Selected Projects

20+ years of experience, a team with complementary expertise and a wide network of European partners makes a big difference for customers want to achieve excellent results. CF consulting has a track record of over 100 projects, all funded by the European Commission. Here below the most recent ones.

ACTIVE: Active constraints technologies for Ill-defined or volatile environments

The ACTIVE project exploits ICT and other engineering methods and technologies for the design and development of an integrated redundant robotic platform for neurosurgery.

A light and agile redundant robotic cell with 20 degrees-of-freedom (DoFs) and an advanced processing unit for pre- and intra-operative control will operate both autonomously and cooperatively with surgical staff on the brain.

As the patient will not be considered rigidly fixed to the operating table and/or to the robot, the system will push the boundaries of the state of the art in the fields of robotics and control for the accuracy and bandwidth required by the challenging and complex surgical scenario.

Consortium: 16 partners from 6 countries

Coordinator of the project: Politecnico di Milano, Department of Electronics, Information Science and Bioengineering  –  Italy

Funding programme: FP7-ICT

Project start: Novembrer 2009

End date for the project: 31 March 2015

For more information go to the website

Development of new biotech AdvanceD materials based on Hyaluronic acid and nanoparticlEs to prevent Surgical adhesIons and pOst surgical infectionNs.

Adhesion formation is a major post-surgical complication. The term “adhesion” is used to describe abnormal attachments between tissues or organs or between tissues and implants (e.g. prosthetic devices) formed after an inflammatory stimulus (i.e. surgery), that produces considerable pain and discomfort. The incidence of post-surgery adhesion approaches 100%, with a clinically significant complication rate of 3-8%, depending on surgery type i,ii. Adhesion formation after open-heart surgery, for example, is a well-documented, significant complication during secondary procedures which account for 15% to 20% of the approximately 450,000 surgeries performed annually in the US and the 350,000 surgeries performed annually throughout the EU.

The aim of the ADHESION Project is to strengthen the anti-adhesion and anti-bacterial characteristics of a NOVAGENIT® proprietary product (DAC®), by tuning and validating a new more competitive solution targeted to the orthopaedic and cardiovascular surgery. NOVAGENIT® will take the opportunity to expand its own business in the anti-adhesion market by taking advantage of the intrinsic barrier effect of the DAC® hydrogel.

Coordinator of the project: NOVAGENIT Srl –  Italy

Funding programme: H2020-SMEINST-1-2014

Project start: 1 May 2015

End date for the project: 30 October 2015

An integrated omics approach for patients with rare neurological disorders: towards personalized clinical care and trial readiness

Rare neurological diseases (RNDs) are a group of disorders characterized by the selective degeneration of specific neuronal populations.

They impose an enormous burden on the patients, their families and society, but the current diagnostic and subsequent therapeutic management is still highly unsatisfactory for a large proportion of RND patients.

Regione Lombardia has an overall number of approx. 13,000 living RND patients, representing almost 50% of all rare diseases in the region.Thus, there is an urgent need of understanding the mechanisms underlying these disorders, in order to maximize the possibilities of developing clinically effective therapies.

Given the internationally recognized expertise of the applicant’s institution in each of the disorders covered by the ERN-RND, our project aims at creating a wide and complementary network of Regione Lombardia based CoEs that, aggregating high-level expertises in clinics, genetics, new ‘omic technologies, and neuroscience, will allow to implement in the Regione Lombardia health system the four ‘P’s model of personalized medicine for these disorders:

1) Prediction and prevention of disease;

2) More precise diagnoses;

3) Targeted and personalised interventions;

4) A more participatory role for patients.

