The main aim of the La Marató de TV3 Foundation is to promote biomedical research through the funds raised by the programme. This boost for research comes about from the funding of research projects led by scientists from the main Catalan institutions.
The research activity financed by the Foundation encourages cross-sectional and translational research, as is shown by the increasing investment in basic and clinical research projects, and in co-ordinated projects, which involve a network of different institutions.
Every two years since 2006, the Fundació La Marató de TV3 has issued a public call for proposals for diseases with the aim of involving civil society in choosing the theme of the programme. The call is open to associations representing patients or their families, as well as research bodies, scientific societies and professionals in the health field that are in the Register of Legal Associations of the Department of Justice of the Catalan government.
Public invitation to present projects
In February each year, after the broadcast of the La Marató telethon, the Foundation opens a public process of inviting research projects to be funded with money raised by the programme. Applications are presented by Catalan researchers from the main research centres in the country, with single-centre or co-ordinated projects, the latter involving networking with other institutions in Spain or other countries.
Assessment of the research projects
The projects that are presented are reviewed and passed on to the Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia (AQUAS), part of the Catalan Health Ministry, which manages the assessment process. The reviewers, who are internationally-renowned researchers and specialists in the disease that is the object of that year's telethon, assess the projects by means of a peer review procedure that guarantees the transparency and rigour of the whole process. This assessment determines the scientific importance of the projects, as well as their quality, methodological rigour and possibilities for application.
The last part of this assessment process is done by an ad hoc committee of European assessors, who meet in Barcelona to prioritise the projects with the highest assessment scores. The list that comes from this meeting is presented to the Foundation's Scientific Advisory Committee, which reports to the Board for the final decision as to which projects will receive funds obtained in La Marató.
Award of grants
The final agreement for distribution of the resources is made public through the press and a the web site, and successful investigators are invited to a public academic ceremony at which the grants are awarded. These ceremonies travel around all the Catalan universities. The selected research projects are fully funded to the budget that has been applied for.
Monitoring the projects
The successful researchers sign individual agreements setting out the conditions for funding the research projects. The work, which generally lasts for three years, receives an annual payment once the scientific and financial reports have been approved. The Foundation monitors the financial control and expenditure of the projects and the AQUAS assesses the annual scientific report.
Ending the projects. Symposium
The results of the projects financed with the funds raised by La Marató de TV3 are presented at a Symposium that the Foundation has organised every year since 2000. This is the time to render accounts for this research investment, which has been made possible by the generosity and public spirit shown in the donations that have been made.