Call for Proposals

The ACR and EULAR are reviewing proposals for new collaborative projects in the following areas:

  • Classification criteria including the revision or revisiting of old criteria sets that are no longer working due to shifts in disease understanding or management; and
  • Response criteria for evaluating meaningful change in disease status for use in clinical trials and possibly clinical practice.

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated based on:

  • Relevance to the practice of rheumatology, quality of life of patients, and conduct of scientific studies
  • Compliance with methodological standards (see examples in the Criteria Development Checklist)
  • Scientific rigor

Proposals that fall into one of these categories will be favored:

  1. A disease with high prevalence (i.e., common rheumatic diseases)
  2. A less prevalent disease with a large impact on morbidity or mortality (e.g., rare connective tissue diseases)
  3. A disease for which criteria exist but are suboptimal or for which no criteria exist
  4. Other criteria projects that don’t meet categories 1-3 but advance the criteria development field by using innovative methods

2020 - 2021 Timeline for Proposal Submissions

May 11, 2020
Deadline for the submission of a Declaration of Interest, project outline (maximum three pages), and disclosure / NIH biographical sketch information, including the following:

  • Project title (e.g., development of criteria for…);
  • Project description, including a plan for validation of the proposed criteria in an independent data set that includes both cases and controls;
  • Justification of need for project;
  • Suggested PIs (one each from ACR and EULAR), with brief explanation of their relevant experience and expertise;
  • Suggested collaborators (at minimum, drawn from North America and at least three European countries), with brief explanation of their relevant experience and expertise;
  • A minimum of two patients and one health professional are required to be included in any Task Force aiming at development of criteria for a specific disease;
  • A completed disclosure form for each person who would be intellectually involved in the project;
  • An NIH biographical sketch for each person who would be intellectually involved in the project (or resume, for patients);
  • Opportunities for trainee involvement; and
  • Anticipated overall budget and projected timeline.

Receipt of Declarations of Interest, project outlines and disclosure / NIH biographical sketch information will be acknowledged by reply email. By May 26, 2020, the ACR and EULAR will review the submitted Declarations of Interest and send formal invitations to investigators from whom full proposals are desired.

September 10, 2020
Full proposals are due.

  • 10 pages maximum (this does not include appendices like references but should include project details like budget)
  • 1" margins, 12 pt. font, single-spaced

September 2020 – March 2021
ACR and EULAR committees and leadership will review project proposal(s) and vote on whether to fund project(s). Applicants will be notified whether a project has been approved for funding by March 31, 2021.

July 2021
Funding for projects becomes available; work begins.

Terms of the Award / Project Funding

Joint funding from ACR and EULAR may be approved for one to two projects.  Project proposals will be judged on their merits; however, it is possible that no projects will be funded, depending on the quality of the proposals received.  

Each proposal should include an itemized budget for total project funding needs.  This information will be evaluated when the proposals are reviewed.  The ACR will fund a maximum of $65,000 per project.  EULAR support will be equal to ACR funding (i.e., equivalent amount, in Euros).  EULAR funding must primarily be allocated to meeting and related travel expenses, with the balance supporting European fellows (up to €15,000) and administrative costs (up to €5,000). Indirect/overhead costs and salary support should not be included in project budgets.

Stipulations to the funding of all joint criteria/points to consider projects include but are not limited to the completion of regular progress reports submitted to the ACR and EULAR by April 15 of every year throughout the course of the project (or more often, if requested), potential for presentation during the ACR and/or EULAR Annual Scientific Meetings, and submission of a completed manuscript to either Arthritis and Rheumatology or the Annals of Rheumatic Disease, as directed by ACR and EULAR for each project, with the intention of joint publication.

Disclosures and Conflict of Interest Requirements

A completed disclosure form must be submitted with the Declaration of Interest for each person who would be intellectually involved in the project. ALL relationships must be disclosed on this form, regardless of whether they might constitute conflict. Individuals should ensure that all financial relationships with companies that are related in any way with the disease for which criteria are being developed are included, as well as any other relationships they have. Examples include, but are not limited to, companies making drugs to treat the disease or making assays, biomarkers, or other tools used for diagnosis, prognosis or response to treatment. 

The ACR and EULAR PIs must be free of conflict of interest related to the criteria proposal. In addition, no more than 49% of the project development team may have conflicts of interest related to the criteria proposal. 

The proposal review process will include an evaluation of whether the PIs are free of conflict of interest and the team has less than 49% members with potential conflict of interest. Financial relationships will be examined closely by proposal reviewers to determine whether the relationship could constitute a conflict of interest. Examples of potential conflict of interest include relationship with a company making a drug known to affect a specific biomarker that might be considered in the response criteria (e.g., anti-IL6 effect on CRP); or a company making an assay or biomarker or other testing modality used to diagnose the disease (in the case of classification criteria) or used to assess response to treatment (in the case of response criteria). In addition, the proposed project group will be examined for balance to ensure that various viewpoints are represented, and the final product is not likely to be biased because of potential conflicts within the group.

Declaration of Interest and Full Proposal Submissions

Please submit your Declaration of Interest, project outline, disclosures and CVs by May 11, 2020, and your full proposal - if invited by the ACR and EULAR - by September 10, 2020, to Regina Parker at rparker@rheumatology.org.

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