Recent EUROCleftNet events

Tuesday 3rd July 2012:

Life and Brain Centre, University of Bonn, Germany




The research aims and objectives of EUROCleftNet as defined at previous meetings in Strasbourg in June 2011, Salzburg, September 2011 and Manchester, December 2011 encompass 2 major themes: (a) improving access to and quality of care for those born with OFC, and (b) primary prevention of OFC – underpinned by improved knowledge about genetic and environmental factors.


An emerging theme in European research is improvement of links between academia and industry, and through this workshop in Bonn we will discuss development of collaborative research skills and professional experience to fund research, improve healthcare globally and train a future generation of European scientists.


EUROCleftNet Scientific Summary


The research aims and objectives of EUROCleftNet have emerged from a global interest from WHO and the European Cleft Organisation (ECO) among others to address problems in craniofacial anomalies, the most common of which is cleft lip and palate.  Our objectives been defined at previous meetings in Strasbourg in June 2011, Salzburg, September 2011 and Manchester, December 2011, and continue to evolve and develop.


One of the emerging themes in European research is establishment or strengthening of links between academia and industry, and through these the development of research skills and professional experience to (a) provide benefits to the healthcare of people across Europe and beyond (b) develop new therapies for treatment and primary prevention of cleft lip and palate and (c) train a future generation of European scientists.


In a workshop in Salzburg, we identified 3 thematic areas where there may be potential for developing industrial links in orofacial clefting research which were:


  1. Diagnostic
  2. Preventive
  3. Clinical care / management issues


Having identified eligible areas for research, the Bonn workshop aims to invite a range of industrial partners to engage around the table with scientists and research clinicians in EUROCleftNet to explore further areas of mutual interest.


Examples of the specific areas under the 3 themes where there may be scope for collaborative research involving our industrial colleagues will be reflected in the agenda and in summary the presentations will include the following:


  1. Diagnostic:
  • 3D imaging / facial morphology and quantification of facial dysmorphology;
  • Genetics / genomics / micro-arrays aimed at gene discovery;
  • Diagnostic bio-markers and DNA / tissue collection
  • Characterisation of selected candidate genes: expression pattern during development e.g. through mouse, dog and zebrafish models.


  1. Preventive:
  • GEI research in the quest for clues on exposures and modifiable risk factors such as folic acid, alcohol, smoking, medications and recreational drugs;
  • Drug target identification: through the assembly of protein networks for complex diseases may stimulate research into discovery of drugable targets for these conditions;
  • Pharmaceutical firms interested in the development of nutritional e.g. multivitamin supplements used in conjunction with peri-conceptional care;


  1. Management / clinical care:
  • Generating an evidence based practice through randomised control trials; and at Salzburg there was a call for an RCT to study the efficacy of distraction osteogenesis v osteotomy for midface protrusion in adolescents with OFC
  • The use of bone substitute to replace lost alveolar ridge or alveolar bone grafting with or without using stem cell technology;


Format: The format will be a one day exploratory meeting with a series of informative presentations and discussion workshops for the invited delegates from industry to listen, ask questions and interact as they see fit – with a view to the identification of collaborative opportunities. The Steering Group will have a debriefing meeting on the following morning to discuss on-going strategy.


Presentations and discussions: on these as a way of bringing funding to bear on our work and the training of future researchers provide the main focus for this meeting. In addition to inviting the EUROCleftNet Steering Group members, a range of industrial partners have expressed an interest and colleagues within the network who are able to provide an update on state of the art research in particular fields with specific mention of the areas that would be possibly of interest to attending industrial partners.


Grant funding opportunities: among a range of grant funding opportunities is the Marie Curie actions call among which are initial training networks, industry academia partnerships and pathways (IAPP), international research staff exchange schemes (IRSES) plus a range of individual actions such as intra-European fellowships (IEF), international incoming fellowships (IIF) and international outgoing fellowships (IOF).


Marie Curie ITN: It is important also that the invitees have an understanding that this programme is primarily aimed at the training of doctorate students. Further information on the detail of the Marie Curie ITN terms and conditions is available online at the following URL:

and the industrial partners are encouraged to examine the financial implications in advance.


Friday 21st September 2012

Thistle Hotel, Glasgow


Scientific Summary


The primary objective of the Glasgow EUROCleftNet meeting will be to discuss details of collaborative research grant funding applications. The first opportunity to submit a research grant funding application will be through EU Framework 7: Marie Curie ITN (People’s Programme) and a draft application will, by September 2012, already have been circulated among ESF academic partners, potentially interested industrial partners and other researchers and user organisations.


There will however be a need to a need to discuss the detail of eligible projects, the best partnerships, mobility issues, funding issues in terms of financial benefits and matching of projects to the skills and needs of the partners involved.


In addition it will be important to discuss this research grant funding application in the context of the overall aims and objectives of EUROCleftNet and to progress the setting up of a website, directory of resources and EUROCleftNet biobank. The meeting will also address the EUROCleftNet conference which is scheduled for Plovdiv on the 19th – 22nd June 2013. A provisional programme for this meeting has already been prepared and the objective will be to have invitations sent to speakers shortly after the EUROCleftNet Steering Group meeting and also to finalise details of the meeting format, the detailed programme, allocate tasks for the preparations and estimate the overall cost of the programme.


Further discussions on budgetary issues and future planning for the network will also be on the agenda (see attached).




This 4th EUROCleftNet Steering Group meeting will be combined with a detailed discussion of research grant submission to the Framework 7 Marie Curie ITN (People’s Programme). This will include on-going dialogue and interaction with potentially interested industrial partners and will be designed to train a future generation of young researchers in Europe.



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