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MedUni Vienna Successful in the Austrian Science Fund’s (FWF) Pilot Programme for the Funding of Clinical Research

(Vienna, 4th July 2011) The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) had announced for the first time a programme for the funding of clinical research (KLIF). This Monday the Science Minister, Karlheinz Töchterle, together with FWF President, Christoph Kratky, revealed the fifteen successful projects. Seven of these fifteen are research proposals from the MedUni Vienna.

With the announcement of a 3 million Euro programme specifically for the funding of clinical research, the FWF has entered uncharted territory as it is awarding almost all of its resources to research funding and is also focussing on basic research whilst doing so. A significant factor in this decision was a study by the European Science Foundation (ESF), which showed that there is a need in the clinical field to fund research which is independent from industrial interests.

From the 327 letters of intent (LOIs) submitted, an international jury of experts chose 183 projects which have been assessed as full proposals. Ultimately 15 projects are being funded and seven of these are from MedUni Vienna scientists. With an approval rate of only 8% of all full proposals, this programme is therefore one of the most competitive of all FWF programmes, as the current average approval rate for FWF programmes is 24.6%.

Markus Müller, Head of Research Support at the MedUni Vienna and designated Vice-Rector for Research and International Relations, says: “The funding of clinical research through public programmes is particularly important in order to be able to devise research themes independent from commercial interests. Due to the high interest it is also hoped that this programme, which is very important for medical universities, shall be continued.”

The approved projects
• “Treatment of birch pollen associated food allergy”
Barbara Bohle / MedUni Vienna
• “Morphometric correlates and predictors of gait and balance disorders in Parkinson’s Disease”, Klaus Seppi, Medical University Innsbruck
• “The effect of diabetic neuropathy on the stimulation parameters of peripheral nerve stimulation in regional anaesthesia”, Marcel Rigaud, Medical University Graz
• “Examination of multidrug resistance in breast cancer with [11C] tariquidar PET”, Markus Müller, MedUni Vienna
• “Neural correlates of the effect of SSRIs: effect of stress system genes”, Lukas Pezawas, MedUni Vienna
• “Strategy study for the individualised biological therapy of rheumatoid arthritis”, Daniel Aletaha, MedUni Vienna
• “Physiological measurements for the prognosis of memory loss”, Eugen Trinka, Salzburg University Hospital
• “Vitamin D supplementation in polymorphic photodermatosis”, Peter Wolf, Medical University Graz
• “LION: lymphadenectomies in ovarian neoplasias”, Christian Marth, Medical University Innsbruck
• “Atypical antipsychotics and tissue gene expression”, Martin Brunner, MedUni Vienna
• “7 Tesla MR spectroscopy in diffusely infiltrating gliomas”, Wolfgang Bogner, MedUni Vienna
• “Cholestasis prophylaxis in premature newborns through SMOFLIPID”, Andreas Repa, MedUni Vienna
• “A prospective study for the identification of patients with hereditary haemochromatosis”, Jochen Zwerina, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Osteology, Ludwig Boltzmann Society / Hanusch Hospital
• “Phase I/II dose findings study with ch14.18/CHO antibodies and IL2”, Ruth Ladenstein, St. Anna Children’s Hospital
• “Predictive and prognostic value of GIRK in breast cancer”, Thomas Bauernhofer, Medical University Graz
» Download project descriptions

Background: "KLIF"
FWF’s KLIF programme document describes the problems of clinical studies. Clinical research requires increasing support in order to remain competitive internationally. These considerations led to the FWF, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Science and Research (BMWF), announcing in 2010 the KLIF invitation for proposals for the funding of clinical research / clinical studies. There was a limited budget of 3 million Euro available for the invitation for proposals, which of course is not sufficient to fill the funding gaps, but is possibly enough to identify them and to provide further information about them. Therefore the objectives of KLIF are also to "identify any funding gaps in the field of patient-oriented, academic clinical research and, if applicable, to estimate their scope (not to fill them). If further rounds of invitations for proposals can take place, and to what extent this may be possible, this shall depend on the result of this invitation for proposals and the availability of further, alternative finance options".