Chronic and often painful rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases disable millions of people in the EU and worldwide.
The causes of more than 200 of these conditions are still unknown, and there are no cures. Researchers are tasked to understand the causes and characteristics of this disease group so that better prevention strategies and treatments can be developed.
But support for research varies across Europe. Under the umbrella of its new Virtual Research Centre, the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) launched a new Consultation Service that will match clinical researchers with research experts to help them develop high-quality research projects that can make a difference.
About the new EULAR consultation service
The EULAR Consultation Service will be offered though the newly created EULAR Virtual Research Centre (VRC).
The service is part of a series of research support opportunities EULAR will offer to support investigators across Europe interested in studying research questions that help address the needs of people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs)."
Dr Iain B. McInnes, Professor and President, EULAR, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
"Not all researchers have the opportunity to receive expert advice on their clinical research projects from experienced researchers. This led us to set up this service."
Much research is needed, including better ways to prevent these conditions, identify risk factors, and diagnose these diseases earlier. Such improvements will also help to alleviate the effects of other chronic diseases that often concur with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and depression.
The EULAR Consultation Service will provide research advice for investigators to improve the quality of their clinical research focused on RMDs. Applicants will be matched with consultants who are successful and highly experienced investigators with experience in the area of need.
Service areas will range from advice on study design to data analysis and the reporting of research results, study protocol design, and scientific communication.
The service will be available to investigators who are currently resident and working in EULAR-affiliated countries.
"We invite applications from a diverse pool of scientists with diverse backgrounds across racial and ethnic groups that may be underrepresented in RMD research," says Désirée van der Heijde, Professor of Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands and part of the VRC Academic Coordinating Group.
How to request the service and cost
Investigators can view the service areas online and request a consultation by filling out a brief request form.
For the first two years after the launch, these services will be provided without charge. Some limitations of use and number of projects per individual applicant principal investigator will be applied in this period to ensure a fair use policy.
Heijde, D. v. d., et al. (2020) Common language description of the term rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) for use in communication with the lay public, healthcare providers and other stakeholders endorsed by the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) and the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2017-212565.