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ECSEL JU calls for input on planned Call for proposals on decentralised clinical trials

ECSEL JU, the joint undertaking for electronic components and systems, has launched a ‘Call for Vision’ for a planned Call for proposals that would complement the work of IMI’s Trials@Home project.

Smart watch - image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay
Digital technologies and wearable devices mean it is now possible to assess patients remotely – while they are at home, or going about their daily lives. Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay.


In a conventional clinical trial, patients have to make regular trips to the clinic for check-ups to monitor their condition. IMI’s Trials@Home project was launched in 2019 with the goal of exploring the potential of digital technologies for use in ‘remote decentralised clinical trials’ (RDCTs). In an RDCT, patients would use digital technologies and wearable devices to assess their condition from the comfort of their own home, or while going about their daily lives. This would dramatically reduce the number of trips trial participants would need to make to a clinic. The hope is that RDCTs would therefore make it easier to recruit people to take part in trials (as many are put off by the burden of regularly travelling back and forth to the clinic), and deliver better results (as data would be collected more regularly, resulting in findings that are more representative of the real world).

Now IMI’s sister joint undertaking, ECSEL JU, is preparing a Call for proposals for a project that would complement and build on the work of Trials@Home. As a first step, they are inviting researchers to submit an ‘expression of vision’ on what objectives would be realistic for an ECSEL Call for proposals in this area, while going beyond the state of the art and having an impact on health systems. The deadline for submitting an ‘expression of vision’ is 24 April.

ECSEL JU will use the input to prepare its next Call for proposals (Call-2020-3), which is scheduled for launch on 26 May.

The synergies between ECSEL JU and IMI are clear; ECSEL JU already has a number of projects in the health field, and IMI has several projects in the digital field. The two organisations have been sharing information on these projects, and exploring ways to deepen their collaboration, for a number of years.

‘ECSEL JU’s new Call for proposals will take the collaboration between IMI and ECSEL JU to the next level,’ said IMI Executive Director Dr Pierre Meulien. ‘Digital technologies have the potential to transform both medical research and healthcare. By bringing the medical and digital research communities together, we hope to be able to contribute to this revolution.’

‘Recent events have shown us the importance of both electronic components and systems and its support to the healthcare system.’ said Bert De Colvenaer, Executive Director of ECSEL JU. ‘We are happy, together with our sister JU IMI, to put our shoulders behind collaborative actions that can accelerate the way we provide valuable healthcare solutions for society. The ECSEL JU Call 3 for 2020 – conceived even before the present pandemic – is a concrete expression of this will to work together, and this ‘Expression of Vision’ is a vital first step in ensuring that this Call for Proposals can yield a project that brings maximum value to society.’

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