ECCO Fellowships and Grants Report

Janneke van der Woude, SciCom Chair

Janneke van der Woude1
Janneke van der Woude

One of the main goals of ECCO is to promote IBD-related basic and clinical research as well as to foster interaction and productive collaboration among European research groups working in the IBD field. To achieve this goal, ECCO continues to award Grants, Fellowships and Travel Awards.

For 2018 the number of awardees has increased to an amazing total of more than 30.



     ECCO Pioneer Award 2018                                   

03 02 Friday 167ECCO Pioneer Awards 2018 © ECCO

This year, principal investigators Michael Scharl (University Hospital Zurich), Nahum Y. Shpigel (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Hein Verspaget and Andrea van der Meulen-de Jong (Leiden University Medical Center) and Britta Siegmund (Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin) were awarded the ECCO Pioneer Award. The topic of their project is “A novel in vivo platform for the evaluation of new therapies for Crohn’s Disease fistulae”.  

We are happy to announce that for the next call the Pioneer Award budget will be increased to EUR 250,000.-. As ECCO is constantly striving to improve scientific collaboration, it is important to underline that participating centres (a minimum of 2) must play an equal role in their partnership. 


     Increase in ECCO Fellowships, Grants and Travel Awards

Other ECCO Awards for 2018 included: Fifteen ECCO Grants (instead of 10!), four ECCO Fellowships, two ECCO-AOCC Visiting Travel Grants (awarded jointly by ECCO and AOCC to encourage cooperation between Europe and Asia), one ECCO-IOIBD Fellowship (given jointly by ECCO and IOIBD to encourage international mobility between Europe and other continents), two N-ECCO Research Grants for advancing research in IBD nursing, three ECCO Travel Awards, and four N-ECCO Travel Awards. Once again, all proposals submitted to ECCO were peer reviewed by a panel of expert reviewers. Each proposal was assigned three or four reviewers, one of whom was a member of ECCO’s Scientific Committee and the others, well-known experts in that particular area of the IBD field.

03 02 Friday 180ECCO Fellowships and Grants Winners 2018 © ECCO

The 15 investigators and their proposals selected to receive funding through ECCO Grants are:

  1. Timon Adolph (Innsbruck, Austria)
    The regulation and function of epithelial glutathione peroxidase 4 in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  2. Maria Chaparro Sanchez (Madrid, Spain)
    Proteomic characterization of extracellular vesicles in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A novel proteomic approach for biomarker discovery
  3. Silvia D’Alessio (Pieve Emanuele, Italy)
    Integrin α7 as a new player in Stricturing Crohn’s Disease: Implication for pathogenesis and new therapeutic strategies
  4. Dina Danso-Abeam (Dublin, Ireland)
    Identification of the functional role of NLRP6 in human Crohn’s Disease
  5. Stefan Koch (Linköping, Sweden)
    Regulation of intestinal epithelial homeostasis by Cyclin Y
  6. Renaud Lesourne (Toulouse, France)
    Role of the T cell-lineage protein THEMIS in the susceptibility to Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
  7. Giulia Roda (Rozzano (Milan), Italy) 
    CEACAM5 peptides as immunoregulatory approach to Crohn’s Disease
  8. Janneke N. Samsom (Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
    TIGIT+CD38+ effector cells: new players in suppressing inflammation in IBD?
  9. Dror S. Shouval (Ramat-Gan, Israel)
    Defining the role of extra-cellular matrix in disease progression in patients with distal Ulcerative Colitis
  10. Holm Uhlig (Oxford, United Kingdom)
    Neuro-immune interactions in gut macrophages
  11. Federica Ungaro (Pieve Emanuele (Milan), Italy)
    Definition of IBD-associated gut virome via next-generation sequencing: Novel insights for disease onset and treatments
  12. Aline van Acker (Stockholm, Sweden)
    The heterogeneity and function of innate lymphoid cells in paediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  13. Patrick van Rheenen (Groningen, the Netherlands)
    Identification of rare genetic variants contributing to the development of childhood-onset IBD-PSC using parent-offspring trios
  14. Sare Verstockt (Leuven, Belgium)
    Using exosomes to gain insights in the early phase of Crohn’s Disease
  15. Liset Westera (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) 
    Unraveling the nature of a unique gut-resident T-cell population associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease using single-cell RNA sequencing

The decision to award grants to the 15 top-ranked projects, rather than just ten, was taken because the total number of ECCO Grant applications rose by 33% this year. Bearing in mind this rise and also the desire to promote more clinical proposals, the number of grants to be funded in 2019 will be 12, and the budget will be increased to EUR 50,000.-.


