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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 28 | 30. Mai 2016
Priority Programme “Towards an Implantable Lung” (SPP 2014)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established a new Priority Programme entitled “Towards an Implantable Lung” (SPP 2014). The programme is scheduled to run for six years; the present call invites proposals for the first three-year funding period.

The malfunction of organs can only be permanently compensated by transplants or artificial organs. However, due to the lack of suitable donor organs only a small fraction of the functional failures can be treated by organ transplantation. Therefore, replacement using artificial organs is a promising treatment option for the foreseeable future. Currently, long-term artificial organ replacement is a reality for kidneys and hearts, while the development of an implantable artificial lung is just in the initial stages. Recent substantial advances have been made which facilitate short-term use of extracorporeal lung support systems. Nevertheless, technical limitations inherent in the current extracorporeal lung support systems do not allow for the long-term use needed for an implantable artificial lung. The primary limitations involve insufficient biocompatibility causing activation of inflammatory and coagulation cascades and the formation of clots in the extracorporeal system. Thrombus formation is worsened by suboptimal flow conditions, if an area of non-physiological blood flow occurs. Furthermore, deposition of fibrin and other proteins on the gas-exchange membranes reduces gas transfer and limits the long-term use of lung support systems. In addition, today’s short-term lung assist systems do not allow for individually adjustable gas transfer rates of O2 and CO2.

Therefore, the aim of this Priority Programme is to overcome the limitations, which prevent long-term use and implantation of a lung assist system. In particular, the Priority Programme aims to improve the biocompatibility of artificial surfaces, identify new strategies for anticoagulation regimes, optimise gas and blood flow based on individual needs, and design solutions for miniaturisation of lung assist systems. These strategies should be validated by standardised methods with new in vitro and in vivo models.

This Priority Programme requires complementary, well-networked competencies in medicine, biology, engineering, and material science. The formation of interdisciplinary teams should create new synergies for the implementation and development of an artificial implantable lung. Therefore, each interdisciplinary project team should include the involvement of a clinical scientist.

Proposals submitted to this call should address at least one of the following fundamental aspects:

  • design and testing of membrane and system surfaces with improved biocompatibility
  • analysis and design of blood and gas flow considering the individual patient demand as well as prevention of adverse flow regimens within the oxygenator
  • identification of suitable anticoagulation regimes and the design of biomarkers
  • analysis of the mechanisms and therapy of inflammatory processes in artificial lungs
  • investigation of technical and surgical solutions for miniaturisation, structural integration and termination techniques of essential components for a lung assist system
  • in silico, in vitro, and in vivo validation of components and biocompatibility for lung assist systems
  • impact of long-term use of lung assist systems on pathophysiology, of chronic lung disease, pulmonary circulation and regulation of ventilation

Not eligible for funding are proposals on clinical course of patients on extracorporeal assist devices and application studies.

Research proposals for the first three-year funding period, to be written in English, are now invited. When writing the proposal, please consult the current guidelines for Priority Programmes (DFG form 50.05en, part B, current version of July 2015) and follow the instructions for the preparation of project proposals (DFG form 54.01en, current version of June 2014). Proposals must not exceed 20 pages (without title page). Please add a title page with your name, institution, and the title of your project in your application. The deadline for proposal submission is 31 August 2016.

Proposals have to be submitted via the DFG’s electronic submission system “elan”, selecting “SPP 2014” in the submission procedure. If you are using the “elan” system for the first time, please note that you need to register yourself and your institutional addresses before being able to submit a proposal. If you are planning to move to a different institution (e.g. with a Temporary Position for Principal Investigators) you need to register with the address of the new institution. Please make sure that all (co-)applicants are registered two weeks before the submission deadline, as registration requests must be handled manually by DFG staff.

Please adhere to the rules for publication lists in their current version of March 2016 (form 1.91). Importantly, manuscripts that have not yet been accepted for publication may not be listed in the CV or as preliminary work (no “submitted”, no “in preparation”).

Further information

DFG’s portal “elan”:

For proposal guidelines and preparation instructions please consult the DFG forms 50.05en (Section B), 54.01en and 1.91en, which can be found on the DFG website at:

Contact person for questions related to the Priority Programme:

Contact person for questions related to the application or review process:

Contact person for administrative matters:

Zusatzinformationen

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