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Feature Archive

PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme sets out to substantially change the European landscape for novel and emerging medical radionuclides

Nuclear therapy and molecular imaging are widely used at hospitals for new promising medical procedures. They can drastically improve the outcome for many medical conditions, and enables treating disseminated cancer in particular. However, its effective development has long been limited by the difficult access to radionuclides not yet commercially available. With PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme, this is about to change.

In nuclear medicine, a radioactive substance is introduced into a patient and finds its way to specific biological targets in the body. Depending on the radioactive properties of the radioisotope, it may emit radiation that can be detected with external detectors to visualise the distribution of the isotopes (SPECT, PET imaging); alternatively, it may emit charged particles like α or β- particles which deposit their energy locally (within μm to a few mm, namely from the size of a cell to the size of a metastasis), thereby only destroying cells located nearby, e.g. to treat a cancer with targeted radionuclide therapy (TRNT). Out of the more than 3,000 different radioisotopes that scientists have synthesised in the laboratory, only a handful are regularly used for medical procedures, mostly for imaging, though the interest in TRNT has been growing in the last few years as illustrated with the marketing of Lutathera® to treat advanced prostate cancer. One of the main limits to the development of novel radio-medicinal products is the access to radionuclides during the development and early biomedical research phases. Within PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme, we aim at enabling this development phase by providing access to novel radioisotopes of high purity grade for medical research.

Production of radioisotopes

The radioactive elements that are used in nuclear medicine are not available naturally and must be synthesised in the laboratory. There are two main paths: neutron irradiation in a nuclear research reactor or proton or alpha irradiation with a particle accelerator. The size and energy of the particle accelerator determines which radioisotope can be produced: small, compact machines are found in many hospitals, providing access to the radioisotopes used today. However, higher-energy machines are needed to produce novel radioisotopes currently not available.

Purification of radioisotopes

When producing those novel radioisotopes, new challenges appear: the co-production of unwanted radioactivity which affects the quality of the medicinal product, may induce adverse effects to a patient, and can cause serious difficulties to waste management in a hospital environment. As such, novel purification techniques are required. Within PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme, we shall develop techniques based on physical mass separation and radiochemistry to achieve high purity radioisotope production that is appropriate for medicinal products.

Access and translational research

In order to support the ongoing research across Europe and beyond, immediate access to novel radioisotopes will be provided by PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme. A single-access platform will be established via the PRISMAP website where the production and support capabilities will be presented.

A network of world-leading, European facilities, including nuclear reactors, medium- and high-energy accelerators, and radiochemical laboratories, has been established to offer the broadest catalogue of radioisotopes for medical research. Mass separation is available at the CERN MEDICIS facility to provide the physical separation of isotopes of an element. This is completed by a network of biomedical research facilities who may host external researchers to perform their research close to the production facility when the isotopes are not suitable for long transport to their institution, or when the European licensing for novel radioisotopes has not yet been obtained.

Access to radioisotopes and associated facilities will be granted on an excellence selection basis, by applying for access to radioisotopes and, if necessary, to the complementary biomedical facilities, via the the online access platform. A selection panel consisting of experts in the fields of radioisotope production, molecular imaging and radionuclide therapy will select the best projects from the applicants. The first call for proposals will be launched before the end of 2021 for applications in the first quarter of 2022. It will be open to any interested party.

Looking towards the future

In the fast-evolving landscape around nuclear medicine, PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme is also turned towards the future. The European Commission has expressed its commitment to tackle societal impact on cancer through the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and in particular the SAMIRA Action Plan unveiled earlier this year, including the establishment of a European Radioisotope Valley Initiative. Through the PRISMAP consortium of 23 academic and research institutions across Europe, development towards the upscaling of the production of these novel radioisotopes will be investigated, in the form of novel production technology, new purification methods, and proof-of-concept investigations showing the development of new treatments from test bench to patient care, directly feeding this European-wide plan.

