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One Health Approaches to Accelerate Vaccine Development

Copyright: Ca-ssis/iStock/Thinkstock

Call status: Closed
Previous call: 17 August 2017 - 25 October 2017

Summary

BBSRC, on behalf of the Department of Health and the UK Vaccine Network, is pleased to announce a £5 million call for ‘One Health Approaches to Accelerate Vaccine Development’.

The call aims to support comparative ‘One Health’ research which will promote antigen discovery, enhance understanding of disease pathogenesis, and accelerate vaccine development for a range of viral and bacterial families that are known to have a significant impact on animal and human health in low and/or middle income countries.

This call forms part of the UK government’s commitment to Official Development Assistance (ODA), therefore research projects must address challenges primarily relevant to the health or prosperity of low and/or middle income countries on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) DAC List (see external links).

Background

Vaccines are recognised as one of the most cost-effective approaches to prevent disease outbreaks in livestock and humans. Vaccination campaigns also have the potential to lead to global disease eradication as exemplified by eradication of rinderpest in 2011 and smallpox in 1980.

The UK Vaccine Network (see external links) is a £120 million ODA resource funding stream created to support the development of vaccines against pathogens of epidemic potential.

This call is informed by input from a number of working groups which were convened by the UK Vaccine Network. The working groups highlighted the following rate limiting steps in the vaccine development process:

  • basic research to gain fundamental understanding of the pathogen
  • understanding of natural protective immunity
  • identification of immune correlates of protection.

and identified the need to invest in fundamental research on a range of pathogen families with the potential to give rise to an outbreak of as yet uncharacterised related pathogens (for example novel coronaviruses or bunyaviruses).

The working groups also identified that vaccine development could be accelerated through comparative ‘One Health’ research and knowledge exchange across the veterinary and medical fields.

To help address these rate limiting steps and maximise the benefits of taking a comparative ‘One Health’ approach, the Department of Health (through the UK Vaccine Network) has earmarked up to £5 million to support innovative fundamental research to accelerate vaccine development for pathogens of veterinary and medical importance in low and/or middle income countries.

Aim

The aim of the call is to bring veterinary and medical vaccinologists together to increase understanding of pathogen biology, promote antigen discovery, enhance understanding of disease pathogenesis and host immune response and accelerate vaccine development for viruses and bacteria that are known to have a significant impact on animal and human health in countries on the OECD DAC list.

Scope

This call will support research that takes a comparative ‘One Health’ approach to enhance vaccine development focusing on viruses and bacteria that have outbreak epidemic potential. Research on the following viral and bacterial families is particularly encouraged: Arenaviridae, bunyaviridae, coronaviridae, filoviridae, flaviviridae, paramyxoviridae, togoviridae, enterobacteriales and coxiallaceae but research on other bacterial or viral families will be considered where a case can be made that there is significant outbreak epidemic potential.

Areas of possible focus include:

  • Pathogen biology
  • Antigen discovery, antigenic variability
  • Host pathogen interactions
  • Immunology
  • Immune correlates of protection - naturally acquired immunity.

It is envisaged that research will focus on one or more related bacterial or viral pathogens of veterinary and medical importance in countries on the OECD DAC list. However, research on zoonotic bacterial or viral pathogens is also welcomed.

Proposals should articulate how the outputs of the proposed research could enhance vaccine development for well characterized pathogens, newly identified pathogens or emerging pathogens in countries on the OECD DAC list.

Applicants are encouraged to work with industry where appropriate.

The UK Vaccine Network is part of the UK government’s commitment to ODA. Therefore, applicants must be able to demonstrate the relevance of the proposed research in the short or longer term on the economy, health or welfare of countries on the OECD DAC list. This must be the principle and direct aim of the research.

The following are outside the scope of this call:

  • research that does not take a comparative ‘One Health’ approach
  • research focused on bacteria or viruses that do not have an impact on animal and human health
  • research that is focused on pathogenic organisms other than bacteria or viruses, for example helminths
  • research that does not have the potential to accelerate vaccine development in the short- or longer-term
  • research that cannot demonstrate that the principle and direct aim is to promote the economy, health or welfare of countries on the OECD DAC list.

The following areas are also outside the scope of the call as they are covered by current or future planned activities: epidemiology; vaccine manufacturing; development of vaccine delivery systems; animal or human vaccine trials (The UK Vaccine Network has recently run a number of calls, administered by Innovated UK and EPSRC, which have supported trials of human and animal vaccines and innovation in vaccine manufacturing).

Any research proposal that is deemed to be outside the scope of this call will be rejected without peer review.

Additional information about how to apply and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) are available in the application downloads below.

Funding

The Department of Health has earmarked up to £5 million for this call and expect to support a number of research projects for three years focusing on clearly articulated challenges which using a comparative ‘One Health’ approach will accelerate vaccine development.

BBSRC is not contributing any funds to this call. However, BBSRC will be making and administering the awards on behalf of the Department of Health. As such awards will be subject to standard RCUK grant terms and conditions. Applications should not exceed £1.5 million (100% FEC). The awards will be made at 80% FEC.

No capital expenditure, or equipment over £10,000, can be requested within this funding stream.

Due to the time limited nature of the funding, all proposals are required to start by 1 April 2018 and be completed by 31 March 2021. Any grant extensions beyond 31 March 2021 will only be considered under exceptional circumstances (in line with the Equality Act 2010) and will require Department of Health agreement on a case by case basis.

Please note that BBSRC New Investigator, Industrial Partnership Awards and 'Stand-alone' LINK schemes do not apply to this call.

UK Vaccine Network and ODA compliance

The UK Vaccine Network is a £120 million resource funding stream, created by the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, in June 2015 in response to the Ebola crisis to support the development of vaccines against pathogens of epidemic potential.

