On November 1, 2021, the EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) initiative launched a call for expert working groups on the impact of Covid-19 on neurodegenerative disease research.

Neurodegenerative diseases are debilitating and largely untreatable conditions that are strongly linked with age. Globally, there are estimated to be 50 million people with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, the most common group of neurodegenerative diseases. This figure is expected to double every 20 years as the population ages. The total direct and informal care costs of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and related disorders are expected to surpass €350 billion per year across the European Union. Existing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases are limited in effect and mainly address the symptoms rather than the cause or the progressive course. With this in mind, the EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) has been established to better coordinate research efforts across countries and disciplines to more rapidly find causes, develop cures and identify better ways to care for people with neurodegenerative diseases. To identify research priorities, the JPND Research and Innovation Strategy, published in 2019, provides a framework for future investment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on almost all aspects of our life and will most likely result in major long-lasting changes in the future. These changes include how research on neurodegenerative disease is conducted during and after the pandemic. Patients with neurodegenerative disease are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 infections and the measures of social distancing and quarantine. It is unknown how COVID-19 infections and its long-term effects might influence the later development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. On the other hand, the COVID19 pandemic may offer a unique opportunity to better understand important aspects of neurodegenerative diseases and accelerate innovations that can be beneficial for research and the care of patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

The aim of this call is to establish a number of ambitious, innovative, multi-disciplinary and multinational expert Working Groups to discuss research strategies that concern the impact of COVID-19 on the development and progression of neurodegenerative disease as well as on the care of patients with neurodegenerative diseases. These strategies can also consider the impact of COVID-19 on neurodegenerative disease research itself, how it is conducted and how it influenced technological innovations for neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, they can explore methods and sources of data to enable or improve the surveillance of the impacts of COVID-19 as they relate to the development or progression of neurodegenerative diseases.

Working Groups must focus on one or several of the following neurodegenerative diseases:
• Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
• Parkinson’s disease and PD-related disorders
• Prion diseases
• Motor neuron diseases
• Huntington’s disease
• Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA)
• Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)

Funding Organisations
The funding organisations participating in this call that have agreed to provide financial support for Working Groups are listed below: 

• Belgium, The Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO)
• Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
• France, French National Research Agency (ANR)
• Germany, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
• Italy, Ministry of Health (IT-MOH)
• Luxembourg, National Research Fund (FNR)
• Norway, The Research Council of Norway (RCN)
• The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw)
• Sweden, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE)
• Medical Research Council (MRC), part of UK Research and Innovation

Proposals must be submitted no later than December 14, 2021, 12:00h C.E.T., via the electronic submission tool.

Where can I get more information about this call? Links to the relevant documents and resources can be found below:

Call text* – download all specific information about the call. [PDF]

Call procedures – description of the evaluation procedure and decision-making process applied for this call. [PDF]

Proposal template – mandatory for creating proposals. No other formats are accepted.

Proposal Submission Tool – mandatory for submitting proposals. No other routes are accepted.

* Updated 2 Nov 2021

For further information, please visit us on the web: http://www.jpnd.eu/

or contact the JPND Joint Call Secretariat at: (+49) 228 3821 2111 or [email protected]