As a consortium serving a starting researcher’s community, we are looking to become a more established community and to welcome new facilities to enlarge our capabilities. Novel facilities are on the horizon, such as the Jules Horowitz Reactor in CEA Cadarache (France), the ISOL@MYRRHA mass separator facility at SCK CEN (Belgium), the new SPES accelerator complex in the INFN’s Legnaro National Laboratories (Italy), the European Spallation Source in Lund (Sweden), and finally both the new SPIRAL2 facility at GANIL (France) that has recently accelerated its first beams and the FAIR facility in GSI (Germany) which construction is progressing. Those new facilities will directly benefit from the findings within PRISMAP towards increasing the production capacity across Europe.

New data will be generated and compiled towards the immediate and smooth adoption of the novel radioisotopes in medical environments though collaboration between research hospitals and metrology institutes (e.g. the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, UK). All the new findings will be used towards creating new teaching material for professionals in the various fields of this multi-disciplinary domain, as well as for training the next generation of professionals and advising the European Commission on these emerging radioisotopes.

Nuclear medicine research is a truly multidisciplinary approach, and to move forward, we need to build bridges between physicists, engineers, radiochemists, inorganic chemists, structural biologists, clinicians, medical physicists, dosimetrists, pharmacologists, and oncologists. PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme, will certainly support the implementation of a multidisciplinary working concept in practice.

For more info on PRISMAP, please visit the PRISMAP website at https://www.prismap.eu.

PRISMAP has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101008571 (PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme).

Breaking News

European Innovation Council Information Event - Work Programme 2023

The European Innovation Council (EIC) Work Programme 2023 will be presented during a full-day online event on 13 December 2022.

During the info day, dedicated to researchers and innovators with a novel technological development in mind, the experts will present the novelties of the EIC Work Programme 2023 and provide an overview about the three main funding schemes:

  1. EIC Pathfinder: for advanced research on breakthrough or game-changing technologies;
  2. EIC Transition: for transforming research results into innovation opportunities;
  3. EIC Accelerator: for individual companies to develop and scale up breakthrough innovations with high risk and high impact.

Of note, while Swiss-based entities are not eligible for the EIC Accelerator at the moment, Swiss-based researchers and entities can participate in the two first schemes and, if successful, will be funded by the Swiss Government.

More info, incl. the link to follow the event web-streamed live, is available here.

Sources: EIC, Euresearch

IHI Call Days - Registration Open

The Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) will launch call 3 (single-stage call with five topics) and call 4 (two-stage with two call topics) in December 2022 and January 2023, respectively.

Registration is open for the IHI Call Days on call 3 (12-15 December 2022) and call 4 (18-19 January 2023). The Call Days include info sessions on the topics and IHI rules and procedures.

Most importantly it is possible to apply to the pitching sessions, allowing potential applicants to showcase how their consortia would address the requirements of the topic and explain what expertise they are looking for to complete their consortia. A brokerage platform will also be available for matchmaking sessions in order to identify and meet potential project partners.

Registration to these online call days is free but mandatory. The registration link, detailed programme, call draft topics and even more are available here for call 3 and at this link for call 4.

Sources: IHI, Euresearch

Horizon Europe Clusters 4 and 5 - Info Days and Broker­age Events

The European Commission will open Information Days events on the upcoming 2023/24 calls in Cluster 4 ("Digital, Industry & Space") and Cluster 5 ("Climate, Energy & Mobility").

During these online information events which will be held in the week of 12-16 December 2022, detailed explanations on concrete calls, sessions on a range of topics relevant for applicants, as well as brokerage sessions for finding project partners will be offered.

With few exceptions, organisations based in Switzerland are fully eligible to participate as associated partners in these calls and get costs reimbursed through the Federal Administration.