Consortium: 5 partners from 1 country

Coordinator of the project: Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico “Carlo Besta”, Italy

Funding programme: Fondazione Regionale per la Ricerca Biomedica (FRRB)

Project start: 1st January 2020

End date for the project:  31st December 2022

Development of Epilepsy – Strategies for Innovative Research to improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment in children with difficult to treat Epilepsy

DESIRE will focus on epileptogenic developmental disorders (EDD), i.e. early onset epilepsies whose origin is closely related to developmental brain processes. A major cause of EDD are malformations of cortical development (MCD), either macroscopic or subtle. EDD are often manifested as epileptic encephalopathies (EE), i.e. conditions in which epileptic activity itself may contribute to severe cognitive and behavioral impairments. EDD are the most frequent drugresistant pediatric epilepsies carrying a lifelong perspective of disability and reduced quality of life. Although EDD collectively represent a major medical and socio-economic burden, their molecular diagnosis, pathogenic mechanisms (PM) and rationale treatment are poorly understood.

Specific objectives of DESIRE are to advance the state of the art with respect to:

1.    the genetic and epigenetic causes and PM of EDD, particularly epileptogenic MCD, to elucidate molecular networks and disrupted protein complexes and search for common bases for these apparently heterogeneous disorders.

2.    the diagnostic tools (biomarkers) and protocols through the study of a unique and well-characterized cohort of children to provide standardized diagnosis for patient stratification and research across Europe.

3.    treatment of EDD using randomized, multidisciplinary clinical protocols and testing preclinical strategies in experimental models to also address novel preventative strategies.

Consortium: 26 partners from 11 countries

Coordinator of the project:  Department of Neuroscienze, Psicologia, Area del farmaco e salute del bambino, Università degli Studi di Firenze  –  Italy

Funding programme: FP7-HEALTH

Project start: October 2013

End date for the project: 30 September 2018

For more information go to the website

European Brain Research Area -EBRA

The overall idea underpinning EBRA is to coordinate and synergise brain research projects and initiatives at both European and global level in order to foster the efficiency of efforts in brain research.

EBRA brings together the brain research community at large, the major brain research initiatives, research funding networks and all relevant stakeholders at European level and beyond, to ensure the overall delivery of the research potential. This has to be achieved in a way that is non-overlapping (or even detrimental) and actually builds on the efforts already done by the ongoing large initiatives such as the Human Brain Project (HBP), the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), Joint Programming on Neurodegenerative Diseases (JPND), and the Network of European funding for Neuroscience Research (NEURON). Ultimately, EBRA aims at integrating these initiatives at higher level to create a true added value by aligning strategies and optimising research investments and effort.

Consortium: 4 partners from 4 countries

Coordinator of the project: THE EUROPEAN BRAIN COUNCIL AISBL (EBC), Belgium

Funding programme: Horizon 2020

Project start: 1st November 2018

End date for the project:  31st October 2021

European Health Data & Evidence Network (EHDEN)

The EHDEN project is a public-private partnership, set up under the framework of the IMI2 programme. The mission of EHDEN is to provide a new paradigm for the discovery and analysis of health data in Europe, by building a large-scale, federated network of data partners across Europe. EHDEN aimed at incentivising the standardisation of health data sources in Europe to the Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership Common Data Model (OMOP CDM). Interested Data Partners receive financial support to map their data to the OMOP CDM.

Due to the global pandemic, EHDEN has launched an extraordinary call named Rapid Collaboration Call on COVID-19, inviting data partners to apply for contributing to map COVID-19 data. Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta is a Data Partner: the researchers have created a database to investigate onset, course, correlations with comorbidities and diagnostic accuracy of nasopharyngeal swab in SARS-COV-2 patients admitted to the hospital of Crema, Italy, since February 21.

Consortium: Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Italy

Coordinator of the project: Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum Rotterdam (EMC)

Funding programme: Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking (JU)

Project start: 7/05/2020

End date for the project:  7/05/2021

HEAT4U: Gas Absorption Heat Pump solution for existing residential buildings.

The idea of HEAT4U is to develop a new efficient solutions for energy generation, storage and use related to space heating and domestic hot water in existing buildings.

Residential buildings represent 60% of the building stock and the area where most of the potential to drastically reduce energy use and CO2 emissions lies. New directives push for deep retrofitting efforts, in order to achieve energy efficiency and RES adoption targets for 2020 and beyond.

