Funding transnational collaborative research through joint transnational calls is one of the major objectives of E-Rare. This is the most important and effective joint activity to enhance the cooperation between European scientists working on rare diseases and thus reducing the fragmentation of research in this field. E-Rare launches calls on a yearly basis. The topic and eligibility criteria are specified every year and therefore may vary from one call to the other.

Open Call



Preliminary announcement

JTC 2018: "Transnational research projects on hypothesis-driven use of multi-omic integrated approaches for discovery of disease causes and/or functional validation in the context of rare diseases"

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 International Rare Disease Research Consortium (IRDiRC).

 The following parties,

  • Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Austria*
  • Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), Belgium, Flanders
  • Fund for Scientific Research - FNRS (F.R.S.-FNRS), Belgium, French-speaking community
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Genetics (CIHR-IG), Canada
  • Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé (FRQS), Québec (Canada)
  • Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS), Czech Republic
  • Academy of Finland (AKA), Finland
  • French National Research Agency (ANR), France
  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany
  • German Research Foundation (DFG), Germany
  • General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT), Greece
  • National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NKFIH), Hungary
  • Chief Scientist Office of the Ministry of Health (CSO-MOH), Israel
  • Italian Ministry of Health (MoH-IT), Italy
  • State Education Development Agency (VIAA), Latvia
  • National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR), Poland
  • Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI), Romania*
  • National Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII), Spain*
  • Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), Switzerland
  • Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), The Netherlands
  • The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), Turkey·      

*Decision still pending

intend to open the tenth E-Rare joint call for funding multilateral research projects on rare diseases. The call is expected to be opened simultaneously by the parties in their respective countries.

The aim of the call is to enable scientists in different countries to build an effective collaboration on a common interdisciplinary research project based on complementarities and sharing of expertise, with a clear translational research approach. Projects shall involve a group of rare diseases or a single rare disease following the European definition i.e. a disease affecting not more than five in 10 000 persons in the European Community, EC associated states and Canada.

The research projects have to focus on hypothesis-driven use of multi-omic integrated approaches for discovery of disease causes and/or functional validation in the context of rare diseases.

Transnational research proposals must cover at least one of the following areas, which are equal in relevance for this call:

  • Combined multi-omics approaches (e.g. epigenomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, proteomics, etc.) that complement genomics-based gene discovery strategies and that are driven by a lead hypothesis. These multi-omics approaches should extend beyond descriptive “-omics” data gathering, such as simple whole exome/genome sequencing for disease gene discovery. For transcriptomic and proteomic data, a strong rationale for physiological relevance of the collected sample/tissue/dataset must be available
  • Functional validation of clinical or biological inferences obtained from “-omics” results, e.g. by
    • developing new computational, statistical and experimental methods for analysis and interpretation of existing multi-omic datasets or for the identification of relevant biomarkers;
    • integrating the already obtained “-omics” results to generate and test new biological models;
  • Application of “-omics” approaches to rare diseases for which the gene(s) is/are known to enable insight into disease pathophysiology. Emphasis will be given to approaches that transcend a single “-omics” approach to illuminate pathomechanism. Projects that generate “-omics” data with limited integration and interpretation will be considered lower priority;
  • Development and application of concepts and methods for pathogenic read-outs of disease groups which can be used as “blue print” to discover new disease genes and inform pathomechanism. Projects on “simple” or “pure” gene hunts will be discouraged if they can be rationally performed at a single institution or by existing international resource centers, with the exception of studies that inform fundamentally new genetic paradigms.