Sources: EC, Euresearch

Transforming Research Results Into Innovation: Experience Sharing on ERC and EIC

Horizon Europe offers novel or adapted funding instruments to support the translation of research results into new products or services. An online event will put these schemes (ERC Proof of Concept, EIC Pathfinder and Transition Instrument) into the spotlight and discuss insights by applicants, implementing agencies and evaluators. Speakers from the Executive Agencies (ERCEA and EISMEA) will provide a general overview on these programmes. The core of the event will be a discussion with EIC Transition and Pathfinder beneficiaries, sharing also insights from the evaluator's perspective.

This online event, jointly organised by Euresearch (for participants based in Switzerland), KoWi (for participants based in Germany) and FFG (for participants based in Austria), will be held on 30 November 2022.

Participation is free, but registration required using this link.

Sources: FFG, Euresearch

Horizon Europe Cluster 6 - Info Days and Broker­age Event

The European Research Executive Agency will organise Info Days (13-14 December 2022, online) and a Brokerage Event (19 December 2022, online) specific to the Cluster 6 in Horizon Europe “Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment”.

At the Info Days, learn more about the 2023 calls in Cluster 6 and how to prepare a proposal. For partnering opportunities and to present project ideas, attend the Brokerage event.

Save the dates and stay tuned to the REA website: registration and programme will be available soon!

Sources: REA, Euresearch

EIC Sum­mit 2022 - Registration Now Open

The European Innovation Council (EIC) Summit is a key European deep-tech innovation event, bringing together start-ups, researchers, investors, policy makers and corporates. It is an excellent opportunity to interact with European-wide innovation players active in particular in the EIC Pathfinder and EIC Transition programmes.

EIC is organising the second Summit edition which will take place on 7-8 December 2022 in Brussels. The first day of the Summit, which will be web-streamed and open to a broader public, will feature inspiring keynotes, major announcements and award the prestigious EIC Prizes. On the second day, fully dedicated to the EIC beneficiaries, various practical workshops on finance, intellectual property rights (IPR), and deep-tech technology will be organised.

The registration link, draft programme and more info are available on the EIC website.

Sources: EIC, Euresearch

New Call by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to Boost Innovation in Higher Education

A Third Call for Proposals was launched on 8 November 2022 by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) for the HEI Initiative which aims to reinforce the competitiveness of Europe by strengthening the innovation and entrepreneurial capacity of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and empowering them to become key actors in innovation ecosystems.

This new call will mobilise EUR 12 million of EIT funding for HEIs and their partners, with a special focus on training tech talents in higher education, aligned with the EIT’s new flagship programme: Deep Tech Talent Initiative, set to skill one million European talents by 2025.

Deadline for submitting applications to HEI Call 3 is on 28 February 2023.

The HEI Initiative is also organising a call information session to present the call for proposals in more details and answer applicants’ questions. The info session will be held on 17 November 2022: registration is mandatory using this link.

Sources: EIT, HEI Initiative, Euresearch

Info session on Horizon Results Booster – steering research towards a strong societal impact

Supported by the European Commission (EC), Horizon Results Booster services are delivered to the Framework Programme FP7, Horizon H2020, and Horizon Europe projects at no cost. The free-of-charge services are provided by experts and cover several paths in Dissemination and Exploitation activities, notably Portfolio Dissemination and Exploitation, Business Plan Development, and Go to Market service.

The EC will organise an info session on 17 November 2022, between 10:00-12:30 CET, targeting grant coordinators, project participants and other stakeholders active in European fundings. This webinar will cover information about the services and include testimonials from those who have already benefited from Horizon Results Booster.

The programme is available on the event website.

Sources: EC, Euresearch

IHI Call Info Days with Matchmaking and Pitching Opportunities

The Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) will launch call 3 (single-stage) and call 4 (two stage) in December 2022 and January 2023, respectively.

IHI offers info days on call 3 from 12-15 December 2022 and call 4 from 18-19 January 2023. The aim of the IHI call days is to provide potential applicants with the information they need to put together a strong proposal. Further the opportunity to identify and meet partners for their consortia is offered. For each of the upcoming topics in calls 3 and 4 a webinar is provided, followed by opportunities for matchmaking and pitching of research ideas to the topic.