HEAT4U is one of the most important international research projects in the area of climate change and energy efficiency applied to the built environment. The challenge for HEAT4U is to implement the gas absorption heat pump technology in the area of single-family detached residential homes. What is even more important is the goal of designing heat pumps that can be installed in the existing buildings stock to improve the heating efficiency (49% of the overall energy consumption in terms of primary energy, and 36% of greenhouse-gas emissions).

The final results of the project have confirmed that the absorption heat pump powered by natural gas GAHP is a high-value solution and already in line with the new and future standards for the rational use of energy and renewable energy sources, and fully compatible with the existing distribution networks. The heat pump GAHP can increase by over 35% the energy efficiency compared to the best condensing boilers thanks to the use of renewable energy, with the resulting cost savings and environmental benefits.

Consortium: 16 partners from 6 countries

Coordinator of the project: ROBUR S.p.A. Heating and Cooling Systems  –  Italy

Funding programme: FP7-NMP – ENV – ENERGY – ICT – EEB

Project start: Novembrer 2011

End date for the project: 31 October 2014

For more information go to the website

Implant Disposable Antibacterial Coating (I.D.A.C.). A Novel Approach to Implant-Related Infections in Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery.

Biofilm-related infections are among the main reasons for failure of joint prosthesis with high associated social and economical costs. Bacterial adhesion and subsequent biofilm formation have been shown to develop early after biomaterials implant into the human body, when a “race to the surface” takes place between the host’s cells and the colonizing bacteria eventually present at the surgical site.

Aim of iDAC is to develop, validate and bring to the market a disposable coating of implanted biomaterial; providing an antibacterial/antibiofilm coating of the implant may then play a strategic role in preventing biofilm related infections.

Consortium: 12 partners from 7 countries

Coordinator of the project: NOVAGENIT Srl  –  Italy

Funding programme: FP7-HEALTH

Project start: 1 January 2012

End date for the project: 30 June 2015

For more information go to the website

Integrated Nanoparticle Isolation And Detection System For Complete On-Chip Analysis Of Exosomes

Exosomes are biological nanoparticles known to mediate communication between cells; since they exert significant roles in various pathological conditions such as cancer, infectious and neurodegenerative diseases, their effective utilization holds a great promise of revolutionizing the standard of diagnostics and clinical care.

However, the clinical breakthrough exosomes may present in healthcare could not be realized to date due to difficulties in identifying and characterizing exosomes resulting from their small size (30-100nm).

The aim of Project INDEX is to isolate and characterize exosomes available in bodily fluids through development and integration of novel technological breakthroughs and accelerate the transition of exosome-based research and scientific discoveries to real clinical utility INDEX is funded by the European Commission in the framework of H2020 FET-OPEN programs and officially started October 1st 2017.

Consortium: 6 partners from 5 countries

Coordinator of the project: National Research Council (CNR)

Funding programme: Horizon 2020

Project start: 1st October 2017

End date for the project:  30 September 2020

Development of an integrated SPECT/MRI system for enhanced stratification of brain tumour patients prior to patient-specific radio-chemo therapy and early assessment of treatment efficacy.

Objective of the INSERT project is to develop an innovative system combining SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), which will enable the simultaneous acquisition of images resulting from the two systems.

Motivation of the INSERT project lays in the high mortality rate of patients with recurrent glioma (a tumour of the central nervous system).

Thanks to the possibility of obtaining multiple parameters, the INSERT system will enable to better define the tumour biology and to give relevant information for a personalized treatment, with a considerable impact on the efficacy of the treatment itself.

Consortium: 10 partners from 5 countries

Coordinator of the project: Politecnico di Milano, Department of Electronics, Information Science and Bioengineering  –  Italy

Funding programme: FP7-HEALTH

Project start: 1 March 2013

End date for the project: 28 February 2017

For more information go to the website

Innovation, new technological models and networks to treat ALS

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease without therapy to modify its progression and has a fatal outcome. In Lombardy about 1000 affected patients and an expected incidence of 0.8 new cases per day.

The biological mechanisms underlying the disease remain largely unknown, as do the factors that determine clinical and course variability.

