline as:

  • Data driven biology
  • Synthetic biology
  • Systems approaches to the biosciences
  • Technology development for the biosciences 

Our research theme also fits well to The CrossCouncil Priorities outlined by the BBSRC:

The Wellcome Trust also focuses on health and wellbeing associated with functional genomics. The Royal Society promotes international collaborations, and is encouraging collaborative studies on human health, wellbeing and aging impacted by population single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) coincided with human life style and different ethnicities in the diverse living environments.

To follow the strategies outlined by RCUK in promoting 3Rs (Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research), we propose to use the cost-effective and well characterised model organisms, fruit-fly and zebra fish to study the molecular mechanisms in conjunction with survey data from human subjects.  The genome information of those model organisms is known and the organisms are amendable to genetic defects and molecular manipulations.  Moreover, at least 75% of human disease genes have their counterparts in their genomes. 

How does this theme interlink with the other BU themes currently under consideration?

Our research theme is complementary to the existing research in HSC and will be of interest to local hospitals and communities. Although a small team, we have the expertise in molecular biology, toxicology, and analytical chemistry with some of the essential equipment. Our current research orientations already fit well with the remit of our university research and enterprise strategies. We certainly would like to contribute to the existing theme of research orientations, particularly, health and well being, aging, environmental sciences, and social and cultural sciences within the university. Our expertise will enable us to form close link with the existing research groups that have already formed critical mass, particularly in the ApSci and HSC.

Through our research, we have already formed strong links with the Media School of BU and Physics Department in the University of Kent for bioimaging and biomodelling. We have already submitted a strong interdisciplinary research proposal to the MRC, addressing the impacts of genome on heart diseases. We will maintain this collaborative consortium and continuously formulate research proposals to address issues involved in human health and wellbeing.  We have also established strong links with Dr Helen Machitia of Glasgow University, Joy Gill of Imperial College School of Medicine for collaborative research in science and society.

Since we already have the expertise and facilities in fish studies in the School of Applied Sciences, it is logial and efficient to use the well characterised model organism, zebra fish to address questions in human health, fish conservation and environment issues.

Ageing (Kevin McGhee, Wei-Jun Liang, M. David Osselton)

Author: Kevin McGhee, Wei-Jun Liang, M. David Osselton (ApSci)

Alternative name suggestion: Genomics and Ageing (as a variant or sub-theme perhaps?)

Brief theme summary:  Demographically, the town of Bournemouth is enriched with an older, predominantly Caucasian population. Studies already proposed within this blog forum suggest that data of a phenotypic nature is available within the BU community. By introducing genomics as a tool to enhance the understanding of several themes: Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, Culture and Society and Environmental Change and Biodiversity we believe that expertise within the Forensic and Biological Sciences group (ApSci) can create new opportunities for research.

We propose to collect DNA from the Bournemouth geographical area and match this with existing phenotypic data to create a rich knowledge databank that we can share with existing and future genomic collaborative initiatives, leading to high impact papers.

Scope of theme: what is included? Gene x environment interaction; population genetics; psychological genetics; cognitive genetics; cancer genetics; cardiovascular genetics; genetics of ageing; biological ageing; toxicogenomics, functional genomics; cellular ageing; Alzheimer’s; dementia.

Scope of theme: what is excluded? Not entirely sure – open for discussion.

Which big societal questions are addressed by this theme?

Societal question: What is my risk of developing an illness e.g. Cardiovascular disease*?  It is known that fatty streaks can appear on the major arteries of children as young as one year old. Through environmental influences such as diet, nutrition, exercise and co-morbidity, the risk of an individual child developing atherosclerosis in later adult life can change in response to a number of lifestyle factors. However, at a cellular level individual variation in genes involved in atherosclerosis pathogenesis influence how one’s lifestyle factors modify that risk (and vice versa). By combining data from health science, social science and psychology with biological data such as DNA, a greater understanding of the profound interaction between genes and environment can be achieved (*This can be substituted for any disease of your choice).

Can you pose these questions?  If the phenotypic data is already available (i.e. social, health status, psychological study) then yes we can. In collaboration with HSC, DEC and others we would have to obtain DNA from individuals from the Bournemouth area and then link the genomic data with the phenotypic data. This will require enormous computing power and experts in e.g. the statistical package ‘R’ as well as genomics expertise from ApSci

How do these link to the priorities of the major funding bodies?

Of the seven research councils forming RCUK, two have current themes on genomics and ageing (BBSRC and MRC) and one further council’s (ESRC) theme investigating social science and culture and science.  The MRC has recently closed the Phase III call with Phase I seeing the creation of three fully funded centres: Edinburgh, Newcastle and UCL.  The Edinburgh centre already has a paper in press (Molecular Psychaitry) combing a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) with a vast array of phenotypic data, of which McGhee is a co-author (Davis et al, 2011).   By combining data on the local population already available within eg HSC, with the proposed collection of DNA from Bournemouth and surrounding areas, it allows BU to enter  collaborations on an international scale addressing the ‘big questions’ posed by the thress councils above.

Furthermore the Wellcome Trust’s strategic plan 2010-2020 has five main themes:

  • Maximising the health benefits of genetics and genomics
  • Understanding the brain
  • Combating infectious disease
  • Investigating development, ageing and chronic disease
  • Connecting environment, nutrition and health

Under the proposed BU theme of ageing, at least four out of the five Wellcome themes above can contribute to some aspect of ageing whilst facilitating multi-disciplinary research between schools and indeed, other institutions. By creating a repository of genomic and phenotypic information, it allows BU to enter collaborations with research intensive universities, increasing our prospects for high impact papers.