Registration to these online call days is free but mandatory. The registration link and additional information are available here.

Sources: IHI, Euresearch

Pre-publication of New Calls by Innovative Health Initiative

The Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) has just published draft information on future calls for proposals ahead of publication as follows:

  • IHI call 3 (single stage call) with five call topics which will be launched in December 2022
  • IHI call 4 (two stage call) with two topics published in January 2023.

IHI is publishing the draft topic texts in advance of the official call launch to give potential applicants additional time to start building a consortium and drafting a strong proposal. All information regarding future IHI call topics is indicative and subject to change.

The IHI Programme Office is planning webinars, brokerage events and pitching opportunities around the time of the call launches to help applicants understand the topics, learn about IHI’s rules and procedures, and network with potential project partners.

Check out the draft topics for IHI calls 3 and 4 directly on the IHI website.

Sources: IHI, Euresearch

Bi­en­ni­al Mon­it­or­ing Re­port on EU Part­ner­ships

The European Commission has published the first Horizon Europe report on the performance of the European Partnerships. It is a first attempt to monitor their contribution to European policy objectives and to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

The Biennial Monitoring Report aims to provide a strong and continuously evolving evidence base to guide the implementation of European Partnerships throughout their life cycles and to inform strategic discussions on Horizon Europe’s new policy approach to them.

European Partnerships are a key instrument for the implementation of Horizon Europe and the European Research Area. They allow the EU to team up with public and private partners to help speed up new solutions for the green and digital transitions and to strengthen Europe’s resilience.

The full report is available for download here.

Sources: EC, Euresearch

Horizon Europe Funding for Health Researchers and Innovators in Switzerland

The Euresearch Offices UNIL/CHUV, EPFL, HESSO and the Euresearch Network Office will jointly organise an event to inform about funding opportunities in the areas of Health, Biomedical sciences and Medtech in Horizon Europe.

This online event will be held on 03 November 2022, between 12:15 – 13:50 CET.

During this info session, the expected calls and their non-dilutive funding for the Swiss Medtech and Healthcare sector in 2023 will be covered, followed by testimonials from the public and private sector sharing their experience and advising on how to benefit from Horizon Europe funding.

Programme and registration link are available here.

Source: Euresearch

MSCA Staff Exchanges Call Now Open and Info Event

The 2022 call for proposals for the Marie Sklodowska-Curie (MSCA) Staff Exchanges (SE) is now open with a deadline on 8 March 2023.

MSCA-SE promotes innovative international, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration in research and innovation through exchanging staff and sharing knowledge and ideas at all stages of the innovation chain. It is open to research, technical, administrative and managerial staff supporting R&I activities.

Check out the call details and documents directly on the Funding and Tenders Portal.

Euresearch will hold an information event on 25 October 2022, online between 12:00 - 13:15 CET. In addition to the specifics of the 2022 MSCA-SE call, eligibility criteria and the proposal, Euresearch will explain how institutions based in Switzerland can participate, with a special focus on participation of companies.

Sources: MSCA, Euresearch

EIC Sum­mit 2022

The European Innovation Council (EIC) Summit brings together deep-tech start-ups, researchers, investors, policymakers and corporate players to network and exchange on innovation challenges, practical tips and tricks, and other challenges related to innovation in Europe.

This second edition of the EIC Summit will be held in Brussels on 07-08 December 2022.

Save the date and stay tuned to the EIC website: registration for live participation is coming very soon!

Sources: EIC, Euresearch

HEI Ini­ti­at­ive: Third Call just Launched

The Higher Education Initiative (HEI) "Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education" is a joint European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Community activity. The initiative aims to support higher education institutions with expertise and coaching, access to the EIT innovation ecosystem, and funding. After two successful HEI calls during 2022, the third call was launched on 15 September 2022, with a tentative deadline set on 15 November 2022.

Participation from Switzerland is possible.

Find out more on the HEI website!

Sources: EIT HEI, Euresearch

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