INTERSLA aims to expand the knowledge of the pathogenesis of ALS through a pre-clinical approach integrated with advanced technologies of genome editing, animal reproduction, biomarker discovery, molecular biology, big data analysis; to translate knowledge into innovative therapies by identifying new therapeutic targets; to create platforms for biomarker discovery and big data analysis that will draw information from clinical, genetic, tissue, cellular, molecular, biochemical and immunological characterization of patients and animal models.

Consortium: 5 partners from 1 countries

Coordinator of the project: Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Italy

Funding programme: POR FESR 2014-2020 – Regione Lombardia

Project start: 1st March 2020

End date for the project:  31st May 2022

Mental Health promotion of cobot Workers in Industry 4.0 – MindBot

MindBot aims at identifying methods and implementing solutions for promoting good mental health in the emerging industry 4.0 within the specific context of manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that adopt collaborative robots (cobots) in their production lines.

MindBot idea is to design workplaces where level of challenge and difficulty of job tasks are matched with the workers’ abilities and skills, in order to support motivation and engagement of workers interacting with cobots in a flexible and personalized way.
This will facilitate an active and positive attitude of the worker that promotes good mental health and prevents negative experiences of anxiety or boredom and apathy that eventually lead to mental illnesses.
A multidisciplinary approach will be adopted by taking into account multiple facets potentially impacting mental health and intervening on technological, relational and organizational aspects of the cobot-based work. MindBot involves a major worldwide cobot manufacturer, SMEs (employers and employees), universities, technical and clinical research centers, patient organizations and ministry of labour and pension system.

The key expected results are:

  1. The definition of organizational guidelines for the design of a cobot-based manufacturing workplace able to promote workers’ mental health;
  2. The definition of technical guidelines for the design of a “mental health friendly” cobots, including the MindBot prototype development;
  3. The definition of an employment model for persons diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) working in the frame of manufacturing SMEs adopting cobot.

Consortium: 9 partners from 4 countries

Coordinator of the project: IRCCS – Associazione La Nostra Famiglia “Istituto Scientifico Eugenio Medea”, Italy

Funding programme: Horizon 2020

Project start: 1st January 2020

End date for the project:  31st December 2022

For more information go to the website:

NeuGRID for you: expansion of NeuGRID services and outreach to new user communities.

NeuGRID is a web portal aimed to (i) help neuroscientists do high-throughput imaging research, and (ii) provide clinical neurologists automated diagnostic imaging markers of neurodegenerative diseases for individual patient diagnosis. neuGRID’s user-friendly environment is customised to a range of users from students to senior neuroscientists working in the fields of Alzheimer’s disease, psychiatric diseases, and white matter diseases. neuGRID aims to become the “Google for brain imaging”.

Objective of N4U is to provide neuroscientists and clinicians in Europe and worldwide with the innovative online neuGRID functional environment, where they can securely upload, use, share brain feature extraction algorithms paired with access to computational power, large image datasets and specialized support & training.

Final results show that using its distributed services and grid/cloud computational resources, analyses with neuGRID are incomparably faster than traditional-style lab-based analyses. The combination of medical imaging with Distributed Computing Infrastrutures (DCI) has demonstrated the potential to make a significant impact in the translation of medical research from the lab into clinical practice.

Consortium: 14 partners from 8 countries

Coordinator of the project: Provincia Lombardo-Veneta, Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli, IRCCS  –  Italy

Funding programme: FP7-INFRASTRUCTURES

Project start: 1 July 2011

End date for the project: 30 April 2015

For more information go to the website

The PAIN-NET Programme will support talented and inspired early stage researchers with wide knowledge in neuropathic pain.

Neuropathic pain affects 5% of the general population and 40% of patients with neurological diseases, and has a key role in the pathophysiology of cancer pain that affects up to 50% of patients in the early disease stage and 30% of survivors, causing an enormous social burden. Treatments are inadequate with less than 50% of patients achieving 50% of pain relief at best, while up to 30% of cancer pain patients experience insufficient analgesia.

