Bando di ricerca internazionale - 2018



The Associazione Gruppo Famiglie Dravet (GFD) is dedicated to support the highest quality basic or clinical research on Dravet syndrome (DS). In pursuing its objective, this year, GFD will make available funds for research projects and post-doctoral fellowships aimed at understanding the pathogenesis of Dravet syndrome and at paving the way to new treatments that will ultimately lead to better quality of life for people with DS.


2018 Funding Cycle

GFD’s Scientific Committee oversees the research grant program and makes funding recommendations to the Lay Review Board that is made up of parents some of whom are also members of GFD’s Board of Directors.

Applications are reviewed once per year.


Deadline for receipt of LoI  May 18, 2018 NA
Full Application invitation June 13, 2018 NA
Deadline for receipt of Applications  July 18, 2018 July 18, 2018 
Anticipated award announcement  October 18, 2018  October 18, 2018
Project start date  January 2019  January 2019




Up to 50.000 € for a one-year project.   

Being a not for profit organization, GFD is not in the position to cover overhead, bench fees or indirect costs.


Relevance. Highest priority will be given to proposals that explore novel research ideas and hypotheses on the mechanisms and potential treatments of DS. Specifically, this Call solicits innovative explorative projects that are not currently funded by other agencies because of their preliminary nature. It is expected that the results originating from this type of research will lay the basis of future proposals to larger funding agencies.

Notwithstanding, applying the same criteria of scientific quality and innovation, the co-funding of projects that are currently funded by other agencies, might be taken into consideration provided that there is not overlap with already covered activities/aims, i.e. GFD funds will support additional and essential aims. In either case, the added value and the impact on disease understanding or on development of treatments for DS should be clearly stated. Proposals must have clear aims achievable within one year: a well-defined and feasible project timeline must be presented including milestones and contingency plans. 

A strategy to secure subsequent funding must also be presented.

If necessary, access to relevant, well-characterized patient populations or suitable biomaterial collections must be demonstrated. In this regard, please know that the GFD has an agreement with the Telethon Network of Genetic Biobanks (TNGB), by which biological samples and related clinical data from individuals with Dravet syndrome are collected, preserved and offered to the scientific community. Interested applicants can refer to the online catalogue of the TNGB, to identify biosamples to employ in their proposed research.

Please, note that full applications proposing clinical programs will be requested for the approval of the Institutional Ethics Committee.


Evaluation. A three-step evaluation process will be issued. First, Letters of Intent (LoIs) will be evaluated by the GFD Scientific Committee for scientific quality, relevance and potential to generate significant knowledge coherent with the aims of the Call. Selected LoIs will be invited to submit full projects. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of this first evaluation step by email. No other written feedback will be provided to applicants at this stage.

During the second step, full projects will be evaluated by the Scientific Committee on the basis of the following criteria: scientific quality, appropriateness of approaches, logic of experimental plan and methods, likelihood of success and long-term sustainability of the research program. Each proposal will receive a score at this stage and a final rank will be built upon. The proposals falling above the funding threshold established by the Scientific Committee (i.e. fundable projects) will enter the third and last evaluation step by the GFD Lay Review Committee (LRC). The LRC will choose among the fundable proposals, those that better suit the scope and aims of the Call. All applicants will receive a written feedback at the end of the evaluation process. Reviewers will be bound to strict confidentiality about the matters that come to their knowledge during the review process.

The number of awards is contingent upon the availability of funds.


Eligibility. To be eligible for this award, applicants must be:

  • Scientifically independent (early career investigators, i.e. senior post-doctoral fellows, research associates and assistant professors, are eligible for this Call provided that their salary is covered by the Host Institution throughout the funding period Host Institutions must sign a formal declaration);
  • Affiliated with a public or private non-profit research institution


Online submission. LoI can be submitted online only at LINK. New applicants are requested to register themselves in order to receive their personal login; applicants from last year (2017) may use their existing login or may retrieve it from the system using their registered email.


Host Institution Agreement. Applicant’s Host Institution (HI) is required to sign a letter of agreement that must be printed on paper bearing the official letterhead of the HI itself and uploaded as pdf in the appropriate section of the GFD grant management system.

A template of the HI Agreement can be downloaded here 


International applicants are welcome. All documents must be submitted in English.

The awardees will be required to provide an interim scientific report and a final report at the end of the funding period, including financial details as a proof of the use of the awarded funds. Furthermore, GFD kindly asks awardees to diligently inform whenever delays, changes or unexpected results arise. It is anticipated that GFD might invite the awardees to present their findings at its annual family meeting.


Grant agreement. Awardees and their Institutions will be asked to sign a Grant Agreement highlighting the following conditions: 1) the project’s start date will have to be not later than January 2019; 2) no overhead will be covered; 3) Intellectual property- and revenue- sharing will be agreed among the parties.



Letters of Intent have to include:

  • Title of the project
  • Keywords (between 3 and 5 keywords that highlight the proposal’s topics)
  • Applicant (name, position held at the Host Institution, contacts, curriculum vitae)
  • Host Institution 
  • Current and pending support (all current and pending funding for the Applicant and his/her co-investigators)
  • Letter of Intent (max 8000 chars): it is meant to describe the project’s goals, how they will be tested, the expected results and the impact this research will have on the field of DS in terms of increasing knowledge and/or developing new potential treatments.


Inquiries. Questions about the present Call and the guidelines for submission are welcome and can be submitted by email at .


Online submission. LoI can be submitted online only at LINK. New applicants are requested to register themselves in order to receive their personal login; applicants from last year (2017) may use their existing login or may retrieve it from the system using their registered email.






GFD’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program supports early career investigators, either physicians or scientists, committed to research on DS. Completion of doctoral degree (Ph.D. or equivalent) is mandatory. The fellowship is intended to support a full-time research effort.

