Bando di ricerca internazionale 2020



The Associazione Gruppo Famiglie Dravet (GFD) is a major non-profit Italian lay organization dedicated to support the highest quality basic and clinical research on Dravet syndrome (DS). 

Born from the will of the parents in 2010, it has ever since raised public awareness of DS and acted as a catalyst to prompt the attention and interest of the scientific community towards the syndrome. The GFD is a founding member of the Dravet Syndrome European Federation that gathers together 17 patient organizations. 

The GFD is currently accepting applications for research grants that will increase our knowledge of DS, pave the way to new potential treatments and, ultimately, improve the quality of life of people living with DS.

Funds are made available thanks to contributions from the GFD, Apoyo Dravet, Dravet Syndrom e.V, Dravet Syndrome UK, Stichting Dravet Syndroom Nederland/Vlaanderen and Swiss Dravet Syndrome Association (SDSA).

The GFD is the grant manager of the call whereas the GFD’s Scientific Committee oversees the research grant program and makes funding recommendations to the Lay Review Board (LRC). The LRC involves parents and members of Boards of Directors of the GFD and partner organizations, who will choose the proposal/s that better meet/s the scope and aims of the Call.


Call opens

January 8, 2021

Deadline for LoIs submission

March 1, 2021

Invitation of Full Proposals

April 2, 2021

Deadline for submission of Full Proposals

May 28, 2021

Anticipated award announcement

July 30, 2021

Project start date

November 2021



Budget may be up to 125.000 € 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 overheads, bench fees or indirect costs. Applicants are invited to contact the grant manager at , in case their project’s period does not match the conditions here envisaged or, in any case they need guidance about the call’s requirements.

  • 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 and/or to follow response to treatments
  • Clinical studies with the purpose of understanding:
    • understanding development, progression and patterns of comorbidities
    • understanding convulsive vs non-convulsive status epilepticus and developing recommendations/guidelines for optimal treatment.
    • understanding cluster seizures and developing recommendations for optimal treatment
    • defining new clinical endpoints/outcome measures to be employed in clinical trials
  • Projects that investigate the mechanisms of SUDEP in DS
  • Projects aimed at understand drug interactions in 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. However, 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 the development of treatments for DS should be clearly stated. 

The maximum duration of the project is two years. Multi-center studies involving maximum two partners are allowed.

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, applicants are informed that, under a specific agreement between the GFD and the Telethon Network of Genetic Biobanks (TNGB), biological samples and associated clinical data from individuals with DS are being collected, stored and offered to the scientific community. To identify biospecimens of interest, applicants can refer to the online catalogue of the TNGB:

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


Proposals will undergo a three-step evaluation. First, Letters of Intent (LoIs) will be evaluated by the GFD Scientific Committee (’associazione/l-associazione/commissione-scientifica.html) 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 proposals. 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 proposals will be evaluated by the Scientific Committee on the basis of the following criteria: scientific quality, relevance, innovation of approaches, logic of experimental plan and methods, likelihood of success, operational capacity, and impact on patients. 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, 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.

Both scientific and lay reviewers will be bound to strict confidentiality about the matters that will come to their knowledge during the review process.


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. 
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 (PDF).

International applicants are welcome 

All documents must be submitted in English. The research can be conducted in the United States, countries of the European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Japan, or Israel, and in other countries where adequate supervision of grant administration is possible.

Administrative issues 

The GFD will award funds to the Host Institution’s administrative body. No funds will be awarded by GFD to the Host Institution until both parties will have signed a specific grant agreement including the following provisions: 1) the project’s start date will have to be not later than November 2021; 2) no overheads will be covered; 3) intellectual property and revenue-sharing would be matter of post-award negotiations between the GFD and the awardee’s Institution. 

GFD and/or its representatives/consultants reserve the right to visit the Host Institution before releasing the funds and at any time during the grant period.

The awardee/s will be required to provide two mid-term scientific reports (at month 8 and 16) and a final report at the end of the funding period, including financial details to substantiate the use of the awarded funds. Changes to this general rule can be applied on a case-by-case basis according to project’s milestones. Furthermore, GFD requires awardee/s to diligently inform whenever delays, changes or unexpected results arise. 

It is anticipated that GFD will require that awardee/s acknowledge the GFD and all its partners in any publication based on the results obtained through their financial support. Finally, the GFD and its partners may invite the awardee/s to present their findings at their family conference meetings.

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, please contact: 

Further anticipated information 
  • If study involves humans, copies of the Informed Consent will be required, and if study involves humans or animals the Institutional Review Board (Ethics Committee) approvals will be required from each site involved in the study before payment.
  • Clinical drug trials must meet the requirements established by the European Medicine Agency (EMA) and/or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • All publications resulting from the research funded must acknowledge the GFD and all its partners, and should be provided to them when published for dissemination.
  • Generally, grant recipient/s will receive 24-month funding in four stages: ¼ at start of the project; ¼ at 8 months after the first mid-term scientific and administrative reports are submitted and approved; ¼ at 16 months after the second mid-term scientific and administrative reports are submitted and approved; and the final ¼ payment at the conclusion of the grant after final scientific and financial reports are submitted and approved. The PI must submit a final scientific & financial report within three months from the end of the grant period unless an extension is granted. Grant recipients not in compliance with this requirement may forfeit their final payment. 
  • The GFD must be informed immediately of any change to the status of the PI or other important contributors to the project which might affect their ability to comply with grant conditions. 
  • All changes to the research plan and corresponding budget allocation, may it occur, must be explained and agreed in advance with the GFD. Changes made without prior acceptance by the GFD may lead to a forfeiture of funds due or termination of the grant award.
  • It is recommended that research resources, including model organisms, developed under this funding initiative must be shared. Please include a sharing plan in your proposal. Furthermore, awardees should strive to ensure the earliest possible publication of the results of their research, unless commercial or intellectual property considerations (e.g. patent application) justify delay.



Letters of Intent - Submission Guidelines

  • 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 (PDF)
  • 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  New applicants are requested to register 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 2020