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Call key data
Pandemic preparedness and response: Host-pathogen interactions of infectious diseases with epidemic potential
Horizon Europe - Cluster 1 - Destination 3: Tackling diseases and reducing disease burden
Estimated EU contribution per project
between € 7,000,000.00 and € 8,000,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Proposals should follow innovative approaches to characterise host-pathogen interactions with a view to inhibit viral replication, viral proteases, viral exit strategies and to develop therapeutic antibodies and vaccines that target viruses with high epidemic or pandemic potential for the EU. Proposals should focus on the following viruses: Hendra and Nipah virus, Lassa virus, Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever virus, Rift Valley fever virus, Ebola and Marburg virus, Dengue virus, Yellow Fever virus, Zika virus, West Nile fever virus and Chikungunya virus. Proposal should take into account sex and gender aspects.
As shown by the COVID-19 pandemic, infectious diseases remain a major threat to health and health security in the EU and globally. Viral disease emergence is expected to accelerate due to among other factors, climate change, and thus a proactive approach to the development of vaccines and inhibitors for the cellular uptake of viruses in preparedness for future infectious disease outbreaks is needed. The availability of vaccines and candidates that inhibit cellular uptake of viruses would provide a critical preparedness measure against future health threats, in particular against pathogens with high pandemic potential meeting the criteria identified by the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).
Proposals should aim to diversify and accelerate the global therapeutic research and development pipeline for emerging and re-emerging viral infections, and to strengthen the current leading role of the EU in therapeutic research and development, and therefore contributing to the work of the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).
Proposals should address several of the following areas:
- Identification and characterisation of receptors on the host cell that enable the docking and internalisation of a virus with a particular emphasis on the diversity of cellular entry receptors and tissue specificity.
- Identification and characterisation of viral surface proteins that are capable of interacting with host target cells.
- Characterisation of the mechanism of viral uptake in the host cell with regard to the topology and the dynamics of the host receptor – virus ligand interaction.
- Identification of receptor and ligand (sub)units that could be targeted by preventive or therapeutic intervention.
Proposals could consider the inclusion of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) research infrastructure (Nanobiotechnology laboratory) for biophysical characterisation of recombinant proteins, antigens and therapeutic antibodies, and its expertise at the interface between the research activities and regulatory aspects. In that respect, the JRC will consider collaborating with any successful proposal and this collaboration, when relevant, should be established after the proposal’s approval.
Applicants envisaging to include clinical studies should provide details of their clinical studies in the dedicated annex using the template provided in the submission system. See definition of clinical studies in the introduction to this work programme part.
This topic aims at supporting activities that are enabling or contributing to one or several expected impacts of destination 3 “Tackling diseases and reducing disease burden”. To that end, proposals under this topic should aim for delivering results that are directed, tailored towards and contributing to all of the following expected outcomes:
- The scientific and clinical communities have an increased knowledge on viruses with epidemic potential and in particular a better understanding of pathogen–host interactions for the targeted development of vaccines and inhibitors for the prevention of viral infection and the viral transmission during pathogenesis.
- The scientific and clinical communities have access to novel approaches for the prevention and treatment for emerging and re-emerging infections in the context of epidemic and pandemic preparedness.
- The scientific and clinical communities have access to experimental vaccine candidates and candidates that inhibit cellular uptake of viruses against emerging or re-emerging viral infections for further clinical investigation.
A diverse and robust development pipeline of vaccine candidates and candidates that inhibit cellular uptake of viruses is available to fight emerging and re-emerging viral infections, increasing therapeutic options for clinical deployment in case of an epidemic or pandemic.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan), Belarus (Беларусь), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), New Zealand (Aotearoa), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible.
other eligibility criteria
In recognition of the opening of the US National Institutes of Health’s programmes to European researchers, any legal entity established in the United States of America is eligible to receive Union funding.
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) may participate as member of the consortium selected for funding.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages.
The award criteria are described in General Annex D. The following exceptions apply: The thresholds for each criterion will be 4 (Excellence), 4 (Impact) and 3 (Implementation). The cumulative threshold will be 12.