Aware that investments in Research and Innovation are one of the main drivers of development and could effectively contribute to revive the Italian economy and increase competitiveness, Fondazione Roma has in recent years paid special attention to biomedical research. The Foundation has launched Calls for Proposals for research projects since 2008. The projects are selected by means of the peer review process performed by internationally recognised experts, provided that they have never collaborated with the principal investigators before.
The Foundation allocated fifteen million euro to the first Call for Proposals, whereby grants were issued to support thirteen projects, submitted by the investigators of the Faculties of Medicine and Surgery in Roman universities, for research on highly topical issues of social relevance: Diabetes mellitus type 2, mechanisms of disease and macro-vascular complications; Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine and Drug design for the treatment of human infectious diseases.
Fondazione Roma subsequently decided to extend its commitment to biomedical research by allocating a further 10.4 million euro to research centres of excellence and issuing two new Calls for Proposals. The first concerned research projects that aim to understand molecular mechanisms and discover new therapeutic targets for chronic-degenerative ageing associated non communicable diseases (NCDs) deriving, in particular, from unhealthy life styles: Atherosclerosis and sequels; Metabolic disorders and sequels; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and sequels; Alcoholic hepatitis and sequels; Osteoarthropathies and muscular atrophy. The second Call for Proposals aimed to update and acquire more knowledge in the underfunded yet crucial field of rare diseases, focusing on Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). This rare disorder gradually leads to blindness and has been considered as a disease with significant social and economic implications since 1985.
At the end of a complex and strict evaluation process, the most worthy and promising projects were selected: five concerning Retinitis Pigmentosa and eighteen concerning Non Communicable Diseases.
As a result of these projects the Foundation has become one of the main private institutions to fund research of excellence in Italy. Even in this sector, other parties may refer to the Foundation’s original and efficient model when the community’s genuine needs and the Country’s interests are the main concern.