IN RELATION TO THE CHALLENGE

All objectives defined in this proposal are only feasible through the collaboration of a multidisciplinary group, which currently does not exist in Europe nor worldwide. This group is represented by the levels of expertise involved in each of the possible improvements of urinary stents: Urology specialists, bioengineers from different fields of knowledge (computational, fluid dynamics, coatings, biomaterials, and Nano-technology), translational researchers, etc. The great value of networking lies in the fact that experts that work on the same objective, from distant fields, can associate and enrich their research. The knowledge of so many researchers can push the progress of urinary stents that are used every day by thousands of patients and are related to an inadequate morbidity for nowadays’ technologic development. The creation of a European Multidisciplinary Network will allow the completion of a series of innovative strategies at global level. It will make an optimum use of both EU and local resources allowing researchers to strengthen their results. Hence the added values of networking are:

Coordination of Research activities, and definition of further research topics via Meetings, Training Schools and Working groups; Improvement of the results of research and development in Urinary Stents by joining forces; The patents development as outcomes of collaborative multidisciplinary work; Preparation of the next generation of competitive multidisciplinary researchers; The preparation of practical guidelines. A multidisciplinary WG of the network will be in charge of the production of guidelines about how to assess a new urinary stent design; Distribution of work lines and concrete objectives, to focus the efforts efficiently towards the innovation in this field at European level; Promotion of extensive collaboration between researchers and industrial partners for the mutual benefit and providing health and economic advantages.

The expected feedback from the creation of this network is determinant. On the one hand, for patients, whose quality of life will improve. On the other hand, for the European industrial development, as the ultimate goal is the improvement of the urinary stent designs.

IN RELATION TO EXISTING EFFORTS AT EUROPEAN AND/OR INTERNATIONAL LEVEL

There are currently several European programmes aiming at fostering the fields of Nephro-Urology, and In-silico trials for developing biomedical products. Therefore, the importance of these subjects in the context of UE Research funding is clear and is related to our proposal.

We highlight, among the projects currently funded by H2020, the project Renaltract (EU proposal 642937), which is a cross-disciplinary collaborative research effort focusing on the complex embryonic programs that govern the formation of the renal tract system and their alteration leading to renal tract formations. Although the target of this project is the urinary tract, just like in our proposal, Renaltract project focuses mainly on the study of the etiopathogenesis (genetic and epigenetic regulation of renal tract development and causes and mechanisms of renal tract malformations) of urinary tract congenital malformations. Hence, there are no similarities between both proposals, as Renaltract is a project of basic research applied to urinary malformations and our proposal for multidisciplinary group is focused on the improvement of urinary stent designs.

European network for collaboration on kidney exchange programmes (ENCKEP) (CA COST Action CA15210) is another COST Action included in the category of urinary disorders but its objective is to improve the kidney transplant donation programmes. It does not present any similarity with our COST Action proposal either. Although kidney transplant may be a stented patient, the ENCKEP proposal aims to create a network to improve kidney exchange programmes. It does not focus in the improvement of the quality of life of stented transplant recipients, like our proposal.

Concerning future initiatives of H2020, similarities have been identified between our proposal and the proposal SC1-PM-16-2017: “In-silico trials for developing and assessing biomedical products. More specifically, these similarities are found with our objective 4 and the activities to be developed by the WG2. The goal of this H2020 call is to develop innovative scientific and technological in-silico trials solutions for product design, assessment of drugs and other biomedical products (which could also include the assessment of urinary stents, since they are medical devices too). Consequently, we do not find in the current initiatives or projects funding duplication. Even though urinary tract research initiatives already exist, they do not relate to our proposal.