PAIN-NET research projects will contribute to better understanding individual susceptibility to pain and analgesics responsiveness based on next generation sequencing, whole exome sequencing, epigenetics and pharmacogenomics studies, nociceptor and sodium channel functioning based on biophysics and proteomics studies, targeted analgesics based on high-throughput screening, targeted analgesic delivery based on encapsulated cell bioreactor implants, and to the development and extensive characterisation of the first knock-in mouse models of sodium channel-related neuropathic pain based on the CRISP-Cas technology.

Most of all, the PAIN-Net programme will offer the unique opportunity to enhance scientific capabilities and prepare to high level academic or private applied research career.

Consortium: 10 partners from 6 countries

Coordinator of the project: Fondazione IRCSS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta

Funding programme: H2020-MSCA-ITN-2016

Project start: 1 February 2017

End date for the project:  31 Gennaio 2021

PATHWAYS: Towards a more inclusive labour market where participation of people with chronic disease and mental disorders will be possible

PATHWAYS is a 3-years project focusing on the development of innovative approaches to promote the professional integration and reintegration of people with chronic diseases and improve their employability.

Individuals with chronic diseases and mental disorders often experience work-related problems, leading to negative consequences at individual, national and European level. The rising prevalence of persons with chronic diseases and mental disorders as well as the current economic crisis make this issue even more problematic, requiring action in terms of innovative strategies to improve the participation of these persons in the labor market.

In response to these issues, that have negative consequences at individual, national and European levels, PATHWAYS project aims to:

1.    identify integration and re-integration strategies that are available in Europe and beyond;

2.    determine their effectiveness;

3.    assess the specific employment related needs of persons with chronic diseases and mental disorders;

4.    develop European guidelines supporting the implementation of effective professional integration and reintegration strategies.

Consortium: 12 partners from 10 countries

Coordinator of the project: Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta – Italy

Funding programme: H2020-HEALTH PROGRAMME

Project start: 1 May 2015

End date for the project: 30 May 2018

For more information go to the website

Press-release PATHWAYS European Report 2016

A multicentric randomized pragmatic trial to compare the effectiveness of fingolimod versus dimethyl-fumarate on patient overall disease experience in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

Novel data to inform decision-makers will conduct a head-to-head comparison of effectiveness of two approved disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).

The term effectiveness refers to efficacy in a real life setting: this is intended to be in fact the first pragmatic multi-centre randomised controlled trial to directly assess the effectiveness of the new oral agents approved for MS. Relapsing–remitting MS (RRMS), the type of MS that is the first diagnosis in 80–85% of patients, is characterized by episodes of neurological dysfunction, known as relapses, followed by periods of remission. DMTs form the mainstay of treatment for RRMS.

They aim to reduce the frequency and severity of relapses, extend the time intervals between relapses and slow progression to permanent disability. Primary outcome of the project will be to assess the superiority of one treatment in preserving the status of “no evidence of disease activity” (NEDA).

Consortium: 17 main coordinating centers and several MS patients associations and recruiting centers from 6 countries

Coordinator of the project: Fondazione IRCSS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta

Funding programme: PCORI – Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

Project start: 1 November 2016

End date for the project: 1 July 2021

For more information: go to the website

Probing the role of sodium channels in painful neuropathies.

Neuropathic pain is a frequent feature of peripheral neuropathy adversely impacting patients’ quality of life and increasing health care costs. The PROPANE STUDY aims to address these issues through a solid clinical and genetic approach employing an innovative technological platform.

The main objectives are to resolve the genetic architecture of painful neuropathy achieving a stratification of high-risk neuropathic pain patients by novel biomarkers, to deepen understanding of underlying mechanisms and druggable targets and to identify new molecules tailored to potentially drug-responder patients and determine their effects in pre-clinical settings.

Consortium: 9 partners from 6 countries

Coordinator of the project: Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta – Italy

Funding programme: FP7-HEALTH

Project start: October 2013

End date for the project: 30 September 2016

For more information go to the website

How to best meet the needs of people with dementia with severe behavioural disturbances. Toward a respectful and cost-effective model

The RECAGE project will tackle one of the most challenging problem arising during the clinical course of dementia: the so-called Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD).

