Ahead of the European Council negotiations on the next Multiannual Financial Framework, academic and industry leaders supporting the LifeTime initiative, have called members of the European Union into action. They ask to preserve the existing Horizon Europe budget and put forward ten recommendations to strengthen EU health research.

Europe needs significant, coordinated and balanced investment programs to close the gap that the discontinuation of the FET-Flagship program has left in the European research funding landscape. Only long-term large-scale research initiatives have the potential to overcome the healthcare challenges facing Europe. They will integrate efforts within the public and private sector, create synergies and offer sustainable transformative solutions thereby releasing Horizon Europe’s full potential to the benefit of our economy and citizens’ health.

The “Make EU health research count!” call is the outcome of the recent “LifeTime meets industry” event in Basel. Leaders in the core technologies of the LifeTime initiative (single cell, personalised disease models, artificial intelligence and machine learning) met with representatives from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and 40 companies across different sectors (multi-omics, single-cell analysis, imaging, IT/data science, pharma/biotech, and diagnostics). 

The LifeTime call for action issued ten recommendations, urging decision makers to take measures that bolster the complete cycle of innovation from discovery to implementation. Innovative, evidence-based solutions can only be realised on the basis of a substantial budget under Horizon Europe. This budget – which is under threat – is urgently needed in its full amount. Only if the EU members commit to a strong Horizon Europe, will we be able to advance EU health research. With healthcare being a cornerstone for security, freedom, growth and social developments, it is now time to take action. Companies from multiple sectors and EFPIA have joined scientists and clinicians all across Europe and signed this call

LifeTime coordinators Geneviève Almouzni and Nikolaus Rajewsky are delighted that so many companies support the LifeTime vision: “It is reassuring to see the public and private sectors united in their concern about the budget and implementation of Horizon Europe. This call is a strong message to convince the EU council and European finance ministers of the importance to preserve and even increase investment in health research”. 

Ten recommendations to make EU health research count

  1. Substantial and coordinated EU as well as national investment towards understanding and treating human disease exploring molecular, cellular and systems levels;
  2. Unifying framework fostering collaboration between academia and industry across multiple disciplines;
  3. Joint projects between public and private sectors spanning the entire biomedical innovation cycle from discovery research, technology development, and implementation into hospitals and the healthcare industry;
  4. Flexible new modes of stimulating innovation by facilitating cross-sectoral collaborations among industries accommodating the different development timelines and business models;
  5. Comprehensive early technology adoption programs enabling rapid implementation at the EU level;
  6. A network of centres of excellence that link multidisciplinary scientists with hospitals;
  7. Digital environments to process large datasets and use advanced analytics/AI and machine learning with a scalability enabling health applications;
  8. Training, education of clinicians and medical staff developing the skills to embrace new technologies;
  9. Promotion of early disease interception with all stakeholders involved in therapy development and provision;
  10. Public education to facilitate societal participation in the digital revolution in science-based medicine.
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