Furthermore, additional elements must be taken care of in the application:

  • Proposed projects should rest on an excellent lead hypothesis for the intended activities;
  • Proposed projects that focus only on data sets from genomic approaches (e.g. exome/genome sequencing of a cohort) will have low priority;
  • Proposed projects have to show multi-dimensional approaches and strong knowledge of interpretation of such data, ideally combining rigorous statistic methods with biological/experimental verification;
  • A core set of “-omics” results should already be present and serve as a justification to perform other “-omics” experiments;
  • The design of the study (sample collection, statistical power, interpretation, relevant models for hypothesis validation) must be well justified and should be part of the proposal;
  • Appropriate bioinformatics and statistical skills should constitute, whenever justified, an integral part of the proposal;
  • The new research data resulting from the project should be treated permissible according to the FAIR[1] principles, and deposited and shared, according to the national rules of the countries involved. It is strongly advised to make data accessible through RD-Connect ( - connecting databases, patient registries, biobanks and clinical bioinformatics data into a central resource for researchers worldwide) and through Elixir ( - compiling a list of resources for the deposition of experimental, biomolecular data). To make research data findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable (FAIR), a data management strategy for the proposed full project is mandatory in the full proposal stage. Some countries involved in E-Rare JTC 2018 will also ask for a data management plan (DMP) at national level at the stage of full proposal or after granting of the project.

The following approaches and topics are excluded from the scope of the call:

  • Approaches concerning rare infectious diseases or rare cancers;
  • Approaches concerning rare adverse drug events/medical complications in treatments of common diseases;
  • Interventional clinical trials.

Project proposals must clearly demonstrate the potential health impact as well as the added-value of transnational collaboration: gathering a critical mass of patients/biological material, sharing of resources (models, databases, diagnosis etc.), harmonization of data, sharing of specific know-how and/or innovative technologies, etc.

Each transnational collaborative project should represent the critical mass to achieve ambitious scientific goals. Consortia are encouraged to demonstrate engagement with industry for its active participation including areas of collaboration, sharing of resources, capabilities and expertise, in order to ensure an efficient transfer of pre-clinical results into clinical utility. Likewise, patient organizations are invited to participate where appropriate as their engagement has the potential to provide new insights that could lead to innovative discoveries, and ensures that research is relevant to patients' concerns.

Joint research proposals may be submitted by higher education institutions, non-university public research establishments, hospitals as well as commercial companies, in particular small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), according to relevant national funding organisations´ regulations for research funding.

Only transnational projects will be funded. Each consortium submitting a proposal must involve a minimum of three eligible and a maximum of six eligible partners from at least three different countries participating to the call (see list of parties/countries above). Not more than two eligible partners from the same country participating in the call will be accepted in one consortium.

Applicants are encouraged to include partners from the participating Eastern European countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Turkey). If they include such partners, the maximum number of partners can be increased to eight (see table below).

Additional partners that secure their own funding may join consortia. However, their number is limited to two. The consortium coordinator must always be eligible to receive funding from the funding organisations participating in the call. Only groups that contribute substantially to at least one of the work packages are considered as partners. They must state clearly in the proposal if these funds are already secured or if not, how they plan to obtain funding in advance of the project start. It will be required to document the availability of their funds before October 1, 2018.


Number of partners requesting funding

Possible number of additional partners with own funding







(only possible with inclusion of Eastern European partner)



(only possible with inclusion of Eastern European partner)


1Whilst applications will be submitted jointly by groups from several countries, individual groups will be funded by the individual E-Rare-3 funding organisation respective of the country from which applicants have applied. The applications are therefore subjected to eligibility criteria of individual funding organisations.

Applicants are strongly advised to contact their national representative and confirm eligibility with their respective funding organisations in advance of submitting an application

Please Note:
The information provided in this pre-announcement is indicative, may be subject to changes and is not legally binding to the funding organisations.
Additional funding organisations might join the call before the official publication.
Interested applicants are encouraged to initiate scientific contacts with potential project consortium partners for applications.






The Call Text will be available at the opening of the call on December 7th, 2017.


For questions regarding the joint call please contact the Joint Call Secretariat:

Nika Ritsema


Phone: +31 (0)70 349 54 85


Harald Moonen


Phone: +31 (0) 70 349 53 49


Sonja van Weely


E-Rare 2012 - Created by Toussaint Biger