Results of the coordinated research EU-China call on biomaterials for health

Four proposals have been positively evaluated by the European and Chinese experts, resulting from the first co ordinated call for research proposals in “Biomaterials: Imaging and rapid precise prototyping technology for custom made scaffolds”, launched by the European Commission and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) to accelerate scientific progress in this important field as well as to foster greater co operation between China and the EU.

Due to the announced budget availability, negotiations could be initiated only for three of the fours proposals, which will cover the development and tissue prototyping of bioscaffolds for bone regeneration, nervous system and urethra reconstruction and the deployment of natural inorganic polymers and smart functionalised micro-units into such bioactive scaffolds.

The objective of the call was to integrate medical imaging, e.g. computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and rapid micro/nano prototyping in order to create customised scaffolds using novel biomaterials for tissue regeneration or repair. An added feature of this co ordinated call and giving it its name, was to foster a balanced cooperation from European and Chinese researchers in each project, in the form of integrated and coordinated research activities with approximately equal research effort on both sides, along with an intensive exchange and training of researchers as part of a successful proposal. A more intensive exchange and training of researchers was also needed as well as the added value of the European-Chinese cooperative research. A total number of 28 proposals was received by the EU services and were evaluated by a panel of experts drawn from the relevant scientific fields both from China and the EU.

The experts felt that the experience was a positive one and worth repeating, perhaps on a grander scale in the future, and recommended the European Commission and NSFC to act in this sense. All in all, the exercise can be considered as highly appropriate for the closure of the Chinese Year of the Dragon (2012), which is considered to be the ultimate auspicious symbol of success and happiness.