ECCO Fellowships and Grants Report

Sebastian Zeissig, SciCom Chair

Sebastian Zeissig 

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 supports numerous funding schemes with different scopes including ECCO Fellowships, Grants, and Travel Awards.

ECCO'22 Pioneer Award

This year, exceptionally, two ECCO Pioneer Awards were awarded (since the call had to be halted in 2019 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic):

Principal investigators Salomé S. Pinho (Porto, Portugal) and Harry Sokol (Paris, France) received the ECCO Pioneer Award for the project GLYCANTALK: Glycans as the crosstalk between gut microbiome and immune response: mechanisms and potential therapeutic applications in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Furthermore, principal investigators Annemarie de Vries (Rotterdam, the Netherlands) and Alison Simmons (Oxford, United Kingdom) received the ECCO Pioneer Award for the project Identification of markers to predict post-operative disease recurrence in Crohn's Disease.

We are happy to announce that the new call for the Pioneer Award can be found on the ECCO Website, with the increased budget of EUR 300,000.- (as of 2021).

ECCO'22 Multi-Year Research Grant

One exceptional ECCO Multi-Year Research Grant was awarded to the principal investigators Marianne Spalinger (Zurich, Switzerland) and Raja Atreya (Erlangen, Germany) for their project The PTPN2 loss-of-function variant as predictor of therapeutic response to JAK-inhibitor therapy in IBD. The total amount of the award is EUR 200,000.-.

ECCO Fellowships, Grants and Travel Awards

This year’s ECCO Awards included eight 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, four ECCO Travel Awards, one D-ECCO Travel Award and one N-ECCO Travel Award. In addition, the ECCO-IBUS (International Bowel Ultrasound Group) Intestinal Ultrasound Research Grant was awarded to three recipients. All proposals submitted to ECCO were peer reviewed by a panel of expert reviewers.

ECCO'22 Grants

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

  1. Celia Escudero-Hernández (Kiel, Germany) Intestinal epithelial cell stress modulates enteric fibroblastic and neuronal profiles in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
  2. Elsa van Wassenaer (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) Early prediction of treatment success in pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
  3. Margarita Papatheodoridi (London, United Kingdom) Deciphering the role of matrikines in Crohn’s Disease (CD) fibrostenosis: implications for future use as prognostic and therapeutic targets.
  4. Robert Venning Bryant (Adelaide, Australia) Examining a novel sulphide-reducing diet As Therapy in Ulcerative Colitis (EAT-UC trial).
  5. Ferdinando D’Amico (Milan, Italy) Comparative accuracy of transperineal ultrasound (TPUS) versus magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for perianal Crohn’s disease: a prospective observational longitudinal cohort study.
  6. Joep van Oostrom (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) A prospective, open-label pilot study to evaluate effector mechanisms of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in patients with moderate to severe Ulcerative Colitis: the PARADOX study ( oderate ry mechanisms in pAtients with oderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis treated with hyperbaric Oxygen therapy).
  7. Urs Mörbe (Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark) Deciphering the role of plasmacytoid dendritic cells in gut-associated lymphoid tissues during homeostasis and Crohn’s Disease.
  8. Silvia Cerantola (Padova, Italy) Decoding the neuroimmune crosstalk in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Each of these ECCO Grants is for EUR 80,000.-.

ECCO'22 Fellowships

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

  1. Sulak Anandabaskaran (Sydney, Australia) Defining the role of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells in perianal fistula.
  2. Vittoria Bellato (Rome, Italy) End to end versus side to side ileocolic anastomosis in Crohn’s Disease.

The award is for EUR 60,000.- per Fellowship.

ECCO'22 Travel Awards

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 between Europe and Asia in the field of IBD. Awardees are Chin Kimg Tan (Singapore, Singapore) and Gabriele Dragoni (Florence, Italy).

In addition, six Travel Award applications were funded this year. Four ECCO Travel Awards went to:

  1. Richard Ingram (Calgary, Canada)
  2. Cristiana Sequeira (Setubal, Portugal)
  3. Ibrahim Fadwa Adel Elshahat (Alexandria, Egypt)
  4. Ugo Grossi (Treviso, Italy)

Suzanne van Zundert (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) received the D-ECCO Travel Award, and Simona Fourie (Oxford, United Kingdom) 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 offer an excellent opportunity to learn from other practices and we therefore urge everyone to apply for these awards.

One N-ECCO Research Grant 2022 was awarded, to Rosanna Irene Comoretto (Torino, Italy) for the project Caring and management of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: a focus on specialist nursing interventions. The budget for the N-ECCO Research Grant is EUR 20,000.-.

ECCO-IBUS Intestinal Ultrasound Research Grant

The aim of this grant, awarded jointly by ECCO and IBUS, is to support clinical excellence in the investigation of the utility of intestinal ultrasound in the assessment of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Three successful investigators and their teams received awards:

1st prize: Jennifer DeBruyn and team from Canada (EUR 20,000.-) for the project Intestinal ultrasound monitoring of response to biologics in pediatric Crohn’s Disease.

2nd prize: Maarten Pruijt and team from Amsterdam (EUR 10,000.-) for the project PredIctioN and cloSe monItorinG of postoperative recurrence by intestinal ultrasound after ileocecal resection in CroHn’s disease patienTs: the INSIGHT study

3rd prize: Bram Verstockt and team from Belgium (EUR 10,000.-) for the project Intestinal bowel ultrasound in acute severe Ulcerative Colitis, the TABASCO study

ECCO'23 Fellowships, Grants and Travel Awards

Another call for Grants is already open to all ECCO Members. You can find out more at https://www.ecco-ibd.eu/science/fellowships-and-grants

In the meantime, we wish this year’s awardees great success with their projects and look forward to the presentation of the results at forthcoming ECCO Congresses.

Posted in ECCO News, SciCom, Committee News, Congress News, ECCO'22, Volume 17, Issue 1