The development of new technologies constitutes a major driving force of scientific progress. This statement is particularly relevant for disease related genome research. The second round of the NGFN program now includes a mechanism for research projects that are exploratory in nature.
The Exploratory Projects consist of studies that are geared towards the development of new methods and technologies with applications in human genome research. These include “proof of principle” projects that are related to the overall goals of NGFN with regard to Disease-Oriented Genome Networks and Systematic Methodological Platforms. The long term goal of the Exploratory Projects is to develop novel and innovative applications that can be adopted by and translated into the existing and established NGFN networks and platforms.
The nineteen Exploratory Projects can be grouped into two categories that are not mutually exclusive and in fact often show considerable overlap. One group consists of studies that are focused on methodological developments that are either advancements of existing technologies or completely novel in nature. The other group of projects is concerned with new ways for biomarker discovery relevant to the five disease areas that are part of the NGFN.