Successful applicants will receive a grant of 30.000 € to cover salary for one-year. Award funds are made to the Host Institution. Fellows may receive supplemental salary from another source such as institutional funds provided there is no scientific overlap or conflict of commitment to DS research. However, being GFD a not for profit organization, it is not in the position to compensate Host Institutions for administering the fellowship. Overhead, bench fees or indirect costs will not be covered.

Scientists of all nationalities may apply to this call.

The number of awards is contingent upon the availability of funds.

Submission of an interim and final report will be due at respectively six months from start and 30 days after completion of the fellowship.


Relevance. The aim of this funding opportunity is to support the research training and/or activity of scientists who have the potential to bring new energies and innovative ideas to the field of DS. Candidates may propose basic, translational and clinical research activities that will increase our understanding of DS, its characteristics and mechanisms, and will ultimately pave the way to new treatments. Please, note that the approval of the Institutional Ethics Committee will be requested for clinical programs.


Eligibility. To be eligible for this call, the following criteria must be met:

- Doctorate or comparable academic degree (Ph.D., MD or equivalent) completed.

- Be in a supervised postdoctoral research training position for the duration of the award.

The applicants should provide:

- Letter from the Host Institution (HI Letter) confirming that the necessary research facilities will be available for the fellow. The HI Letter should mention the research focus and duration of the fellowship; candidates are kindly advised to agree on these details with the intended Host Institution before applying.

- A letter of support from the Host Supervisor, i.e. the senior investigator who will mentor/supervise the fellow at the Host Institution for the duration of the fellowship, clearly stating that funds to conduct the proposed research are available;

- Two recommendation letters from established investigators who know the candidate and his/her scientific work and standing.

- Research project coherent with the scopes of the call.


Evaluation. Candidates will be selected on the basis of both their academic qualification and the motivation and scientific aims that lay the bases of their application. Specifically, applications will be evaluated on:

  • Academic record and motivation of the candidate: the accomplishments of the candidate relative to previous research work and his/her potential of future scientific development and impact in the field of DS; potential of scientific leadership based on candidates’ motivation, goals and achievements.
  • Quality of the proposed research: originality and innovation potential of the research outline (significance for the advancement of the field, convincing choice of methods, prospects for academic training/development of the applicant, clear focus and feasibility of realization within the fellowship period, intellectual contribution of the candidate to the proposed research project).
  • Quality of the host lab and environment: access to infrastructure and collaborators; track record of the host supervisor.


Deadline. Applications can only be submitted by email only at . The completed application form, including the necessary additional documents, should be submitted not later than July 18, 2018.

 Inquiries. Questions about the present Call and the guidelines for submission are welcome and can be submitted by email at .



Please, submit your application via email (at: ) as a single pdf file. Carefully follow the instructions below.

Use English language only.

Formatting guidelines:

 Font: Times New Roman

Type font: 12 point

Spacing: Single-spaced between lines of text (please, do not exceed the character number limitations specified (which include spaces).



Candidates are requested to limit the number of pictures to two which have to be included within the pdf. Do not copy sections of already published papers.


Applications must contain the following information divided into numbered paragraphs:

  1. Candidate’s details (Name, Degree, Date of Birth, Current Host Institution, Proposed Host Institution - if different from current, Candidate’s contact details)
  2. Host Supervisor’s details (Name, Title, Date of Birth, Host Institution, Position at the Host Institution, Contact details)
  3. Candidate’s biosketch including track record, achievements and personal/motivation statement (max 4000 chars)
  4. Title of project (max 250 chars)
  5. Date of project’s start and end
  6. Project – background and rationale; specific aims; methodologies; expected results; role of candidate (max 8,000 chars)
  7. Project’s abstract – plus lay abstract (max 2000 chars each)
  8. Project’s total budget – plus grants and funding agencies that support the project and duration


When submitting the application, candidates must enclose the following documents within the same email:

  • Host Institution – HI Letter
  • Letter of support from the host supervisor


Recommendation letters:

Finally, two recommendation letters are requested and must be signed and sent to by the investigators who write them (please, advise your referees that the email subject must carry the candidate’s name).

Please note that applications that will be considered incomplete due to the lack of any of the documents and/or information mentioned above, will not be accepted.




Management of the Call

Please, note that the present Call is managed by an independent professional consulting firm, namely Science Compass, that provides services for grant-making and peer review in the field of biomedicine. To know more visit: or write to Dr. Francesca Sofia, PhD at



We inform you that your personal data submitted through your application, sent in reply to the GFD Call for Proposals 2018, will be processed by the Data Controller of GRUPPO FAMIGLIE DRAVET (GFD) Onlus in pursuance of the Legislative Decree 196/2003 (Code regarding the protection of personal data). The personal data will be processed electronically or manually in such a way to ensure security and confidentiality of the data.

The Chairman of GFD - the Data Controller - is responsible for personal data processing and will treat the data in accordance with regulatory requirements, ensuring full compliance with the law.

Personal data will be processed and used for the sole purpose of the GFD Call for Proposal 2018 and will not be communicated or disseminated to any third parties. The processed data may be disclosed to members of the Scientific and Lay Review Committees who will be appointed for the purposes of the Call and will manage the data in accordance to strict confidentiality rules. Their names and affiliations are available on the web site

The provision of data is optional, but refusal may prevent the accomplishment of the aims of the Call and may result in exclusion from review.

At any time you can contact the Data Controller (email at:  ) in order to request the cancellation, destruction, updating, opposition for legitimate reasons, rectification, access or to exercise any other rights under the article 7 of the Privacy Code, or to request an updated list of those appointed in charge of data processing.