     ECCO Fellowships 2018

The investigators and their proposals selected to receive ECCO Fellowships are:

03 02 Friday 170ECCO Fellowship Winners 2018 © ECCO
  1. Federica Branchi (Milan, Italy)
    Investigation on the role of Par4-associated cell polarity and associated barrier defects in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
  2. Sudharshan Elangovan (Thuwal, Saudi Arabia)
    TSG-6, a new potential therapeutic target in fistulizing Crohn’s Disease
  3. Sales Ibiza (Lisbon, Portugal)
    Monocyte-derived macrophages as crucial players in the resolution of inflammation and tissue repair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  4. Danping Zheng (Guangzhou, China)
    The role of Nlrp9b, a novel NLR member in regulating experimental colitis

Each of the Fellowship awardees received a prize of EUR 60,000.-.

The ECCO-IOIBD Fellowship 2018 is awarded to Mathieu Uzzan (Clichy, France) for his project “Deciphering the gut-specific B cell response in Inflammatory Bowel Disease”.


     ECCO Visiting Travel Awards 2018

03 02 Friday 175ECCO Fellowships and Grants Winners 2018 © ECCO

Jointly with AOCC (the Asian Organization for Crohn’s and Colitis), ECCO has awarded two ECCO-AOCC Visiting Travel Grants to encourage and promote collaboration in the field of IBD between Europe and Asia. Awardees are Jihye Park (Seoul, Korea), who will visit the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, and Lingna Ye (Zhejiang, China), who will visit the Oxford Translational Gastroenterology Unit in Oxford, United Kingdom.

We also funded seven of the Travel Award applications submitted this year. Three ECCO Travel Awards went to Hendrik Laja (Tartu, Estonia), Marjolijn Duijvestein (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and Ante Bogut (Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina). Miriam Ganon (Jerusalem, Israel), Eveline Hoefkens (Bonheiden, Belgium), Amanda Lundgren (Stockholm, Sweden) and Francesca Onidi (Cagliari, Italy) received the N-ECCO Travel Awards.

Again, the selected applicants will be able to create and strengthen connections and to trigger new European collaborative studies. Therefore we are extremely happy to see the number of Travel Award applications rising each year.


     N-ECCO Research Grants 2018

The N-ECCO Research Grants 2018 were awarded to Susanna Jäghult (Stockholm, Sweden) and Maria Louise de Jong-van der Zee (Amsterdam, the Netherlands). Susanna Jäghult presented her proposal “Medication adherence, worries and concerns in IBD” at the 5th N-ECCO Research Forum. The grant to Maria Louise de Jong-van der Zee was awarded for her proposal Point-of-care decision making using trans-abdominal ultrasound performed by the nurse practitioner”.

03 02 Friday 176ECCO Fellowships and Grants Awards 2018 © ECCO


     ECCO Fellowships, Grants and Travel Awards 2019

Another call for Fellowships, Grants and Travel Awards is already open for all ECCO Members. You can find out more on the ECCO Website. We encourage all submitters and grant applicants to focus on defined projects that can be done with the amount of money awarded. Submission of huge projects in which the ECCO funding can play only a minor part is discouraged. As stated above, we are particularly excited to be in a position to offer another “Pioneer Award” in 2019. In the meantime, we wish all of this year’s awardees the best of luck in successfully delivering on the contents of their proposals and look forward to presentation of the results from their work at forthcoming ECCO Congresses.


Posted in ECCO News, SciCom, Committee News, Volume 13, Issue 1