The ROTRF supports important and innovative research projects relevant to organ transplantation, particularly where there is an unmet medical need. Please note that we are currently not accepting new grant applications.

Our priority is to support clinically oriented research projects, such as observational clinical studies or studies that use human transplant samples for laboratory examinations, and focusing on understanding the pathogenesis and prevention of human transplantation diseases, including organ injury and rejection, viral infection, and late graft deterioration. Furthermore, the ROTRF may consider funding research that addresses related clinical issues in non-transplant patients, including hepatitis C infection and other viral infections, and inflammatory processes relevant to human organ transplantation. These related clinical issues should demonstrate their relevance to disease phenotypes in organ transplant patients. The Trustees will also consider funding studies that investigate transplant populations, ethics, organ preservation and allocation, and healthcare delivery. Moreover, the ROTRF will welcome research in new emerging technologies that examine the pathogenesis of human disease states in organ transplantation. If animal models are used to complement the clinical research, a higher priority will be given to those that simulate pathological states and mechanisms operating in human organ transplantation.

Project Proposals

Project proposals submitted to the ROTRF should include work with clinical transplant material or with organ transplant patients, e.g. in human organ preservation, human transplant pathology, or other human transplant areas, and should be focused on issues relevant to clinical organ transplantation. If animal models are used to complement the clinical research, a higher priority will be given to those that simulate pathological states and mechanisms operating in human organ transplantation. To be considered for a grant award, applications should demonstrate practical applicability to human organ transplantation in the near term.

Please note that the ROTRF cannot fund interventional clinical trials and projects involving interventions that would add risk to the patient or alter patient management. However, the Trustees may consider funding non-invasive scientific studies that complement an ongoing, approved clinical trial or projects proposing diagnostic clinical examinations posing minimal risk to the patients, e.g. laboratory investigations with a biopsy core obtained as an additional sample during biopsy procedures performed as standard of care. The Trustees will evaluate the clinical risk and take the final decision on the suitability of the project for ROTRF funding.

Research Areas Funded by the ROTRF

  • Improvement of long-term graft survival and prevention of chronic organ dysfunction
  • Relevant immune recognition, regulation and effector mechanisms
  • Histocompatibility
  • Inflammation and tissue injury in transplantation
  • Development of new agents for use in transplantation
  • Prospective and specific analysis of human organ transplant populations
  • Induction of antigen-specific unresponsiveness
  • New clinical trial methods and surrogate endpoints
  • Tissue injury and organ preservation relevant to transplantation
  • Cell or tissue transplantation relevant to organ transplantation
  • While the ROTRF does not support operating costs for registries, it will consider providing limited support for unique initiatives such as international databases of general interest to transplant researchers.

Research in human cloning is not considered for funding.
Applications for funding of research into transplantation of organs that are not yet transplanted in the clinic will not be considered.


The ROTRF provides funding to established faculty members of academic staff at universities, transplant centres and research institutes around the world. There is only one Principal Applicant/Principal Investigator per grant application/award.

Funds are not awarded to individuals whose salary is derived principally from a commercial organisation in the pharmaceutical or an allied industry.

Of note: Post-doctoral investigators are not eligible as principal applicants, but may be co-applicants on an application from their laboratory head.

Please note: although in principle the ROTRF does not exclude the possibility for Principal Investigators to have co-investigators in other countries/ at other institutions, there may be practical limitations. According to the ROTRF Charter [358 KB] , the grant is awarded to the Principal Investigator. The responsibility to the ROTRF for the research project and for the utilisation of the funds is solely bared by the Principal Investigator and his/her institution. They are also the only signatory parties for the Agreement with the ROTRF. Please be aware that the ROTRF does not make exception to this point and will not enter in any discussions on this point.
Prior to submission of the Full Paper Application, it is responsibility of the Principal Investigator to clarify with his/her own institution whether his/her own institution will accept to bare responsibility for the execution of part of the project and for the utilisation of funds by co-investigators located at other institutions, where the Principal Investigator's institution cannot exert direct control.
Finally, it is also the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to clarify with the co-investigators whether they and their institutions will accept not to be signatory parties on the grant agreement.

