Another cycle of reviewing research proposals has gone by for the Roche Organ Transplantation Research Foundation (ROTRF).

We are very satisfied with the excellent review process of the ROTRF, which is now well established. Due to the electronic submission of a short letter of intent – a descriptive abstract of the submitted research proposal – applications were efficiently processed and rated. The top-ranked applicants were subsequently invited to submit a full paper application, with an approximately 50% chance of funding. Therefore, the ROTRF’s application and review process has proven itself to satisfactorily balance a good probability of success for applicants and the selection of high-quality proposals for support by the Foundation. Thanks to the excellent reviews by the Scientific Advisory Committee, highly qualified research projects have been selected for funding, and are expanding the repertoire of ROTRF-supported grants.

The mission of the ROTRF is to support research relevant to progress in solid organ transplantation. We have emphasized the need for innovation and novelty, and for thinking "outside the box". In keeping with this principle, the ROTRF seeks to foster and nurture this creativity. We want to attract more researchers outside of the direct transplantation area in the hope of encouraging those with innovative scientific ideas and approaches to apply themselves to transplant-related problems. We also seek to encourage more applications from female scientists. To achieve these goals in the future, we plan to communicate the Foundation’s mission and potential to a broader scientific community.

Although the projects represent early stages of the process by which discovery influences therapy, they represent important first steps in new areas that will lead to new understanding, new clinical applications, and improved outcomes. Moreover, the analogy of kissing frogs to find a prince comes to mind: ideas must be tried, and many will be proven to be incorrect. But even proving that a particular frog is not a prince is progress. Moreover, it is usually a long way from the concept to the clinical application, even when the idea is correct. The funded research projects will contribute to knowledge about many aspects of the clinical and scientific adventure of transplantation, e.g. the mechanisms of rejection and tolerance, the mechanisms of long-term organ deterioration, the consequences of tissue injury, and the opportunities to intervene in these processes.

All those who have been involved in the successful launch of the ROTRF deserve the Foundation’s gratitude. We welcome any feedback and support to assist the Foundation in accomplishing its mission.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees

Phil Halloran