Expert mentoring service for rare disease researchers

Advancing promising technologies and therapies towards clinical application is a complex undertaking. Academic research often lacks easy access to regulatory, therapy development expertise, manufacturing, and healthcare practice, leading to high failure rates. For this reason, the European Joint Programme on Rare Diseases (EJP RD) has initiated a mentoring programme for rare disease researchers.

What is the aim?

  • To increase the impact and patient benefit of translational research projects in rare diseases.

Who is it for?

  • Any scientist working on (or planning to work on) a translational research project in rare diseases in the pre-proposal stage and after receiving funding.

Who are the mentors?

  • A panel of international experts working under full confidentiality.

What does it cost?

  • There are no costs – it is entirely free.

What topics can I get mentored on?

  • Translational feasibility
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Product classification
  • Quality assurance and control
  • Intellectual property strategy
  • Suitability of analytical readouts
  • Manufacturing
  • Therapy development

What happens next?

If you would like the support of EATRIS, we will ask you to sign an engagement form, giving us permission to review your proposal and committing us to confidentiality with you for the project. Find out more in this Information Sheet to Principal Investigators.

This service is not related to the formal review process of the second stage, and reviewers will not receive any information arising from the mentoring process.

Please email Anita Kavlie at to find out more or register for the service.

Mentoring Templates

Here you can find a set of templates to be directly used for your own projects. It includes a Target Product Profile template, a reverse planning template and a project development plan template. Each template can be easily downloaded and filled in to help creating a coherent development plan aiming at reaching clinical implementation. These templates are designed as living documents to be updated as the project move forward and results gathered.

EJPRD- Target Product Profile template

EJPRD – Reverse Planning template

EJPRD – Project Development Plan template

Testimonies from scientists who have used our expert mentoring service

Davide Gabellini (Group Leader in the Division of Genetics and Cell Biology in the San Raffaele Scientific Institute):

“I have been benefiting from the mentoring service during the preparation of the full proposal for the European Joint Programme on Rare Diseases (EJP RD) Call for Proposals 2020. During a period of about one month, I interacted with various professionals collaborating with EATRIS to discuss issues related to preclinical models; medical statistics; technology transfer, industrialisation and intellectual property; regulatory affairs.

The support has been professional, timely, creative, flexible and accurate. Always ready to accommodate any request for the benefit of the project. All of this while maintaining a friendly and positive attitude.

Thanks also to the mentoring support, my application was funded.

In summary, the mentoring professionals are well trained, honest, patient and meticulous. I believe they are an ideal choice for mentoring service provider.”

Ilaria Meloni (Associate Professor at the University of Siena Department of Medical Biotechnology):

“The EATRIS mentoring service really helped me focus on essential points to outline in the project, and how to improve analyses in order to make them stronger. I also appreciated the advice not to try to hide weaknesses but present them together with possible solutions. I will continue to use this expert mentoring service, and would recommend it to others.”

Alessandro Prigione (Professor of Pediatric Metabolic Medicine at University of Düsseldorf)

Alessandro received funding from the European Joint Programme on Rare Diseases Joint Transnational Call 2020 call and was happy to share his experience below.



Ramon Martí (Vall d’Hebron Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain):

I think the mentoring program is good because of one reason specifically – usually, I participate in these kinds of actions as an observer so there is no chance to interact with the investigators and there is no possibility to improve the application. In this case you read the proposal in order to find potential improvements with the possibility to communicate with the principal investigator. I think this way really improves the final version of the of the application.”

Nathan Coussens (Director of Molecular Pharmacology Laboratories at Frederick National Laboratory, USA)

EATRIS reached out to me about serving as a mentor for research proposals focused on therapeutic development for rare diseases. By this model, the mentor actually interacts with the applicants directly during the advanced stages of the proposal to provide strategic guidance before its submission and review. These are extensive multi-institutional and long-term discovery projects so early improvements to their design can have ultimately an enormous impact on the timeline and outcome. In my opinion, this mentoring program is an innovative, highly impactful and an efficient way to increase the success rate of the Project Discovery teams to mitigate risks of the investors and to accelerate therapeutics for rare disease patients.”

In each of my experiences, the live discussions with the groups were critical, allowing us to openly discuss challenges and collaboratively identify solutions much more rapidly than a typical review process could possibly enable. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to assist these outstanding researchers and share my knowledge which might enhance the impact of their work to benefit rare disease patients.”


Watch out webinar on: “Supporting the ​innovation & exploitation activities of ​transnational projects in rare diseases”