Vorstand und wissenschaftliche Leitung
Vorstand und wissenschaftliche Leitung 

A Great Vintage

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What is autumn for winemakers is March for Wings for Life. It’s an exciting time of the year, which we’ve been working towards for six months. It’s the month we pick the projects we want to support. It is - in other words - what our yearly harvest of research culminates in.

The Harvesting Process
Our scientific advisory council did the first pruning half a year ago. Out of a wealth of 250 applications for financial support from scientists, they drew up a shortlist, deciding which projects meet our foundation’s key focus, and which don’t.

Those project applications that succeeded in overcoming this first hurdle were then sent to independent researchers for expert advice and assessment. The experts judge and evaluate the projects’ feasibility and scientific quality, grading it – just like in school.

Then it’s our advisors’ turn: they are the crème de la crème of vintners, so to speak. They also assess and evaluate every single project and issue recommendations. That’s hours of toil if you consider the piles of files they receive, all filled to the brim with research papers.

At long last, in March, it’s harvest time. The Board and scientific management handpick the very best grapes for the perfect vintage of research projects to be supported. The crucial criterion for their selection is which projects bring us one step closer towards our goal and offer a real chance of being used for a future treatment of patients with spinal cord injury.

Prof. Claudius Thomé and Prof. Jan Schwab
Prof. Claudius Thomé and Prof. Jan Schwab 

From Merlot to Sauvignon Blanc – a mix of great projects
This year we have chosen fourteen new research projects, which join the 31 other projects that we’ll fund for the second or third consecutive year. That’s forty-five projects in all.
This year’s portfolio of projects ranges from axon regeneration to rehabilitation projects, from fundamental research to clinical studies. What is new in this year’s program are approaches using neuromodulation. In these, electric impulses are put above the injured part or directly within the brain to achieve locomotion, or movement, after spinal cord injury.

A good vintage wine can be, but needn’t be expensive
We are often asked about the sum of money we will support a project with. Well, this depends on a number of factors: What finances have been applied for by the project leader?  What stage is the project in? The most economical project from this year’s vintage will receive 30,000 Euros from Wings for Life; the most expensive, one million.

Dr. Verena May and Dr. Rosi Lederer
Dr. Verena May and Dr. Rosi Lederer 

The 2015 Vintage
We are very pleased with this year’s harvest. Forty-five projects is quite a number; especially, if you bear in mind that there are two clinical studies among them: one for emergency treatment, the other for therapies for chronic patients. What is even more significant is that we are set up really well in all areas and that every single project offers true potential – potential for achieving our goal to find a cure for spinal cord injury.

2015 promises to be a great vintage

At this point, many thanks go to our supporters as well as the experts for their pro-bono advice and support in helping us to invest your money in the best possible way.

Follow this link for detailed information on the progress of various projects. Summaries of the 2015 projects will be published bit by bit.