Bando di ricerca internazionale 2019



The Associazione Gruppo Famiglie Dravet (GFD), Italy is dedicated to support the highest quality basic or clinical research on Dravet syndrome (DS). In pursuing its objective, this year, GFD will select and support research projects 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. Funds were made available thanks to contributions from the GFD and the Swiss Dravet Syndrome Association (SDSA).


2019 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 and SDSA’s Board of Directors.

Applications are reviewed once per year.


Deadline for receipt of LoI  May 17, 2019 
Full Application invitation  June 17, 2019 
Deadline for receipt of Applications  July 23, 2019 
Anticipated award announcement  Second half October  2019 
Project start date  February 2020 



Up to 110.000 € for a two-year project.  Being a not for profit organization that relies on donations and families’ fundraising, GFD is not in the position to cover overhead, bench fees or indirect costs.


Relevance. Highest priority will be given to DS-specific basic, pre-clinical and clinical research that falls into the following:                

  • Projects that explore novel research ideas on the mechanisms of DS;
  • Projects that test potential therapies to prevent or treat DS;
  • Projects aimed at identifying new molecular biomarkers that will ideally help to understand/predict the disease course an/or to follow response to treatments;
  • Clinical studies with the purpose of understanding convulsive vs non-convulsive status epilepticus and cluster seizure or of defining new clinical endpoints/outcome measures to be employed in clinical trials;
  • Projects that investigate the mechanisms of SUDEP.

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 a two-year project period: 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 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.


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 years  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, in Italian or English language only, highlighting the following conditions: 1) the project’s start date will have to be not later than February  2020; 2) no overhead will be covered; 3) Intellectual property- and revenue- sharing would be matter of post-award negotiations between the GFD and the awardee’s Institution.


Management of the Call Please, note that the this grant call is managed for the GFD by a professional consulting firm, namely Science Compass, that provides services to enable grant calls and peer review in the field of biomedicine. For more information visit: sciencecompass or write to Dr. Francesca Sofia, PhD at





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 years may use their existing login or may retrieve it from the system using their registered email.