NEURON Joint Call for Proposals 2009

"Development and advancement in methods and technologies towards the understanding of brain diseases"

11 funding organizations participated in ERA-Net NEURON joint call for proposals "Development and advancement in methods and technologies towards the understanding of brain diseases". They consented on a joint implementation process, which is depicted in the following summary.

Funding organizations




Austrian Science Fund (FWF)


Academy of Finland (AKA)


National Research Agency (ANR)


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


Chief Scientist Office, Israel Ministry of Health (CSO-MOH)


Ministry of Health (MOH)


National Research Fund (FNR)


National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR)


National Centre for Programme Management (CNMP)


Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN)


Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII)




The topic of the second NEURON call was shaped during a scientific workshop with renowned international experts in the area and the NEURON Scientific Advisory Board. The call addressed the development and advancement in methods and technologies towards the understanding of the brain and its diseases. The scope of this call was not the funding of pure technology development per se. Research projects had to be hypothesis-driven, combine cutting-edge technological developments with a clear, substantial research question.



January 19, 2009

Call for proposals published 

March 9, 2009

Deadline for submission of pre-proposals

May 4, 2009

Selection of a short list of 29 pre-proposals

June 15, 2009

Deadline for submission of full proposals

September 23, 2009

Peer Reviewer Panel meeting, ranking list

October 13, 2009

Funding decision

February 1, 2010

Start of projects


Proposal submission

Research consortia were to consist of 3 - 5 research groups from at least 3 NEURON partner countries. The two-step process required submission of short pre-proposals describing the research idea. From these a short list was selected and the respective consortia invited to submit full proposals. Both pre- and full proposals had to be submitted by the coordinator electronically and in a few paper copies. A proposal template and guidelines were provided by the Joint Call Secretariat in order to support the applicants in terms of the proposal format.

Peer Review

In order to properly cover all aspects of the broad topic, about 30 experts were recruited from NEURON partner countries and beyond. Each pre-proposal was assessed in writing by at least 2, most of them by 3 evaluators. The assessments were based on the criteria listed in the call for proposals and consisted of a global score of 1-4 (1 being best) and additional comments. The assessments were used as a basis for selecting 29 pre-proposals whose coordinators were invited by the Joint Call Secretariat to submit full proposals. For each of those, 3 independent written assessments were collected from 11 experts who served on the Peer Review Panel (PRP). During a PRP meeting, each of the proposals was discussed thoroughly, and eventually 16 were recommended for funding and ranked.

Funding decision

The final funding decision was made by the funding bodies participating in the joint call for proposals. Starting with the best proposal and following the ranking list, as many proposals were selected for funding as the budgetary constraints of each funding organization allowed for.

In result of this step, 10 projects comprising 43 research groups (Principal Investigators) from 8 countries were successful. The total funding volume amounted to about 10 million euros for 3 years.

In the last step, the Principal Investigators were to contact the respective funding body in their country and to fulfill the legal and administrative requirements in order to receive the grant.

The projects started in February 2010.