ASCERTAIN — from project idea to Grant Agreement

We talked with our customer, Professor Carin Uyl-de Groot from Erasmus University Rotterdam, on taking upon the role of Project Coordinator in the consortium project that recently secured funding from Horizon Europe. Together with nine partners, Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management, has now launched the ASCERTAIN project aiming to improve the affordability and sustainability of innovative health technologies. She reflects on the role of Project Coordinator and the successful funding application process towards Grant Agreement.

Ensuring a faster and better accessibility of high-cost drugs in Europe

ASCERTAIN Carin Yul-de GrootStarted in December 2022, the four-year project ASCERTAIN (Affordability and Sustainability improvements through new pricing, Cost-Effectiveness and Reimbursement models to Appraise iNnovative health technologies) addresses the need of patients, physicians, payers, regulators, and manufacturers to improve the affordability and accessibility to innovative health technologies (including pharmaceuticals) in Europe.

ASCERTAIN Project Coordinator, Prof. Carin Uyl-de Groot from Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management, states: “Our mission is to make high-cost drugs and technologies more and faster accessible in Europe. The project gives us the opportunity to work on it.” The project aims to improve the quality of care for cancer patients especially in Eastern Europe. Carin Uyl-de Groot continues: “If we can accelerate certain parts in the process, the project outcomes can make a life-changing difference to cancer patients. For instance, we will develop some open-access tools for decision makers in European countries to be applied on pricing and reimbursement.”

Project Coordinator’s role in the funding application process

Prof. Carin Uyl-de Groot took upon the role of Project Coordinator for the first time. When the work for a funding proposal is launched, the role of the Project Coordinator is oftentimes given to the company or organisation with the original idea of the project. This was the case with the ASCERTAIN project, too.

The Project Coordinator is the first point of contact towards the Project Officer, who is designated for the project by the European Commission. As the Project Coordinator, Carin Uyl-de Groot also acts as a key contact point for the project partners and industry, such as pharmaceutical and medical device companies, as well as for stakeholders such as hospitals, government, and policy makers.

According to Carin Uyl-de Groot, it is important for the coordinator to listen to the interests of different stakeholders and identify them in the project proposal. A lot of discussions with several parties were carried out during the proposal process, bringing everyone together. She says: “It is very exciting to get an opportunity to work with all the different stakeholders within one project.”

Funding application process has its challenges

According to Carin Uyl-de Groot, one of the challenges in building up the project proposal was how to reach out to all stakeholders and motivate them on the importance of this project and encourage them to participate in it. How to build a proposal and where to start may also turn out to be cumbersome and expert support can be just the solution to get the ball rolling.

Reflecting on the funding application process, Carin Uyl-de Groot says: “There was a lot to learn for me. As we had another funding application process going on for us, the support from Spinverse was indispensable during the application process and the Grant Agreement Preparation phase. An external consultant like Spinverse was able to provide us with essential expertise on such a complex process and complemented our somewhat scarce resources, whilst helping us reach the successful outcome.” She concludes: “Further, the objectives of the funding call were very ambitious and building of the concept took a long time. We welcomed the support from Spinverse in this iterative process.”

Carin Uyl-de Groot is looking forward to the work within the ASCERTAIN project and is delighted to witness the high motivation and enthusiasm of the project which will help e.g., cancer patients to get a better access to newest pharmaceuticals and innovative technologies throughout Europe and beyond.

More information about ASCERTAIN project:

The Erasmus University Rotterdam works together with nine consortium partners: Comenius University Bratislava, Gesundheit Österreich GmbH, University of Oslo, Association Internationale de la Mutualité (AIM), Nuromedia GmbH, European Hematology Association (EHA), Myeloma Patients Europe (MPE), Chino SRL and OptiMedis. The project receives funding from the Horizon Europe Framework Programme under grant agreement No 101094938. 

ASCERTAIN Press release, 28 Nov 2022

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