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Rare Genomics Institute Kicks Off $650K Grants Challenge

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Rare Genomics Institute, a non-profit focused on rare diseases, today announced it has opened its science and technology grants challenge, called Helping Empower and Accelerate Research Discoveries, or BeHeard.

Prizes for the 2016 BeHeard competition include $650,000 in technologies and services from companies such as Cyagen Biosciences, Charles River Laboratories, Jackson Laboratory, Taconic Biosciences, Biovista, and Collaborative Drug Discovery. The grants challenge is open to researchers, foundations, "or anyone whose idea is constrained due to limited resources," from around the world, RGI said in a statement.

Through the challenge, families with a child afflicted by a rare disease can also be connected with a network of academic researchers to develop research proposals tailored to advancing treatments for their child's disease. RGI noted that the applications are simple and accessible on the BeHeard website.

BeHeard was initially launched last year and attracted hundreds of submissions.

The Institute has also established the Rare Genomics Task Force to provide scientific information and support for patients with rare diseases.

"These efforts include but are not limited to conducting research reviews, writing reports for patients, identifying renowned experts who can help with projects, and connecting experts with rare disease patients," RGI said.

The task force recently initiated a free and publicly accessible platform that is currently running through email communication to "expedite the spread of knowledge as well as better satisfy the needs of patients," providing scientific support from trained scientific analysts and established connections with experts in diverse areas of rare diseases.