The European Science Foundation (ESF) is inviting applications for its Fight Kids Cancer (FKC) to address the lack of research dedicated to paediatric cancers by sustainably providing support to the best European research through annual competitive calls for projects.
Fully aware of the need to reach a critical mass to be attractive and generate impact, these organizations are committing a significant part of their resources to reach a funding envelop of up to 4 million euros for the 2022-2023 call. This envelope will be used to support the best early phase clinical trial projects and translational research projects aimed at accelerating therapeutic innovation for children and adolescents with cancer.
The core drivers underpinning the FKC programme are the following:
- The FKC call originates from parents’ and patients’ non-government organisations (NGOs) that are keen to steer research towards areas that will effectively benefit young patients by focusing on:
- Improving their survival rate
- Improving their quality of life during and after the treatments
- Improving the knowledge on cancer causes and treatment resistance
- In this context, each project supported by the programme is expected to demonstrate a strong potential for impact for childhood cancer patients.
- The FKC programme and call aim at promoting trans-European collaborations. FKC provides an efficient ‘one stop shop’ for funding that allows to:
- Accelerate: research teams can start working faster without waiting for the fragmented funding approval from several national funding organisations;
- Streamline: the administrative workload for research teams will be simplified due to a single application and follow-up process;
- The stability of the FKC programme over the years and the recurring nature of its annual calls will nurture greater productivity in the paediatric oncology scientific community.
The Fight Kids Cancer programme (hereafter “FKC”) aims to catalyse and support pan-European innovative and relevant research initiatives in paediatric cancer to develop innovative research that improve the outcome for all children and adolescents with cancer. This call will cover the following non-exclusive objectives:
- To realise real impact on young patients: Improve their survival rate and reduce toxicity to restore young patients to full health after treatment
- To advance cutting-edge science to further the knowledge of paediatric malignancies.
- To support improved interdisciplinary knowledge, methods and collaborations for tackling the issues of today.
- To strengthen collaboration and the development of scientific capacity across Europe.
The FKC call for projects aims towards overcoming the structural lack of research dedicated to paediatric cancers by ensuring a recurring endowment that will be granted to the best European research projects every year. An additional ambition is to foster closer working ties between basic researchers and clinicians.
Types of Projects
Projects are expected to propose research on either Early Phase Clinical Trials or Translational Research. Applicants to both categories are encouraged to address innovative interventions or approaches towards novel treatment (such as innovative therapies including immune-oncology, platform trials, artificial intelligence, imaging, radiotherapy, surgical approaches).
The two types of projects are:
- Early Phase Clinical Trials to evaluate innovative therapies for children and adolescents with cancer. The key elements of the proposals are:
- (Demonstrated) availability of investigational drug(s)
- Designs of early phase clinical trials that rapidly and efficiently assess the innovative agents
- Enrollment of patients must begin not later than 12 months from the start of funding
- Trial to be conducted and financed in at least 2 European countries
- Study of the impact on the quality of life of the studied treatment regimen is strongly encouraged
- Immune oncology approaches are welcome
- Platform trials are welcome
- Co-funding of early phase clinical trial projects is possible, however precise details, justification and timeline must be provided
- Translational research projects addressing childhood and adolescent cancers. Proposals are encouraged on:
- Projects identifying novel targets or mechanisms of action
- Projects that may result in innovative new therapies or better models of disease
- Projects that are ancillary to ongoing/completed clinical trial
- Projects that leverage and advance pediatric tumor models
- Multi-disciplinary or multi-institution collaborations are strongly encouraged
- A clear pathway to a clinical trial should be included
High-risk / high return proposals will be considered. The Funders will favor projects that give access to the pediatric population to novel technologies.
For this call, up to 4 million euros will be awarded with the following funding limits:
- 1.5 million euros for early phase clinical trials projects.
- 500,000 euros for translational research projects.
- Funding is aimed at supporting new research projects across Europe. The lead institution must be from the list of eligible countries, with preference given to institutions with a strong track record in pediatric cancer research. Other project partners are encouraged and can be from related fields of expertise, providing they operate as not-for-profit. See Guidance for Applicants for details.
- Eligible countries included are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway , Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
- For the purposes of this call a legal entity must be established in a country named as eligible in the list above. A legal entity will be eligible to receive funding if they are defined as a non-profit company or organization that has legal rights and obligations. This includes institutions of higher learning, research centers, and non-profit organizations. It is anticipated that any legal entity taking part is under the direct or indirect control of a participant or under the same direct or indirect control of the participant.
- Though described as a legal entity, an exclusion is extended to private for-profit organizations seeking to benefit financially from this funding source. Such organizations are not eligible to receive funding, however participation is not precluded if contributions are provided in kind.
- ‘non-profit legal entity’ means a legal entity which by its legal form is non-profit-making or which has a legal or statutory obligation not to distribute profits to its shareholders or individual member.
- Commitment from the applicant (if selected) that it will collaborate with the funding organizations to assist them in the dissemination of the project’s ambition, awareness raising on pediatric cancers and fundraising activities of the funders (for example provision of written quotes, videos explaining project goals , and when possible attendance of the annual fundraising Race events held during the last weekend of September).
- Specific eligibility criteria for early phase clinical trials
- Documentation for provision of investigational drug(s) must be provided (can be named in the Expression of Interest, but a support letter is required for the Full Proposal).
- Demonstration that the trial is conducted in at least two European countries that will benefit from FKC funding.
- The investigating organizations are clearly identified.
For more information, visit https://www.esf.org/funding-programmes/fight-kids-cancer-2022-2023-call-for-proposals/