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How to Apply

The Grant for Fertility Innovation (GFI) program is being run again for 2018. The following information outlines the application and selection process for researchers for who wish for their projects to be considered. 

1. Who is eligible to apply for the GFI?

Researchers from around the world may apply for a grant if they are involved in innovative clinical and translational research projects associated with drugs, processes and/or technologies applied during treatment with assisted reproductive technology, which could potentially provide an improvement in implantation, pregnancy and live birth rate.

Applicants must be aware that to be eligible to apply they must have completed a clinical or pre-clinical pilot study with positive outcomes in the improvement of implantation, pregnancy and live birth rates.

Clinical comparative trials testing, safety and efficacy of marketed drugs as primary outcomes are not within the scope of the grant.

All research proposals need to be submitted in English.

2. How to apply?

Step 1: Check if your proposal is in line with inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Inclusion criteria

We suggest submitting projects investigating on HOW TO REDUCE TIME TO LIVE BIRTH within assisted reproductive technology by:

  • Optimising prediction models
  • Stratifying treatment approaches
  • Using fertility technologies related to objective assessment of gametes, embryos and/or uterine implantation
  • Basic research projects with translational potential leading to innovation in areas of high unmet need in infertility such as: biomarkers, methods to monitor the efficiency of treatment during ART cycles, new insights into physiology/physiopathology of human reproduction and infertility

Projects may involve products from EMD Serono or competitors, if used on-label and if the primary aim of this project is not to compare the efficacy and safety of these products.

Projects with prospective sampling are considered if they are part of non-interventional studies* and not part of interventional clinical trials (e.g., biological material collected and discarded during standard clinical practice).†

Exclusion criteria

  • Projects involving products from EMD Serono or competitors, if the primary aim is to compare the efficacy and safety of these products.
  • Projects with prospective sampling if they are part of interventional studies (e.g., biological material collected and discarded during standard clinical practice)†
  • Animal research projects
  • Research projects including embryo invasive technologies such as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) or screening (PGS), are also unsuitable for the GFI. 

*A non-interventional study as defined as a study where the medicinal product(s) is (are) prescribed in the usual manner in accordance with the terms of the marketing authorisation. The assignment of the patient to a particular therapeutic strategy is not decided in advance by a trial protocol but falls within current practice, and the prescription of the medicine is clearly separated from the decision to include the patient in the study. No additional diagnostic or monitoring procedures shall be applied to the patients and epidemiological methods shall be used for the analysis of collected data and not part of interventional clinical trials trials (e.g., biological material collected and discarded during standard clinical practice) **

†An interventional clinical trial is defined as a clinical study in which participants are assigned to receive one or more interventions so that researchers can evaluate the effects of the interventions on biomedical or health-related outcomes. The assignments are determined by the study protocol. Participants may receive diagnostic, therapeutic, or other types of interventions.

Step 2: Applicants should submit their completed Grant Application Form - (download the 2018 Grant Application Form here: Downloads) to gfi@EMD Seronogroup.com. In response, they will receive an acknowledgment of the completion of their submission.

Applications for the GFI 2018 will be open until January 18th, 2018.

3. The review process

The GFI Scientific Steering Committee (SSC), consisting of embryologists and PhDs in reproductive biology, undertakes a rigorous process of review and assessment of eligible projects, before making a final selection of grant awardees.

The names of the applicants and their institutions are completely blinded and unknown to the members of the SSC to avoid any bias and to keep the scientific merit of the proposals the key criteria for selection.

All proposals are evaluated in two rounds of review and rated from 1–5 (with 5 being the highest) against each of the following criteria:

  • Clinical impact
  • Feasibility
  • Innovation
  • Preliminary data
  • Potential to shorten time to live birth

A final score is then calculated and the projects ranked accordingly.

After each round of review, the GFI secretariat will contact applicants individually to inform them of the status of their application. Additional information may be requested.

All projects that are selected for the second round of review will have to submit the formal protocol, a detailed budget proposal, their CV and a signed document, confirming their acceptance of the GFI rules and regulations (Full Grant Terms and Conditions) for advanced (shortlisted) applications.

Data protection information: by submitting the information requested in the Grant Application Form (and, if applicable, your full research proposal), you understand and agree that EMD Serono may share personally identifiable data about you with outside companies or agents working on our behalf, as well as the company’s subsidiaries and affiliates, to help process the submissions.

All these companies and agents are required to comply with the terms of our privacy policies. Some of this data may be stored or processed on computers located in other jurisdictions, such as the United States, whose data protection laws may differ from those in the jurisdiction in which you live. In such cases, we will ensure that appropriate protections are in place to require the data processor in that country to maintain protections on the data that are equivalent to those that apply in Germany.

4. How is the awarding of the grant formalised?

The awarding of the Grant is subject to the signature of a Grant Agreement between the investigator’s institution and EMD Serono. This Grant Agreement documents the conditions of the grant and the further collaboration between EMD Serono and the awardee(s). 

5. Do awardees have to get involved in publicity surrounding the GFI?

EMD Serono retains the exclusive right to make any press release or any kind of public communication about the GFI project, the grant(s) and the awardee(s). 

6. What happens to applications that are not successful?

EMD Serono treats all submissions confidentially and information relating to submissions that are not selected for a grant is destroyed.

7. Which are the timelines?


  • January 18th, 2018: Deadline for applications; format of application: completed Grant Application Form which includes a short description of the research project; review and shortlisting will be completed by the end of January 2018 and applicants will be informed about the outcome of the first round review in the first week of February 2018


  • Mid-March 2018: Deadline for shortlisted applicants to submit their full proposal, including a formal protocol, a detailed budget proposal, their CV and a signed document (Full Grant Terms & Conditions), confirming their acceptance of the GFI rules and regulations for advanced (shortlisted) applications. Review of submitted applications will be completed by late April 2018 and applicants will be informed about the outcome of this second round review by the end of April 2018

A total, annual grant of up to €1,000,000 is shared by a number of selected projects.