Call for proposals – Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership on Ageing – BIRAX Ageing

The new call for research proposals has been issued within the framework of the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership on Ageing – BIRAX Ageing. https://www.britishcouncil.org.il/en/Birax-Ageing-launch

The Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership (BIRAX) is a £multi-million initiative of the British Council, the Pears Foundation and the British Embassy in Israel investing in world-leading research jointly undertaken by scientists in Britain and Israel, and it is supported by both the Israeli and British Ministries of Science. Now, for the first time, it was decided to focus BIRAX on aging research! 

This is arguably one of the first times in the world that a government-sponsored call for proposals is entirely “Geroscience-oriented” – that is to say, it presupposes that the aging process is the underlying cause of age-related diseases, and seeks diagnostics and therapeutic interventions into the aging process as the effective way to prevent or mitigate multiple aging-related diseases and extend healthy life. It can thus be presently stated that the goals of Geroscience are explicitly supported by the UK and Israeli governments – a groundbreaking development in international science policy!

The call is also groundbreaking in the model of international cooperation for aging research that it advances – a bi-national fund issuing a competitive call for proposals specifically focused on Geroscience. This model can be implemented between any two countries, as well as with multinational frameworks. Such a model promotes cooperation, cross-fertilization and synergy, while at the same time encouraging excellence and competition in the field. Hopefully, more bi-national and international frameworks of this kind will be established in the future!

Below are some excerpts from the call for proposals. The text is in English to inform both Israeli researchers as well as their potential partners in the UK and elsewhere (researchers from other countries can also participate in the joint proposals, though the funding will be allocated to the partners from the UK and Israel).

Good luck to all the applicants and hoping for more international initiatives of this kind! Please consider passing the word to researchers who may benefit from it. 

Ilia Stambler, PhD. Israeli Longevity Alliance/Vetek (Seniority) Association – the Senior Citizens Movement (Israel) http://www.longevityisrael.org/

Here is the call announcement in English

https://www.britishcouncil.org.il/en/Birax-Ageing-launch

And in Hebrew

https://www.britishcouncil.org.il/birax-ageing-heb

The call for proposals

https://www.britishcouncil.org.il/sites/default/files/birax_ageing_call_for_proposals.pdf

Application guidelines

https://www.britishcouncil.org.il/sites/default/files/preliminary_proposal_-_guidelines_for_applicants.pdf

FAQ

https://il.live.solas.britishcouncil.digital/sites/default/files/frequently_asked_questions.pdf

And here are also some excerpts from the call for proposals, guidance notes for applicants, and frequently asked questions:

“Grants of a value up to £400,000 over three years are available for research teams to implement joint research. Please note that the amount of the awarded grant to individual projects will pend on the availability of funds.”

The deadline for preliminary proposals is 15 October 2018, 22:00 GMT.

“We can allow Israeli and UK co-PIs but all funding will be handled by either the Israeli or UK PI. … Non Israeli and non UK co-PI’s are very welcome, but cannot receive funding from BIRAX (Funds must be in place).”

“Call for Proposals

BIRAX Ageing will fund ground breaking projects that will focus on diverse aspects of ageing-related health. Proposals must address at least one of the themes listed below.

We will only fund joint collaborations between Principal Investigators resident and working in the UK and Israel. Proposals involving a lab from a third country are allowed, however BIRAX funding will only support the activities taken in Israel and the UK.

Funding Criteria

  • The primary consideration in ranking the proposals will be scientific excellence, novelty, focus on understanding disease mechanisms and use of advanced research strategies;
  • Clear and direct relevance to the ageing process and age-related disease;
  • Proposals for interventions in the ageing process in order to prevent or mitigate age-related disease;
  • Proposals for diagnostic approaches (e.g. use of relevant biomarkers) for predicting the ageing trajectory or overall pathogenesis of disease;
  • Use of cutting-edge technologies taking into account ageing-driven phenomena.

Research focus

  1. Standard research projects: the effect of ageing on human health

We invite proposals addressing diverse effects of ageing on human health, exploring the basic mechanisms underlying ageing-related disease. The research proposals can address these issues using a broad range of biological organisationsal levels and scales, from molecular to cellular, tissues to organs and the entire organism and its environment. Multidisciplinary research plans based on synergising collaborations between the partnering researchers are recommended. 

  1. Precision Medicine and big data in ageing research

We are also interested in proposals researching the use of big data and precision medicine in relation to ageing. In particular, we are interested in precision diagnostics and personalized effects of treatments specifically for older subjects, preventive measures and predictive analytics for older populations. Research proposals that contain a central “omics” component (e.g. genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics) are encouraged.

Specific research priorities 

  1. The effect of ageing on human health: preventive, disease modifying and regenerative medicine approaches to medical conditions and the ageing process.

We invite studies that explore the relation of the ageing process either with individual or multiple diseases and medical conditions.

Proposals under this category must be relevant to at least one of the priorities below:

  1. CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
  1. DIABETES
  1. NEURODEGENERATIVE CONDITIONS
  1. ARTHRITIS AND OTHER MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS
  1. AGE-RELATED FRAILTY AND OTHER GERIATRIC SYNDROMES: We invite research toward enhanced diagnostic evaluation and therapy of old-age frailty, and other geriatric syndromes, including both specific geriatric syndromes, such as functional decline, pressure ulcers, incontinence, delirium and falls, as well as general systemic geriatric syndromes, such as metabolic syndrome, immune deficiency, sarcopenia, maladaptation, respiratory syndrome and others. We invite studies exploring the specifics of diagnosis and therapy for older people, rather than non-specific “age-less” populations, with reference to specific medication dosages, regimens, drug interactions, long term effects and systemic dysregulation in people later in life. Research can be done on all levels, from the molecular and cellular to the systemic and include both pre-clinical and clinical effects, but must show specific relevance for the ageing process and older people.
  2. AGE-RELATED MULTIMORIBIDITY: We invite research toward diagnosis and treatment of multimoribidities, as prevalent in older people. We seek new approaches toward early diagnosis and prediction of old-age multimorbidity and evaluation of the ageing process as a determinant for multimorbidity — utilizing diverse physiological, functional, genetic, epigenetic and other biomarkers and advanced methods of bioinformatics analysis and data-mining. We invite research on new biomedical approaches for the prevention and alleviation of old-age multimorbidity, with focus on pharmacological and regenerative medicine approaches. Of special interest is the development of evidence-based methods and criteria for the evaluation of the efficacy and safety of treatments against old-age multimorbidity.
  1. Ageing and Technology: Precision medicine and big data in ageing research

Proposals under this theme will aim to identify innovative biomarkers, algorithms, computational and measurement techniques and to promote advances in precision medicine that would allow the prevention or mitigation of age related conditions or harmful effects associated with ageing. Proposals that build on effective collaboration between basic and clinical research and big data and those facilitating the translation of basic research to clinical practice will be prioritised.

Proposals may include (but are not limited to):

  • Collaborative research programmes to develop new holistic approaches to data science using medical data that drive advances in underpinning data science to answer challenges related to ageing.
  • Research that builds on effective collaboration between basic and clinical research and big data, as well as research that facilitates translation from basic studies to clinical applications.
  • Proposals that identify biomarkers and algorithms for early pre-clinical diagnosis and prediction of morbid age-related conditions (both individual and multiple).
  • Proposals that integrate diverse types of biological and medical data, from different levels of biological organization, including multi-omics and functional data, with reference to the ageing process.
  • Proposals that facilitate interoperability, utility and sharing of ageing-related data.”