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New funding for the harmonisation and alignment of brain imaging methods

8 Jul 2016

The EU Joint Programme in Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) – for which MRC is a founder member - has recommended funding for ten working groups of leading international scientists to provide guidelines for the community on approaches to enhance the use of brain imaging methods for neurodegenerative disease research. The awards will address methodological challenges for several different imaging modalities, including MRI, PET, ultrasound, MEG and EEG, as well as multimodal approaches.

The awards are the latest addition to a series of JPND activities designed to maximise the impact of research by aligning and building upon national programmes and initiatives, with the goal to bring a more wide-ranging and multidisciplinary approach to research into the causes, treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.

Imaging techniques such as MRI and PET have in recent years brought about a dramatic improvement in the understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, however there remain a number of significant challenges in the field. These include the execution of multi-centre clinical trials of an unprecedented scale, data transfer across imaging centres and the use of imaging for diagnostics and for measuring clinical outcomes.   

With the goal of addressing these types of methodological challenge, JPND funding will enable top scientists from a range of countries to come together and develop ‘best practice’ guidelines and/or methodological frameworks, in order to overcome key barriers to the use of brain imaging in neurodegenerative disease research. 

MRC is a cofunder for the awards, which address research spanning a range of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntingdon’s, Motor Neurone Disease, Frontotemporal, Lewy-body and vascular dementias. The call attracted proposals with partners from across Europe and beyond, including Asia, Australia, North America and South America.

MRC Director of Science Programmes Dr Rob Buckle said, “The plan is that each group of experts will push forward the conceptualization of a key challenge and derive valuable guidelines and/or best practice frameworks to support the wider research community. It is anticipated that the outcomes, to be published next year, will enhance research progress by aiding the design of future studies and making it easier for researchers across the globe to compare and share emerging research data”

Each working group will develop advice over a period of 9 months and the outputs will be published on the JPND website and shared in a workshop to bring together and present the recommendations of each working group, encouraging the further exchange of ideas and wider dissemination.

For further information on JPND and details of the awards, visit -  Neurodegeneration Research

For further information on UK participation on the working group awards visit JPND 2016 Call for Working Groups.


  • Categories: Funding
  • Health categories: Neurological
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  • Type: News article