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Information for Researchers No. 70 | 9 October 2020
Workshop for Early Career Investigators in Allergology

Innate and Inflammatory Immune Responses in Allergy: Pathogenic Roles and Targets of Therapeutic Interventions”. At a one-week workshop, up to 20 participating early career scientists interested in the field of allergological-immunological research will be specifically prepared for the submission of an ini-tial project proposal. Participants are to be given the opportunity to qualify for an independent scientific position early in their career.

Background

Allergies are among the most common chronic diseases with a rising incidence. A deeper understanding of the underlying immune mechanisms not only provides a more comprehensive insight into the eti-opathogenesis, it is also essential to developing new, targeted therapeutic measures and efficient preven-tion strategies. The investigation of innate and inflammatory immune responses in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases is of particular importance. The workshop aims to qualify early career allergological scientists to work on clinical-translational issues with a focus on the role of the innate immune system and inflammatory processes. Firstly, this will lay the foundations for developing new therapeutic and preventive medical concepts as a basis for improved patient care; secondly, it will provide lasting stimuli for the expansion of translational, allergological research to high standards.

Objectives and content

The workshop for early career investigators is aimed at scientists in allergology who wish to prepare for the independent pursuit of research projects at an early stage of their career: it offers them the oppor-tunity to develop their own ideas for research projects through targeted training and focused, individual mentoring provided by proven experts; in this way they will be given their first introduction to project management and third-party funding. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to develop their own research profile.

In terms of content, the workshop will primarily address the following:

  • Allergy “priming”
  • Interaction of epithelium and inflammation in the development of allergic reactions
  • Role of the resident immune system and its modulation by therapeutic measures
  • Interplay between genetics, environmental factors and the internal immune system
  • Immunological imprinting of endotypes and their translation into clinical phenotypes
  • Identification of biomarkers for disease development, risk assessment of severity and therapeu-tic/preventive intervention options

A particular focus will be on developing new experimental approaches to clinical-translational research through both preclinical and clinical studies. Methodological aspects will include the following:

  • Preclinical studies and animal models
  • Ex vivo approaches
  • Clinical-experimental studies on immunological issues
  • Translational therapeutic study approaches (including IITs)
  • Biomarker studies
  • Preventive examinations

The aim is to cover the entire range of experimental approaches and analytical designs, including a comprehensive presentation of methodological and device-specific analytical procedures and their pro-ject-related applications.

Group of participants

The call for proposals is aimed at researchers in the fields of medicine and the natural sciences,

  • who are about to complete their doctorate (submitted dissertation; scheduled defence) or who completed their doctorate no more than six years ago (parental leave taken by early career re-searchers is taken into account in accordance with DFG rules)

  • who are actively involved in a research group in one of the following fields:
    • Dermatologie 
    • Dermatology
    • Ear, nose and throat medicine
    • Child and youth medicine
    • Pulmonology
    • Immunology
    • Laboratory medicine
    • Rheumatology

  • and who wish to conduct a scientific project in the area “Innate and Inflammatory Immune Re-sponses in Allergy: Pathogenic Roles and Targets of Therapeutic Interventions”.

The prerequisite for participation in the workshop is the submission of a draft in accordance with the criteria listed under “Application” for a research project to be conducted in Germany. This draft must describe the idea, objectives and basic concept of the project as well as its planned implementation. In order to secure funding eligibility for the project proposal itself, which is submitted at a later date, the draft must initially contain an innovative idea and be realistically feasible.

Application

Please send your application for participation in the workshop in electronic form in PDF format by e-mail to the workshop coordinator (see “Further Information” for contact details), enclosing the following documents:

  • Covering letter (max. 1 page)
  • Draft for the research project (max. 2 pages, Arial 10, single line spacing)
  • Curriculum vitae (max. 2 pages with the ten most important publications and a list of congress papers)
  • Copy of the doctoral certificate or submitted dissertation and proof of the date of the defence
  • Statement by the clinic or institute management stating that in the event of funding, the partici-pant of the workshop will be released for the purpose of research work.

The closing date for applications is 31 December 2020.

The prerequisite for invitation to the workshop is a positive evaluation of the project draft by the panel of experts.

Selection criteria

  • Description of how the project draft fits into the overall topic
  • Relevance of the research question addressed in the thematic context of the workshop
  • Theoretical basis of the question
  • Innovative nature of the project
  • Suitability and originality of the methodological approach
  • Feasibility of the project
  • Scientific qualification of the candidate
  • Suitability of the scientific environment
  • Publication performance of the applicant, taking into account the career phase

By 20 February 2021 you will receive information from the workshop coordinator on the binding deci-sion regarding your application for admission to the workshop for early career investigators.

Time schedule

On 20/21 March 2021, the previously selected, approximately 20 participants will come together with their mentors at a kick-off meeting to present their project ideas, get to know each other through an initial orientation discussion and share ideas. Here, initial suggestions may also be provided for further preparation of the project proposals. Participants will be asked to send a full draft proposal to their mentors for evaluation by 15 May 2021 which they will receive back with comments by 15 July 2021.

At a subsequent one-week meeting from 5 to 10 September 2021, the approx. 20 participants will meet with their mentors and selected experts from Germany and abroad to present their project drafts and discuss substantive and methodological aspects of allergological-immunological issues relating to the topic “Innate and Inflammatory Immune Responses in Allergy: Pathogenic Roles and Targets of Therapeutic Interventions”. Here, keynote lectures will provide a comprehensive overview of the themat-ic spectrum and the current state of research, while focused talks by experts will expand participants’ knowledge of the various topic-related forms of scientific exploration.

The focus of the meeting will ensure that the draft proposals are well elaborated. Participants will re-ceive comprehensive support both from their mentors at a writing workshop and through joint discus-sions with the panel of experts. Participants will be given the opportunity to set their own priorities according to their respective research topic and develop individual solutions. In the second part of the week, participants will present their revised draft proposals to the expert panel in a series of presenta-tions: this will provide the opportunity to discuss outstanding issues and potential points of criticism together.

Following the meeting, participants from the early career investigator workshop will finalise their pro-posals, which will then be submitted as DFG proposals for initial start-up funding by 7 December 2021. The submission of proposals will follow the DFG individual procedure. As applications for indi-vidual DFG research grants, proposals should initially only be submitted for funds to carry out pilot studies, or preliminary work or to secure temporary release from patient care in order to carry out the relevant preliminary work. The DFG’s binding guidelines for individual research grants apply here (see DFG form 50.01). The funding amount per proposal is usually around €50,000 for one year. In this way, participants will be able to submit individual proposals to the DFG at a later date based on sound preliminary work.

Futher Information

Contact details for applications for admission to the workshop:

Kontaktinformationen zur Bewerbung um Aufnahme in die Nachwuchsakademie:

For a guide to applying for individual research grants, see DFG form 50.01:

For information on how to apply for funds to be released from patient care, see DFG form 52.04:

The coordinator and director of the workshop for early career investigators will answer any technical and organi-sational questions you may have regarding applications and the workshop itself:

If you have questions regarding application formalities, please direct them to the DFG Head Office:

Note:

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