For detailed information about eligibility please consult the ROTRF Charter [358 KB] .

The Grant

The maximum amount awarded per grant is 300,000 Swiss Francs for 2 years (maximum of 150,000 Swiss Francs for 1 year).

Although the ROTRF prefers that no overhead costs are charged to the project, Institution and Applicant may use a maximum of ten percent (10%) of the grant award from ROTRF for Project overhead costs (indirect costs).

The ROTRF does not provide funds for the following items:

  • Institutional overheads above the 10% flat rate
  • Salaries of principal investigator and co-investigators
  • Career support grants
  • Tuition
  • Purchase of journals and books
  • Purchase of office furniture
  • Payment of dues and memberships in professional societies
  • Recruiting and relocation expenses
  • Construction and maintenance of buildings
  • Payment of non-medical or personal services to patient
  • Payment of per diem charges for hospital beds
  • Purchase of reprints/copies
  • Travel related directly to the research project to communicate new research results is allowed up to a maximum of 2,000 CHF per year

For detailed information about the grant's budget please consult the ROTRF Charter [358 KB] .

Application Procedure

2-step procedure:

  • Submission of a Letters of Intent (LOI). Letter of Intent: brief information on CV and project budget, project abstract (about 100 words) and short project descripition (about 500 words).
  • Applicants who submitted a top-ranking LOI will be invited to submit a Full Paper Application (FPA, 10-page research proposal, CV and budget description). The applicants will have about 6-7 weeks for the preparation and submission of the FPA. Applicants submitting a Full Paper Application will have approximately a 50% chance of success to receiving funds.

Upcoming Deadline for LOI Submission

  • The next submission deadline for Letters of Intent will be posted here.

Example of Letter of Intent

Letter of Intent - exemple.pdf [974 KB]


Applications are evaluated by the 3-4 Members of the ROTRF Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and/or ad hoc reviewers for:

  • Relevance to clinical organ transplantation
  • Scientific excellence
  • Originality
  • Realistic potential for near term clinical application

Check List for ROTRF Full Paper Applications

Checklist for a clinical ROTRF organ transplantation research project [480 KB] PDF

Grant Awards

The ROTRF Board of Trustees takes the final decision on the number and size of the grants based on the overall evaluation of the SAC. The decision is taken approximately 6 months after the submission deadline of the LOI.

Agreement for ROTRF Grant Awards

Awardees will receive an official copy of the Agreement signed by ROTRF Trustees. Please make sure that your institution has been familiarized with the Agreement. Please note that ROTRF RESERVES THE RIGHT TO DEDUCT FROM THE GRANT ANY EXCESSIVE GRANT NEGOTIATION COSTS.

Standard Agreement for ROTRF Grant Awards.pdf [26 KB]

ROTRF Project Extensions

Starting from January 2014, the ROTRF accept the submission of requests for Project Extensions. This new initiative aims at supporting ROTRF grantees, who are about to conclude their projects, to apply for a Project Extension. Detailed information on this opportunity can be found at ROTRF Project Extensions.


The ROTRF is bound by its objectives to maintain and promulgate the highest ethical standards in experimentation and clinical research and to maintain the highest standards in the conduct and assessment of research.

Research involving human subjects:
All research involving human subjects should be performed in line with the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki amendment 2000 and note of clarification 2002, 2004 and 2008 or as expressed in the latest version of the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki (available at

Research involving laboratory animals:
The proper care and humane treatment of laboratory animals involved in activities supported by grants from the ROTRF is the responsibility of the institution that receives the funds awarded. In order to provide for the adequate discharge of this institutional responsibility, no grant for an activity involving laboratory animals shall be approved unless the application for such support has been reviewed and approved by an appropriate institutional committee according to national standards.


FAQ on our grant programme and submission of applications >>