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  • Five promising early-career scientists have been awarded the prestigious EFIC-Grünenthal Grant (E-G-G) 2022
  • The E-G-G funds innovative research projects to advance understanding of pain, and improve the lives of people with pain


Brussels/Aachen 24 January 2022 – The European Pain Federation EFIC® and the pharmaceutical company Grünenthal have announced the five recipients of the EFIC-Grünenthal Grant (E-G-G). With a total value of €200,000, this biennial grant rewards innovative projects for human pain research and supports promising early-career scientists and physicians.

Pain is a major healthcare problem

One in five people in Europe live with chronic pain and this number is likely to increase as the ageing population expands.1 Pain has a negative impact on quality of life and creates a substantial economic and social burden2-5. The direct and indirect healthcare costs of chronic pain within the European Union countries is estimated to be 2-3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).5,6

The E-G-G aims to raise awareness of unmet needs in pain management. It supports young scientists, helping them explore novel ideas for pain research projects. The grant consists of up to €40,000 per project. The recipients are selected by the independent EFIC® Research Committee, a multi-disciplinary team of experts in the pain field. Selection criteria include originality of the project and the potential clinical impact. In addition to financial support, the winners also have the opportunity to network with experts in pain research and communicate the outcome of their research to the scientific community at the biannual Pain in Europe congress.

“For more than 15 years, the E-G-G grant has helped establish young scientists and clinicians as independent researchers in the field of pain. The quality, diversity and originality of the numerous proposals received for E-G-G 2022 hold promise for the future of pain research. Reviewing each proposal was scientifically stimulating.” says Prof. André Mouraux, chair of EFIC® Scientific Research Committee and one of the 2008 E-G-G winners.

The E-G-G winners 2022

E-G-G received 79 applications. In a two-step evaluation, seven selected reviewers and four members of the EFIC® Research Committee Working Group on Grants and Prizes selected five research projects for funding:

  • Andrea Polli, Belgium
    Project title: Stress intolerance in patients with chronic widespread pain: are epigenetic mechanisms the answer to the mystery?
  • Roberta Gualdani, Belgium
    Project title: Transient Receptor Potential channels as novel targets for precision medicine in pain
  • Alberto González Villar, Portugal
    Project title: Evaluation of the analgesic effects of interpersonal/affective touch during the induction of secondary hyperalgesia and temporal summation of second pain
  • Cindy Germaine Boer, Netherlands
    Project title: Osteoarthritis a gut feeling? the gut microbiome as a novel therapeutic target for osteoarthritis pain
  • Shafaq Sikandar, United Kingdom
    Project title: Identifying a Composite Biomarker Signature for Chronic Pain in Early Rheumatoid Arthritis


The winners will be officially recognised during the opening ceremony of the 12th Congress of the European Pain Federation EFIC® in Dublin, Ireland, from 27 to 30 April 2022.

The day after the ceremony, representatives from previous E-G-G winning projects will share insights from their research activities at the symposium “E-G-G: New Findings in Clinical Pain Research”.

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1 Goldberg DS, McGee SJ. BMC Public Health 2011, 11:770.

2 Varrassi G, et al. Curr Med Res Opin. 2010;26:1231–45.

3 Rice ASC, et al. Pain. 2016;157(4):791–6.

4 Wiffen P. Pain: there is a lot of it. Eur J Hosp Pharm. 2013;20:1.

5 Bevan S et al. Reducing Temporary Work Absence Through Early Intervention: The case of MSDs in the EU. The Work Foundation. 2013.

6 Breivik H, et al. The individual and societal burden of chronic pain in Europe: the case for strategic prioritisation and action to improve knowledge and availability of appropriate care. BMC Public Health. 24 December 2013, Vol. 13, 1229.


About the European Pain Federation EFIC®
Headquartered in Brussels, the European Pain Federation EFIC® is a multidisciplinary professional organisation in the field of pain research and pain management, consisting of the 38 chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP®), the IASP® approved official National Pain Societies in each country. Established in 1993, the European Pain Federation EFIC® constituent chapters represent Pain Societies from 38 European countries and more than 20,000 physicians, basic researchers, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists and other healthcare professionals across Europe, who are involved in pain management and pain research

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About Grünenthal
Grünenthal is a global leader in pain management and related diseases. As a science-based, privately-owned pharmaceutical company, we have a long track record of bringing innovative treatments and state-of-the-art technologies to patients worldwide. Our purpose is to change lives for the better – and innovation is our passion. We are focusing all of our activities and efforts on working towards our vision of a world free of pain.

Grünenthal is headquartered in Aachen, Germany, and has affiliates in 29 countries across Europe, Latin America and the US. Our products are available in around 100 countries. In 2020, Grünenthal employed around 4,500 people and achieved sales of € 1.3 bn.


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Sam Kynman

Executive Director

European Pain Federation EFIC®

Rue de Londres 18 b3

B-1050 Brussels


Maren Thurow

Head Global Commercial Communication

Grünenthal GmbH

52099 Aachen