zukunft.niedersachsen: Innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to combat rare diseases

Illustration mit Wissenschaftlerin, der ein Roboter einen Erlenmeyerkolben reicht, im Hintergrund ein springendes Pferd

Important dates

  • June 30, 2024, 11:59 PM CET Deadline

A large number of different rare diseases impair the quality of life of many of those affected. Little is usually known about the individual diseases. The funding program enables researchers to better understand, diagnose and treat rare diseases.

  • area of research: rare diseases, personalised medicine, biomedicine, biotechnology, bioinformatics, data sciences
  • type of funding: collaborative and individual projects
  • up to 5 years
  • up to 7.5 million euro for collaborative projects; up to 3 million euro for individual projects
  • target group: professors and postdocs at universities and non-university research institutions in Lower Saxony

The aim of the call is to provide new impetus to research on rare diseases. Interdisciplinary extensions of the research design are strongly welcome. Research projects on rare diseases are also encouraged to place a particular focus on childhood manifestations. In principle, projects dedicated to previously undiagnosed diseases that could be rare diseases according to the definition, are also eligible for funding.

Projects can focus on the following areas:

  • High-throughput sequencing and genotyping of existing and possibly still to be expanded cohorts and other longitudinal health data, including the identification of (predictive) biomarkers (candidates)
  • Understanding new challenges in law and ethics regarding medical and research data in the context of rare diseases
  • Strengthening interdisciplinary perspectives using AI, machine learning and innovative imaging
  • xRNA-based therapeutic approaches, e.g., in the context of antisense oligonucleotide therapies
  • Innovative approaches to the acquisition and processing of biomedical data, e.g., through AI/ML, neural networks
  • Development and testing of innovative diagnostic approaches and further development of procedures that were previously very complex due to exclusion diagnostics
  • Proof of concept projects for the development of gene therapeutics
  • Proof of concept projects for the use of (multi-)omics approaches in the research of rare diseases

How it works: From application to decision


Andreas May
Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture
Email: andreas.may@mwk.niedersachsen.de            
Tel.: +49 511 120 2508

For questions on the application system:
Simone Künnecke 
Volkswagen Foundation
Email: kuennecke@volkswagenstiftung.de
Tel.: +49 511 83 81 – 255

Schachfigur "Pferd"


This funding offer is part of our profile area zukunft.niedersachsen. Find out more about the profile area and current funding opportunities.

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