Supporting the advancement of influenza research

Solvay Pharmaceuticals announces the topic of the 2010 Solvay Pharmaceuticals Influenza Research Grant (SPIRG). Applications are now being invited for the 2010 Research Grant for new or existing research projects aimed at innovative research into methods of improving influenza vaccine uptake among healthcare workers.

2010 Grant Background

Nosocomial transmission of influenza is well documented, as are outbreaks of influenza in healthcare settings, which sometimes involve very high levels of mortality among patients (for example in stem cell transplant units). It is also well understood that healthcare workers become infected by influenza (as evidenced by serological studies) yet are unaware of this and do not recall having a respiratory illness, or taking time off work. In spite of clear evidence of this problem, influenza vaccine uptake among healthcare workers is sub-optimal, particularly outside North America. Furthermore, recent data suggest that vaccination of healthcare workers in long-term institutions for the elderly reduces mortality among residents.

Submissions are invited for research that will either pilot novel methods of improving influenza vaccine uptake in healthcare workers, or explore qualitatively which interventions would be most acceptable to healthcare workers and health service/hospital administrators. It is recognised that the total value of the grant on offer would not support a full sized clinical trial of new methods of influenza vaccine delivery to healthcare workers. However, it could provide sufficient funding for pilot work in advance of a main study funded via an alternative route.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate familiarity with, and interest in, the specific subject of vaccination of healthcare workers, with appropriate expertise among research team members. The proposed research should take place in an environment in which baseline (pre-study) vaccine uptake is already known or can be rapidly determined.  Applications can be obtained from, and the deadline for submission is December 14th 2010. The successful applicant will receive an amount of €50000 for 2010.

The Solvay Pharmaceuticals Influenza Research Grant is to be awarded for research that is independent of any affiliation with, or funding from, other pharmaceutical companies. An independent Expert Committee composed of acknowledged leaders in the field of influenza will judge and choose the grant recipient. The research proposals will be considered according to the knowledge gap addressed by the project, the feasibility of its success within the proposed period, and the quality of the project submission. The research grant recipient will be announced in March 2010.

The SPIRG was established in 2008 to support innovative research projects in the field of influenza vaccines in recognition of the need to support global research aimed at enhancing vaccine formulations. Each year the grant award focuses on a different research topic in the influenza field. The 2009 grant attracted applications from international research groups and the winning project, ‘Immune mechanisms of cationic lipid/DNA complexes adjuvant to influenza vaccine’, was received from Dr David B Lewis, Professor of Paediatrics, Chief of the Division of Immunology, Department of Paediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, California, USA.

Solvay Pharmaceuticals has been at the forefront of influenza vaccine research and production for more than 50 years and today plays a critical role in the global advancement of scientific knowledge on influenza and vaccination.  Solvay Pharmaceuticals is actively involved in key international industrial organisations and collaborative groups including European Vaccine Manufacturers (EVM), European Scientific Working group on Influenza (ESWI), Influenza Vaccine Supply International Task Force, Joint EMEA Industry Task Force and Asia-Pacific Advisory Committee on Influenza (APACI).

SOLVAY PHARMACEUTICALS is a research driven group of companies that constitutes the global pharmaceutical business of the Solvay Group.  These companies seek to fulfill carefully selected, unmet medical needs in the therapeutic areas of neuroscience, cardiometabolic, influenza vaccines, gastroenterology and men’s and women’s health.  Its 2008 sales were EUR 2.7 billion, and it employs more than 9,000 people worldwide.  For more information, visit

For further information and/or the application form please contact:



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