Published: 14-08-2023 12:32 | Updated: 04-03-2024 11:38

Millions to KI from EU for new research projects

Banknotes and coins in front of the flag of the European Union
KI has been granted SEK 280 million for a total of 33 different projects. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Since the summer of 2022, KI has been granted approximately SEK 280 million for a total of 33 different projects. The funds come from several research programs within the EU, of which Horizon Europe, EU's framework program for research and innovation, is the largest.

Matthias Löhr
Matthias Löhr. Photo: NA

A novelty within Horizon Europe are Missions, which are strategically targeted research and innovation efforts within five selected societal challenges. Cancer is one such challenge for which the project PANCAID has been granted 9.8 million Euros. The project focuses on pancreatic cancer, a form of cancer that is usually only discovered when the disease has reached an advanced stage. Surgery is often not an option and pancreatic tumors in particular have been shown to be more resistant to both radiation and cytostatics than most other forms of cancer.

"In the project, we will investigate whether it is possible to identify important biomarkers through a simple blood test. This would mean that in the future it may be possible to predict the risk of pancreatic cancer or detect cancer at an early stage, even before it is visible on X-rays," says Matthias Löhr, professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology, Karolinska Institutet.

The project, which started in January 2023, is run by eight parties in 16 countries and runs for five years.

Support-projects that facilitate research

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Johanna Furuhjelm. Photo: NA

Two other projects that have also been granted funds within the Mission's area of ​​cancer are CCI4EU and ECHoS. These projects are so-called Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) whose purpose is to support research activities and facilitate cooperation, knowledge exchange and coordination between different actors. This can, for example, involve developing infrastructures, initiating networks, developing standards and models of various kinds, strategies for the dissemination and communication of research results, and more.

In both projects, KI is represented through the Karolinska Comprehensive Cancer Center (KCCC), which is a collaboration between Karolinska University Hospital and KI.

"The ECHoS project will create conditions to achieve the goal that each EU country will have a so-called Cancer Mission Hub by the year 2025. The idea is that they will act as a link between regional, national and European bodies to accelerate progress and increase impact in the fight against cancer. The project is to develop a type of blue print that describes what a Cancer Mission Hub is, and Karolinska CCC's part in the work includes, among other things, identifying the stakeholders who need to be part of a National Cancer Mission Hub and defining their roles. We will also reach out broadly to everyone involved in cancer care and research, and also citizens," explains Johanna Furuhjelm, research coordinator at Cancer Research KI.

The second project, CCI4EU, is about reducing inequalities between and within countries in terms of access to research, innovation and quality care. Here, Karolinska CCC together with the German Cancer Society (DKG) is leading the work package that strives to define criteria and quality indicators for an EU common accreditation standard that assesses the degree of maturity of Comprehensive Cancer Infrastructures (CCI) in the various member countries.

Research Support Office guides in a complex landscape

Carolina Kristell
Carolina Kristell. Photo: Aida Schievelbein

The support given at KI Research Support Office is crucial to those applying for these important research grants.

"The funding landscape is very complex and therefore we help guide our researchers in this tricky jungle, among other things by identifying which calls are available, giving advice on which rules apply to these and how to formulate the application itself," says Carolina Kristell, coordinator within EU-policy and -funding at the Research Support Office.

The office consists of around 50 employees with both broad competence and detailed expertise in everything related to the research process.

"We support in everything from developing an idea for an application so that it meets the criteria in the specific call, to data management, ethics, business cooperation, financial follow-ups and also when it comes to law and contracts," says Carolina Kristell.

Granted projects where KI has received support from the EU

  • Health Data Sweden (HDS)
  • Testing and Experimentation Facility for Health AI and Robotics (TEF-Health)
  • European Federation for Cancer Images (EUCAIM)
  • Personalised Cancer Medicine for all EU citizens (PCM4EU)
  • Vaccinating Europe to protect against the cancers caused by HPV (PROTECT-EUROPE)
  • PartnERship to Contrast HPV (PERCH)
  • GUIding multi-moDal thErapies against MRD by liquid biopsies (GUIDE.MRD)
  • Mitigating Antimalarial Resistance Consortium in South-East Africa (MARC SE-Africa)
  • Building resilient research ethics, Diagnostics and medicines regulatory capacity during routine and public health emergency periods (BREEDIME) 
  • improving Reproducibility In SciencE (iRISE)
  • Democratising and making sense out of heterogeneous scholarly content (SciLake)
  • A novel class of clinical immune checkpoint inhibitors (REPRESSIT)
  • A revolutionary cell programming platform based on the targeted nano-delivery of a transposon gene editing system (NANO-ENGINE)
  • 2D Material-Based Multiple Oncotherapy Against Metastatic Disease Using a Radically New Computed Tomography Approach (PERSEUS)
  • A dynamic, ultra-stable, random-access RNA retrieval database (DURA-store)
  • MultiomIcs based Risk stratification of Atherosclerotic CardiovascuLar disEase (MIRACLE)
  • PANcreatic CAncer Initial Detection via liquid biopsy (PANCAID)
  • Improving and upscaling primary prevention of cancer by addressing childhood obesity through implementation research - the PREVENT approach (PREVENT)
  • Establishing of Cancer Mission Hubs: Networks and Synergies (ECHoS)
  • Building REsilience against MEntal illness during ENDocrine-sensitive life stages (Re-MEND)  
  • Youth co-Production for sustainable Engagement and Empowerment in health (YiPEE)
  • CArdiovascularREsolution of INflammation to promote HEALTH (CARE-IN-HEALTH)
  • Inflammation in human early life: targeting impacts on life-course health (INITIALISE)
  • Early Interception of Inflammatory-mediated Type 2 Diabetes (INTERCEPT-T2D)
  • Maximising Impact of Prescription Drugs in Rheumatoid Arthritis (SQUEEZE)
  • More Effectively Using Registries to suppOrt PAtient-centered Regulatory and HTA decision-making (More-EUROPA)
  • Immunopeptidomics-based Development of Next-Generation Bacterial mRNA Vaccines (BAXERNA 2.0)
  • Multi-Pillar Framework for children Anti-Obesity Behavior building on an EU biobank, Micro Moments and Mobile Recommendation Systems (BIO-STREAMS)
  • Stratification of Patients using advanced Integrative modeling of Data Routinely acquired for diagnosing Rheumatic complaints (SPIDeRR)
  • Stratification of Rheumatoid Arthritis: CompuTational models to personalise mAnagement strategies for difFIcult-to-Treat disease (STRATA-FIT)