The current state-of-the-art of the treatment of these symptoms is still unsatisfactory and there are many unmet needs in this area.

The major objective of the project will be to assess the effectiveness of an intervention, the special medical care unit for patients with BPSD (SCU-B), that, albeit already implemented in some European countries, is not widespread and has not been sufficiently studied so far, although it seems to be promising for its short-term efficacy (alleviating BPSD and improving quality of life of PwD) and possibly for its long term efficacy.

Consortium: 17 partners from 7 countries

Coordinator of the project: Fondazione Europea di Ricerca Biomedica – FERB Onlus, Italy

Funding programme: Horizon 2020

Project start: 1st January 2018

End date for the project:  31st December 2022

A Roadmap for Mental Health Research in Europe.

ROAMER is a three-year project funded by the European Commission, under the Seventh Framework Programme, to create a coordinated road map for the promotion and integration of mental health and well-being research across Europe, based on a common methodology and conceptual framework that covers the full spectrum of biological, psychological, epidemiological, public health, social and economic aspects of mental health and well-being. ROAMER combines a consortium of renown mental health research scientists, with a methodologically sound, pragmatic and comprehensive approach with an extensive stakeholder involvement.

Consortium: 14 partners from 7 countries

Coordinator of the project: Consortio CIBER para el Área Temática de Salud Mental (CIBERSAM)

Funding programme: FP7-HEALTH

Project start: 1 October 2011

End date for the project: 31 March 2015

For more information go to the website

ROAMER has launched a short video to promote mental health research in Europe. Have a look and help us to increase mental health research!

Microbubble driven multimodal imaging and theranostics for gliomas.

The idea of TheraGlio is to develop a multimodal imaging system for Theranostics (therapy+diagnosis) of patients bearing malignant glioma, the most common primary brain tumour.

This technology will avail of new generation Microbubbles (MBs) that can simultaneously act as drug delivery system and contrast agent for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, intra-operative Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound and intra-operative fluorescence microscopic. This novel imaging system will provide multimodal image guidance during tumour resection with the final goal of prolonging patients’ survival, as a result of a safer and larger tumour resection and tailored delivery of specific chemotherapeutic molecules.

Consortium: 11 partners from 5 countries

Coordinator of the project: Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta – Italy

Funding programme: FP7-HEALTH

Project start: October 2013

End date for the project: 30 September 2018

For more information go to the website

Translating molecular mechanisms into ALS risk and patient’s well-being

ALS is a rare neurodegenerative disease with fatal outcome. The lack of treatments, the high impact on quality of life of patients and families, the strong emotional effect on the society and the related health care costs have prompted, in the last decade, most international scientific institutions to focus on this disease. TRANS ALS consortium embeds all these aspects.

The mechanisms of the disease remain largely unknown, while treatments able to halt or at least significantly slow its course are urgently needed.

Current literature suggests that focusing on cellular, molecular and clinical signatures is mandatory to identify genes and modifier factors influencing the risk of disease, and for providing new prognostic stratification of patients and therapeutic targets.

To achieve this objective, we have created a wide and complementary Consortium that, aggregating high-level expertise in basic neuroscience, clinics, genetics, and nanotechnology will implement translational and personalized management of ALS patients and at asymptomatic mutation carriers at risk of disease. Pillar of the Consortium is the joint within Regione Lombardia of 19 clinical centers, 7 basic neuroscience laboratories with extensive experience in the field of ALS research, and the Nanostructured Materials laboratory at the Polytechnic of Milan University, with the overall aim to deepen the existing knowledge of disease mechanisms in ALS and to address still unresolved clinical needs.

Consortium: 21 partners from 1 country

Coordinator of the project: Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta (FINCB), Italy

Funding programme: Fondazione Regionale per la Ricerca Biomedica (FRRB)

Project start: 1st February 2017

End date for the project:  31st July 2020