The Broad Medical Research Program (BMRP), which gives away about $3.5 million annually to fund inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) research, is all about funding "startup" research into IBD. It looks for research that's just taking off, off the beaten path, or coming at the problem of IBD from an unexpected angle. For that reason, the BMRP encourages researchers from outside the U.S. to apply for consideration. Since the start of the program, the BMRP has given away awards averaging $114,000 to teams of scientists in India, Australia, Germany, Japan, and more. Beyond that, its team of grant proposal reviewers stretches across 43 countries — a truly international effort. Check out this map of the locations of grantees and reviewers.
Recently, Jane Andrews, PhD, of the University of South Australia, received funding to initiate her human trials testing the efficacy of antidepressants in treating the symptoms of Crohn's disease, which is one of the conditions that makes up IBD. After receiving a year's worth of funding from the BMRP, Andrews will seek out further funding from Australian foundations.
In Spain, researcher Felipe Pimentel-Muiños received funding to study the genetic circuitry misfires that bring on Crohn's disease. Rather than treating the symptoms of the disease, his work is geared toward preventing it. Pioneering gene therapy techniques that may prove beneficial, Pimentel-Muiños's work is still very much in the pilot stage, and he plans to seek funding from other institutions once he's gathered some solid data.
Supporting both of these international initiatives goes hand in hand with BMRP's commitment to fund outside-the-box avenues of research. Do something interesting or unique, and you just might woo the program's reviewers enough to secure a bit of cash.