ECCO Fellowships and Grants Report

Janneke van der Woude, SciCom Chair

Janneke van der Woude1Janneke 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, and the number of awardees has now increased to an amazing total of more than 25.  

     ECCO Pioneer Award 2019                                   

Fri 170ECCO Pioneer Awards 2019 © ECCO

This year, principal investigators Geert D’Haens (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Wouter de Jonge (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Jack Satsangi (Oxford, United Kingdom) and Simon Travis (Oxford, United Kingdom) were awarded the ECCO Pioneer Award. The topic of their project is “Epigenetic and microbial biomarkers defining the response to biologic treatment in Crohn’s Disease”. 

We are happy to announce that the new call of the Pioneer Award can be found on the ECCO Website. After the increase of last year, the budget will remain EUR 250,000.-. As ECCO is constantly striving to improve inter-disciplinary collaboration, it is important to underline that participating centres (a minimum of two) must play an equal role in their partnership. Funding duration is 2 years.


     The ECCO Fellowships, Grants and Travel Awards

Other ECCO Awards awarded at the ECCO’19 Congress included: 12 ECCO Grants, two ECCO Fellowships, two ECCO-AOCC Visiting Travel Grants (awarded jointly by ECCO and AOCC to encourage cooperation between Europe and Asia), one N-ECCO Research Grant for advancing research in IBD nursing, four ECCO Travel Awards and one N-ECCO Travel Award. Further, two ECCO-Pfizer Research Awards and one ECCO-Pfizer Research Grant on Predictors of response to JAK inhibitors were awarded. Once again, all proposals submitted to ECCO were peer reviewed by a panel of expert reviewers. Each proposal was assigned to three or four reviewers, well-known experts in that particular area of the IBD field.

Fri 173ECCO Fellowships and Grants Winners 2019 © ECCO

The 12 investigators and their proposals selected to receive funding through ECCO Grants are:

  1. Petra Bacher (Kiel, Germany)
    The immune repertoire of microbe-reactive T cells in blood and tissue of IBD patients
  2. Giuseppe D’Agostino (Aberdeen, United Kingdom)
    Brain circuits controlling intestinal inflammation
  3. Lissy de Ridder (Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
    Infliximab in Paediatric Crohn’s Disease; in whom to start (ImProve)
  4. Nik Sheng Ding (Melbourne, Australia)
    Sarcopenia or myopenia as a predictor of response to therapy in Crohn's Disease (SPaRC)
  5. Nina Lansdorp (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
    Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the treatment of perianal fistulas in Crohn’s Disease
  6. Eran Elinav (Rehovot, Israel)
    Nod-like receptor function at the host-microbiome interface
  7. Gordon Moran (Nottingham, United Kingdom) 
    Stopping Aminosalicylate Therapy in Inactive Crohn’s Disease (STATIC) Study: A randomized, open-label, non-inferiority trial
  8. Gareth-Rhys Jones (Edinburgh, United Kingdom)
    Investigating the molecular heterogeneity of intestinal macrophages in drug naïve, newly diagnosed in Crohn’s Disease patients
  9. René van den Wijngaard (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
    Fungal feelings: Abdominal pain during remission
  10. Carolina Serena (Tarragona, Spain)
    An integrative analysis of DNA methylation and RNA-Seq data in human adipose-stem cells of Crohn’s Disease patients with different clinical activity
  11. Azucena Salas (Barcelona, Spain)
    Integrative analysis of the intestinal epithelium and the mucosal environment
  12. Harry Sokol (Paris, France)
    Host-microbiota crosstalk through tryptophan metabolism in IBD

The number of grants to be funded in 2019 will be 12, and the budget will remain EUR 50,000.-.


      ECCO Fellowships 2019

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

Fri 172ECCO Fellowship Winners 2019 © ECCO
  1. Ramona Sonja Bruckner (Zurich, Switzerland)
    The role of fibroblasts in the pathogenesis of Crohn’s Disease-associated fistulas and in mesenchymal stem cell therapy
  2. Javier Conde Aranda (Salamanca, Spain)
    PTPN2 and TiO2 in the pathogenesis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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


     ECCO Visiting Travel Awards 2019

Fri 186ECCO Fellowships and Grants Winners 2019 © 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 Idan Goren (Petah Tikva, Israel) and Bei Tan (Beijing, China).

We also funded five of the Travel Award applications submitted this year. Four ECCO Travel Awards went to Ivan Milovanovic (Belgrade, Serbia), Malgorzata Matuszczyk (Warsaw, Poland), Elise van Praag (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and Raluca Cezara Popa (Iasi, Romania). Rikke Edelbo (Aarhus, Denmark) received the N-ECCO Travel Award. Again, the selected applicants will be able to create and strengthen connections and to trigger new European collaborative studies. Travel awards are an excellent opportunity to learn from other practices and therefore we urge everyone to apply for these awards.

The N-ECCO Research Grant 2019 was awarded to Dawn Farrell (Tralee, Ireland): “Fatigue and physical activity in individuals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease”. Next year one award will again be available, with a budget of EUR 20,000.-.

This year three industry-sponsored grants were awarded. Two ECCO-Pfizer Research Awards for projects that will be implemented in UR-CARE were granted to: Naila Arebi (London, United Kingdom): “The application of UR-CARE as a learning system to improve quality of care, enhance uptake and design retrospective studies” and Christianne Buskens (Amsterdam, the Netherlands): “Incidence of dysplasia or colorectal cancer in IBD patients in the biological era: Does delayed resection because of increased medical options increases dysplasia and/or cancer rates?” The ECCO-Pfizer Research Grant on predictors of response to JAK inhibitors was awarded to Samuel Huber (Hamburg, Germany): “Identification and validation of predictors to JAK inhibitors using supervised and unbiased approaches”.

Fri 183ECCO Fellowships and Grants Awards 2019 © ECCO

      ECCO Fellowships, Grants and Travel Awards 2020

Another call for Fellowships, Grants and Travel Awards is already open for all ECCO Members. You can find out more on the ECCO Website and please be reminded that the deadline for applying is June 3, 2019. 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 the position to again offer an ECCO Pioneer Award, which will be awarded at the ECCO’20 Congress in Vienna. Further, we are happy to announce the new D-ECCO Travel Award, to stimulate dietitians to learn from each other’s practices. Also new in 2019 is the ECCO-IBUS Grant to stimulate ultrasound research projects. 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 14, Issue 1