FLI provides starting grants to projects involving at least two distant laboratories in France to maintain the scientific expertise of the teams operating the imaging platforms at the highest level. The four scientific expertise networks, RE1 in the field of imaging agents, RE2 in the field of instrumentation and technological innovation, RE4 in the field of multimodal image analysis carried out this scientific animation program.
Financial support is granted based on calls for projects launched regularly since 2013 and after selection by the steering committee of the four networks of expertise. The calls for projects are open to all “FLI” and “non-FLI” laboratories. Since 2013, 141 projects of exchange of expertise between at least 2 distant laboratories have been funded for a total amount of approximately 2.6 M€.
These exchanges create a dense network of laboratories (see the map below)
Several FLI-supported projects have been at the origin of more ambitious projects funded by national or international funding agencies, demonstrating the leverage effect of FLI’s expertise exchanges.
Since 2013, fifteen projects out of the 141 supported by FLI, have enabled laboratories to raise a total of more than €12M in funding, either from the French Research Agency, foundations, or from European H2020 programs. Examples of projects that originally received support from FLI include:
IMOP (Interoperative Multimodal Optical Probe) supported by the Cancer Plan,
ARMONI (single-pixel imaging methods), a JCJC project of the ANR,
OptimiX (Optimization of the radiation dose for X-ray guided procedures) supported by the ANR PRC,
ROBOT (Robotics and optical coherence tomography for optical biopsy in the digestive tract),
MRgHIFU (MRI-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound) supported by the ANR,
SURGEONAID (Transforming brain surgery by advancing function-guided neuronavigation imaging) funded by Europe EIC Pathfinder,
NIFUS (Non-invasive focused ultrasound surgery of breast adenocarcinomas) supported by INCa.
In another field, one of the expertise exchanges granted by FLI in 2020, related to the performance evaluation of new sensors for MEG, contributed to the creation of Mag4Health – a startup supported by the CEA – which will market the tested sensors.
The following pages present the expertise exchange projects supported network by network.
Network of Expertise 1: Molecular Imaging Agents (NE1)
Since 2015, the Expertise Network 1, RE1, has financially supported 26 projects for expertise exchanges between research laboratories and imaging platforms in France for a total of €675k. More than 30 different laboratories have benefited from these starting grants. The table below presents the funded projects.
Network of expertise 2: Instrumentation & Innovations Technologiques (NE2)
Since 2013, FLI’s Network of Expertise 2, NE2, has provided 39 starting grants to promote expertise exchange projects, including 16 since 2021, for a total of 629k€. The average grant amount is ~21 k€. These financial supports have been awarded to 31 different laboratories. Of the ongoing projects, every exchange, except one, involves at least 2 hubs. Four (4) exchanges involve 3 hubs and 1 exchange involves 4 hubs. Finally, 2 projects at the interface with NE1 and NE4 have received financial support from each of the networks. Thirteen (13) projects are in the field of MRI, 2 in US, 1 in MEG, 1 in PET, 1 in acousto-optics and 1 mixed US-MR project. Four (4) projects focus on protocol robustness and safety issues in ultra-high field MRI, 6 on the development of MRI biomarkers (MS, lipid content, brain oxygenation, heart transplant viability, high resolution multiparametric imaging, free surface fMRI), 3 on miniature MRI coils intracardiac- deployable or implantable in the brain (non-exhaustive list). Five projects propose new imaging methods or disruptive concepts, in-vivo acousto-optics, wireless implantable US transducer array, anisotropic/non-linear elastography by MR or US, MEG with laser pumped magnetometers.
The table below summarizes the expertise exchange projects supported since 2013.
Network of Expertise 3: Image Guided Interventional Radiology (NE3)
The Network of Expertise 3 (NE3) has granted financial support to 42 expertise exchange projects since 2013. The average grant amount is ~13k€. All in all, 552k€ has been awarded to 24 different research laboratories. The laboratories are located within hubs or outside the regional and the transverse IAM hubs.
The table below details the exchanges of expertise and the laboratories involved.
Network of Expertise 4: Multimodal Image Analysis (NE4)
Since the creation of FLI, the network of Expertise 4 (NE4) awarded 44 starting grants “Exchange of Expertise”, including 16 grants awarded since 2020. The average grant amount is ~16 k€. These grants were allocated to 41 different labs, for a total amount of 720,000 €. One specificity of the projects funded by NE4 is that half of them gather three different laboratories or more. They cover multimodal image analysis, image reconstruction for PET, PET-MR, MEG and Single Photon Counting Scanner, quantitative methods for MRI, AI.
The table below summarizes the expertise exchange projects awarded since 2014.