The European Commission announced today the funding of 106 health research projects which together will receive up to €610 million under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7). These projects cover issues such as diagnostics, new therapies and vaccines. They have been selected through the third call for proposals of the Health Programme of FP7. A total of 679 proposals were submitted. Evaluation was performed with the help of international experts in the health research field. The 106 successful projects will now enter into final negotiation phase.
Key areas funded
The projects selected cover a wide range of research areas such as suitability, safety and efficacy of therapies, innovative therapies, brain and brain-related diseases, infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, emerging epidemics), major diseases (diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases), rare diseases, and patient safety.
In detail, the main areas that will be funded are the following:
1. Biotechnology, Generic Tools and Medical Technologies for Human Health
The areas covered include: high-throughput research, detection, diagnosis and monitoring and innovative therapeutic approaches. A budget of €142 million is expected for a total of 19 projects.
2. Translating Research for Human Health
The areas covered include: large-scale data gathering and systems biology, brain and related diseases, infectious diseases and other major diseases such as cardiovascular affections, diabetes and rare diseases. A total funding of €328 million is to be awarded to 43 consortia.
3. Optimising the Delivery of Healthcare to European Citizens
The areas covered include: Translating the results of clinical research outcomes into clinical practice including better use of medicines and appropriate use of behavioural and organisational interventions and new health therapies and technologies; quality, efficiency and solidarity of health care systems including transitional health systems; and enhanced health promotion and disease prevention. A budget of €64 million will be distributed to 22 projects.
4. Other Actions
The areas covered include: EU policy needs such as adapting patent medicines for the paediatric population; and specific international cooperation actions. A total funding of €76 million is to be awarded to 22 consortia.
Increased interest and competition
A total of 679 proposals were submitted before the call closed on 3 December 2008. The 106 best consortia consisting of academic institutions, small and medium sized enterprises, research organisations, industry, and patient organisations have been selected. Their scientific activities are expected to start in the next few months, immediately after the signature of the grant agreements (currently under negotiation).
In the selected proposals the small and medium sized enterprises (SME) have a participation rate of 15%, representing 14% of the requested budget.
Participation per country
The geographical distribution of the partner countries for proposals retained is very diverse. In addition to EU Member States, another 53 countries are represented, including Croatia, Iceland, Israel, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, FYROM, Turkey, USA, Russia, Tanzania, Uganda, India, South Africa, Brazil, Rep. of Korea, Argentina, Australia, Cameroon, Ghana, Niger, Benin, China, Gabon, Kenya, Nicaragua, Nigeria and Togo.
Some examples of projects that will be funded following the third call for proposals of the Health Programme of FP7: expected outcome and partners
1. SUB nanosecond Leverage in PET/MR ImAging (SUBLIMA)
Expected outcome: a truly simultaneous, fully integrated, solid state PET/MR technology for concurrent functional and anatomical imaging with unsurpassedimage quality. The consortium, led by Philips, consists of universities, research institutes, industrial partners, and SMEs, spreads over seven different countries including USA.
2. EU-GEI on schizophrenia
Expected outcome: to identify the interactive genetic, clinical and environmental determinants involved in the development, severity and outcome of schizophrenia. The partners in EU-GEI include the nationally-funded schizophrenia / mental health networks of the UK, Netherlands, France, Spain, Turkey and Germany.
3. Predicting antibiotic resistance (PAR)
Expected outcome: to describe and predict the dynamics of antibiotic resistancedevelopment at the level of the drug target, the microbe and the host. Prestigious universities such as Uppsala and Zurich are involved in the consortium.
4. Cutaneous and Mucosal HIV Vaccination (CUT’HIVAC)
Expected outcome: to propose innovative approaches for an HIV vaccine enhancing broadly cross-reactive mucosal, humoral and cellular immune responses specific to HIV antigens. Composed of 13 partners from 5 European countries and 2 international cooperation countries, the CUT’HIVAC consortium gathers knowledge on HIV biology and cutting-edge technologies in vaccinology to raise the challenge of developing a new HIV-vaccination strategy.
5. Novel immunotherapies for type 1 diabetes (NAIMIT)
Expected outcome: to pioneer the concept of tailored interventions with minimal immune system interference in new onset T1DM, leading to beta-cell protection and restoration. The multidisciplinary consortium is composed of leading European diabetologists and immunologists from 11 academic research institutions, in co-operation with 3 SMEs developing novel technologies.
6. Therapeutic challenge in Leukodystrophies: Transnational and ethical research towards clinical trials (LeukoTreat)
Expected outcome: the development of therapeutic approaches for myelin deficiency or destruction.
7. Quality and safety in European Union hospitals: A research-based guide for implementing best practice and a framework for assessing performance.(QUASER)
Expected outcome: to design and disseminate an evidence-based guide for hospitals to implement quality and safety improvement programmes, and an evidence-based framework to access and monitor the quality and safety of hospitals across the EU.
8. European Collaboration for Healthcare Optimization (ECHO)
Expected outcome: describing the actual performance of six different Healthcare Systems at hospital, healthcare area, regional and country level. Six European countries and an International Body for Healthcare Policy Analysis will collaborate in this consortium.
9. RICHE – a platform and inventory for child health research in Europe.
Expected outcome: to establish a sustainable network for researchers, funders, policy makers, advocates and young people in Europe to support collaboration in developing the future of child health research.
Expected outcome: to evaluate the pharmacokinetic (PK), safety and efficacy of meropenem in comparison to standard care in neonates and infants aged under 3 months suffering from late-onset sepsis and describe PK and safety in bacterial meningitis. Meropenem is an antibiotic that can overcome antimicrobial resistance, generally being safe and well tolerated with very good pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic characteristics.
11. Living Donation
Expected outcome: to gain advanced understanding in European practices of living unrelated donation. To get a better idea of actual facts and figures and also of the moral arguments and legal barriers either or not to perform living unrelated transplantations. This research will be carried out from a European perspective, with a special focus on the New Member States.
12. African-European Research Initiative on Co-infections of Poverty Related and Neglected Infection Diseases (IDEA)
Expected outcome: will focus on 4 primary objectives: a) the worm-induced modulation of the functional and molecular profile of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria specific immune responses, b) the impact of worm co-infections on measuring disease activity of poverty related diseases, c) the immunologic markers of worm, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria specific immune responses associated with better control of pathogen replication and disease, and d) the modulation by worm co-infections of vaccine-induced immune responses. The consortium is an alliance of 20 African and European leading Health Institutes, Universities and Hospitals.
13. Systems biology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (SysteMTb).
Expected outcome: despite global research efforts our understanding of the complex biology underlying pathogenesis, virulence and persistence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTb) infection remains insufficient. The goal of the SysteMTb project is to establish a Systems Biology framework to understand key features of MTb and its interactions with the host which, in turn, will provide new insights and a solid (model-based) knowledge for the development of novel and cost effective strategies to combat tuberculosis. The research involves 18 partners, including leading laboratories and SMEs.