All activities funded through this call will form part of the UK’s ODA activities. Therefore, research proposals submitted to this call should clearly demonstrate how the primary purpose of the research will be to promote the economic development and welfare of countries on the OECD’s DAC list of ODA recipients (see external links). Guidance on ODA definitions and interpretation is available in the OECD factsheet (see external links).

Information about ODA compliance for applications is available in the RCUK guidance document (see external links).

Please note that it is anticipated that Antigua & Barbuda, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and Venezuela will graduate from the DAC list in 2017. Please refer to the FAQ document for further information about how this change may impact applications.

Eligibility

BBSRC is administering this call on behalf of the Department of Health. BBSRC’s standard eligibility criteria apply to principal investigators (PI), co-investigators (Co-I), research co-Investigators and organisations etc. Further information is available in our grants guide.

The PI on the application must be based at an eligible UK research organisation and fulfil all of BBSRC’s standard eligibility requirements as set out in our grants guide.

For the purposes of this call only BBSRC is making an exception to allow researchers from UK public sector research establishments including but not limited to: Public Health England (PHE) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to apply as a Co-I. To be eligible to apply as a Co-I the named applicant must meet comparable eligibility criteria as set out for a Co-I in our grants guide. For example, they must have significant research experience, an appointment equivalent to lecturer level or above, with responsibility for independent supervision of research. This does not reflect an expansion of the list of RCUK eligible independent research organisations, or a change to the eligibility status of individuals based at these organisations. This exception does not apply to any other current, or future, BBSRC calls. For further information about how researchers from UK Public Sector Research Establishments can take part in this call and costs that can be requested please refer to the ‘Guidelines for applicants’ document in the application downloads below.

For the purposes of this call only it is permissible to have a named Co-I from an overseas research organisation based in a country on the OECD DAC list. The international researcher must be based at a higher education research institution, or not-for-profit research intensive organisation, that has credible and significant relevant research capacity in a country on the OECD DAC list. To be eligible to apply as an international Co-I the named applicant must meet comparable eligibility criteria as set out for a UK Co-I in our grants guide. For example, they must have significant research experience, an appointment at lecturer level or above, or equivalent status, in an eligible organisation, with responsibility for independent supervision of research. This exception does not reflect a change to BBSRC eligibility criteria for international research organisations, or the individuals based at these organisations, nor does it apply to any other current or future BBSRC calls. For further information about how researchers from international research organisations in OECD DAC list countries can take part in this call and costs that can be requested please refer to the ‘Guidelines for applicants’ document.

Co-Investigators from UK public sector research establishments, or overseas research organisations, must register an account with the Joint Electron Submissions (Je-S) system before the application is submitted.

Applications that include ineligible applicants, or organisations, will be rejected without peer review.

Regulation and ethics

Research to be funded under this call must comply with all applicable regulatory requirements in the countries where it would be conducted. The research must also be carried out in accordance with relevant international and national ethical guidelines.

Approvals must be obtained as necessary in the UK and other participating countries, but all of the proposed research should be carried out in a way that is consistent with the UK’s usual ethical standards, whether it would be carried out in the UK or elsewhere.

Further details of BBSRC’s expectations are provided in the ‘Guidelines for applicants’ (see application downloads below), including specific requirements relating to the funding of research outside the UK involving animals.

How to apply

This call is closed to applications.

Information about the documents that should be included in the application and full details of the submission process is available in the ‘Guidelines for applicants’ document below.

Applications should be submitted through Je-S by 25 October 2017, 16:00 (BST).

Applicants should select the following from the Je-S menus:

  • Select Council: BBSRC
  • Select Document Type: Standard Proposal
  • Select Scheme: Standard
  • Select Call/Type/Mode: 17 One Health Approaches to Accelerate Vaccine Development

Applicants should refer to our grants guide and Je-S help text for further information.

Applications which include multiple institutions must be submitted on a single Je-S proforma. Applications submitted on multiple forms will not be accepted.

Before it is submitted, all applicants named on the Je-S form must be registered as users of the Je-S system. Applications cannot be processed if this has not been done. Guidance on how to create an account is in the Je-S Handbook.

All proposals must indicate a start date no later than 1 April 2018 and will be required to start by this date and be completed by 31 March 2021

Application downloads (for reference only)

Assessment

All applications will be checked by BBSRC to ensure that they are within the scope of the call and meet ODA eligibility requirements. Applications that are not in the scope of the call and/or do not meet ODA eligibility requirements will be rejected without peer review.

Applications will be assessed by an expert panel assisted by comments from external peer reviewers. The PI will have the opportunity to respond to the external reviewers’ comments prior to the panel meeting.

The scientific quality of the proposals will be assessed using:

  • scientific excellence including the rationale, novelty, approach and feasibility of the proposed research
  • importance and timeliness of the proposed research
  • suitability of the proposed comparative ‘One Health’ approach.

Other criteria for assessment include:

  • significance and impact of the proposed research on vaccine development
  • ODA relevance and impact
  • value for money.

Reporting and monitoring

There will be a formal monitoring process put in place for all funded projects. Grant holders will be required to submit six monthly progress reports, using a template provided by BBSRC, detailing progress against the aims and objectives of the project. On an annual basis grant holders will also be required to provide a summary of the actual expenditure on the grant against the forecast expenditure. Further information is available in the ‘Guidelines for applicants’ document.

This is in addition to the reporting requirements in the RCUK grant terms and conditions.

Timeline

Stage Date
Call opens 17 August 2017
Application deadline 25 October 2017, 16:00 (BST)
Assessment of proposals Mid-February 2018
Start date No later than 1 April 2018
End date No later than 31 March 2021

Related calls: animal health collaboration