Reference:  Gail Davies, Albert Tenesa, Antony Payton, Jian Yang, Sarah E. Harris, David Liewald, Xiayi Ke, Stephanie Le Hellard , Andrea Christoforou, Michelle Luciano, Kevin McGhee, Lorna Lopez, Alan J. Gow, Janie Corley, Paul Redmond, Helen C. Fox, Paul Haggarty, Lawrence J. Whalley, Geraldine McNeill, Michael E. Goddard, Thomas Espeseth, Astri J. Lundervold, Ivar Reinvang, Andrew Pickles, Vidar M. Steen, William Ollier , David J. Porteous, Michael Horan, John M. Starr, Neil Pendleton, Peter M. Visscher, Ian J. Deary. 2011. Genome-wide association studies establish that human intelligence is highly heritable and polygenic. Molecular Psychiatry (in press)

How does this theme interlink with the other BU themes currently under consideration?

Ageing links with the BU themes: Health and Wellbeing, Culture and Society and even Environmental Change and Biodiversity, opening up further avenues for funding. It takes little imagination to identify ageing with health and wellbeing but with culture and society this may require some more imagination. For example, by comparing different populations e.g. China and UK and looking at both their environmental and social structure we can then infer how these variables combined with genomics have an impact on health and wellbeing as well as healthy ageing.

By stretching our imagination even further, it is possible to link Environmental Change and Biodiversity with Ageing. For example, one could take the view that as an individual grows older the environment, in which they live both locally and globally, is constantly under change. Sustainable fish stocks as a topical example has an effect both environmentally within the world’s oceans but also affects humans as a source of food and nutrients. It would be interesting to research how the ageing process and cognitive outcome of a five year old child now will be in 60 years’ time when compared to a 65 year old individual now and the foodstuffs available to them as a five year old child in 1951. Environmental, Biochemical, Genetic and Toxicological studies can all contribute to this theme.

This is obviously only one example of how several research themes can join together and we welcome discussion from colleagues on the suggestions we have raised.

Linking Tourism and Health Initiatives

Dr Heather Hartwell considers the link between tourism and health initiatives…

Some timely news and evidence for a potential strength within our University, we have just been featured in the Big Ideas for the Future, a new report from Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Universities UK that explores the excellent research taking place in UK higher education at the moment and what it will mean for us in 20 years time.

Interestingly we were featured in the chapter ‘recreation and leisure’ where we shared some current research linking tourism and public health. The focus of our interest is about co-locating tourism and public health strategy as a means of developing an inclusive culture where the “tourist” destination is seen to enhance and promote the advancement of both physical and mental health for both tourist and local residents.

Therefore, a research stream of ‘recreation and leisure’ building on our School of Tourism reputation seems to me to be a theme that could have future significance for us, particularly when aligned to our strength in health and wellbeing.

European Food Safety Authority – Call for Proposals

The European Food Safety Authority invites proposals on gathering consumption data on specific consumer groups of energy drinks. The project should collect data on the consumption of energy drinks and specific ingredients, including caffeine and glucuronolactone, in relation to member state consumers aged three to 10 years, 10 to 18 years and 18 to 65 years. The budget for this call is €100,000 over 12 months; see the website for more info.

Excellent BU Research Highlighted in New Report

Universities Week What's the Big Idea? 13-19 June 2011

Big Ideas for the Future

Thursday’s theme is Big Ideas for the Future and a research project being undertaken by Prof Alan Fyall and Dr Heather Hartwell has been highlighted in a new report out today.  The report produced by Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Universities UK (UUK) called Big Ideas for the Future looks at 100 ground breaking pieces of research from all fields, including science, social sciences, engineering, and the arts and the humanities, that is taking place in UK higher education at the moment and what it will mean for us in 20 years time.  The report is narrated and backed by high-profile celebrity academics such as Professor Lord Robert Winston, Dr Alice Roberts and Professor Iain Stewart.

The BU research team are exploring the relationship of co-locating a tourism and public health strategy, in particular examining the positioning of seaside towns in Southern England.  The Big Ideas for the Future Submission prepared by the team and containing more information on the research is available by clicking the link.

EU health related news

Health: Survey Finds European Citizens Support European Work on Rare Diseases
This Spring, on the 4th World Rare Diseases Day, a Eurobarometer survey was published showing wide support for action on rare diseases at EU level.

FP7 Health: Registration Now Open for Information Day
Registration has been opened for the Open Information Day and Partnering Event which the European Commission is organising on the 2012 Work Programme for the Health Theme in FP7. The Information Day will take place on 9 June and is aimed at researchers interested in applying to the 2012 Work Programme. It will consist of plenary sessions and several parallel sessions on participation issues, such as a targeted session on international co-operation and one on clinical trials.

Health and ICT Policy: E-Health Action Plan Consultation
The European Commission has opened a public consultation on the eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020.
The proposed eHealth Action Plan is due to run in parallel to the Digital Agenda for Europe and the Innovation Union flagship initiatives under the Europe 2020 strategy. It will also support the objectives of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing.

Not yet signed up for UKRO alerts? See our former blog-post on how to do this

2 health related funding opportunities

Nuffield Foundation – Research and Innovation Grants
The Nuffield Foundation is inviting applications through its Research and Innovation Grants programme. Grants normally range between £5,000 and £150,000.  Deadline: 08.07.11

SUBWAY Heart Research UK Healthy Heart Grants
HRUK is inviting applications for up to £10,000 to support projects that strongly promote heart health, not just healthy lifestyles.