The final year of Horizon 2020 sees the largest total award for collaborative research for health. The 75 projects short-listed after evaluation will involve 1158 participants from 58 countries. Following signatures of grant agreements in the coming weeks, they should receive a total of €508 million in grants to address a wide range of crucial health challenges and opportunities.
The investments will enable the development of digital diagnostics and various new interventions, including treatments and vaccines, with specific actions against cancer, brain-related diseases, and infectious diseases. Specific attention is also given to the management of complex chronic conditions and to developing healthcare interventions for elderly patients affected by multiple diseases.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:
EU-funded research and innovation is a key part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but, at the same time, we are not neglecting other vital issues for our health and well-being. The EU has a crucial role to play through the scale of investments, including in key European research infrastructures, its attention to major challenges, such as cancer, antimicrobial resistance and environmental impacts on health, the coordination of national efforts and international collaboration.
The funding will also enable researchers to better understand the impacts of micro- and nano-plastics on health; to address environmental, climate and socioeconomic factors to improve urban health and wellbeing; to and work towards safety assessment of chemicals without the use of animal testing.
Infectious diseases continue to be a priority with a specific effort to address low vaccine uptake – which is more than ever a threat to the health of the entire population with the resurgence of previously controlled diseases and the urgency to tackle new epidemics such as Covid.
The Commission also pursues efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance by supporting research on the clinical management and prevention of resistant bacterial infections () and further investment to support the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial resistance (JPIAMR). Additionally, a major investment (€30 million) is dedicated to a European wide network for large-scale clinical research studies specifically for infectious diseases.
The Commission also continues to foster coordination among Member States through the ERA-NET co-fund mechanism to support public-public partnerships, including joint programming initiatives in three areas: cancer research, brain-related diseases and disorders of the nervous system, and antimicrobial resistance, with a total of almost €27 million, to be matched by the participating Member States to co-fund joint calls for proposals for trans-national research and/or innovation projects.
Several projects are dedicated to implementation research for scaling up and transfer of innovative solutions involving digital tools for people-centred care and to closing the gap between supply and demand for innovative integrated care solutions, via pre-commercial procurement, which is expected to bring radical improvements to the quality and efficiency of public services and service delivery.
Part of the funding is also dedicated to Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs) to develop a Health Research and Innovation Cloud; to support the International Consortium for Personalised Medicine (ICPerMed); to promote innovation; to develop methodological approaches to improve clinical investigation and evaluation of medical devices; to foster research on the human microbiome; and to provide information on cell and gene-based therapies; as well as to coordinate clinical research activities of European Reference Networks.
The results of this final health call clearly demonstrates how the Horizon 2020 programme is open to the world. Participants from a total of 58 countries will be involved in the projects, including 94 participants from 11 countries associated to the programme and 61 participants from 20 third countries.