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Information for Researchers No. 74 | 16 December 2014
E-Rare-3 Call for Proposals 2015 for "Transnational Research Projects on Rare Diseases"

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) as partner of E-Rare-3 is pleased to announce the 2015 call for proposals for "Transnational Research Projects on Rare Diseases".

There are at least 6000 to 7000 distinct rare diseases, the great majority being of genetic origin. Although individually rare, taken together rare diseases affect at least 26 to 30 million people in Europe. Moreover, they represent a major issue in health care: a large number of these diseases lead to a significant decrease of life expectancy and most of them cause chronic illnesses with a large impact on quality of life and the health care system.

Therefore, research on rare diseases is needed to provide knowledge for prevention, diagnosis and better care of patients. Yet, research is hampered by lack of resources at several levels: (1) few scientists work on one specific disease, (2) there are few patients per disease and they are scattered over a large geographic area, causing difficulties to gather the necessary cohorts, (3) existing databases and material collections are usually local, small, and not accessible or standardised, (4) diseases often have complex clinical phenotypes and require interdisciplinary cooperation for research, hence, interdisciplinary approaches to treatment.

The specificities of rare diseases – limited number of patients, scarcity of relevant knowledge and expertise, and fragmentation of research – single them out as a distinctive domain of very high European added-value. Rare diseases are therefore a prime example of a research area that can strongly benefit from collaboration/coordination on a transnational scale.

In this context, the ERA-NET "E-Rare" for research programmes on rare diseases has been extended to a third phase "E-Rare-3" (2014–2019) to further help in coordinating the research efforts of European countries in the field of rare diseases and implement the objectives of the International Rare Disease Research Consortium (IRDiRC). For the first time, the DFG is also a funding partner amongst the 24 parties that have decided to open the seventh E-Rare joint transnational call (JTC 2015) for funding multilateral research projects on rare diseases together with the European Commission (EC) under the ERA-NET Cofund mechanism. The call is being opened simultaneously by the parties in their respective countries.

There will be a two-stage submission procedure for joint applications: pre-proposals and full proposals. In both cases, one joint proposal document (in English) shall be prepared by the partners of a joint transnational proposal, and must be submitted to the Joint Call Secretariat (JCS) by uploading it on the electronic submission system by one spokesperson, the coordinator.

Joint pre-proposals (in English) must be received by the JCS in an electronic version no later than 18 February 2015 at 5 p.m. GMT. The pre-proposals should strictly follow the guidelines for applicants.

The decision on selection of applications for invitation to full proposal will be communicated by the end of April 2015.

Please note that joint full proposals will be accepted only from those applicants who were explicitly invited by the JCS to submit them. Full proposals (in English) must be received by the JCS in an electronic version no later than 2 June 2015 at 5 p.m. GMT.

Further information on how to submit pre-proposals and full proposals electronically will be made available through the E-Rare website (www.e-rare.eu) and in the guidelines for applicants. The forms that have to be used for submission of pre-proposals and full proposals are available on the E-Rare website.

Further Information

More information and the guidelines for applicants are available on the E-Rare-3 website:

The eligibility requirements in form 50.01 (Guidelines for the DFG Research Grants Programme) will apply. The guideline can be found at:

Contact person at the DFG: