New perspectives for LifeTime

LifeTime and the European Commission have initiated high-level strategic discussions to implement LifeTime’s vision and to fulfil the EC’s priorities for digital and data-driven medicine.

Beginning of July, the coordinators of LifeTime, Nikolaus Rajewsky and Geneviève Almouzni, met with director general of DG CNECT, Roberto Viola. During this meeting, it became clear that LifeTime represents an excellent opportunity to capitalise on the EC’s recent investments in capacity building in areas such as supercomputing, artificial intelligence, and European cloud infrastructure. 

Specifically, many of the technological developments that LifeTime foresees will create better data, feeding into these structures and thereby help to advance research, disease prevention, and personalised health and care in Europe. The path on how these technology developments will be combined with disease priorities, infrastructure (including training and knowledge transfer) and innovation over the next years will be laid out in the LifeTime Roadmap.

The Roadmap aims to delineate a truly European effort that will transform our understanding of key diseases and how to treat them. The focus has changed – we are not developing the framework for a FET-Flagship! In parallel, LifeTime will continue consultations with policymakers at European and national level, identifying calls that can support and kick-start the initiative. 

The deliverables we currently prepare will investigate what LifeTime requires (in terms of infrastructure and research) to achieve its goals to transform health and care. They will offer paths to implement the LifeTime’s scientific vision and can inform the EC in defining calls in the new framework programme. In many aspects, LifeTime’s vision aligns very well with the EU funding priorities in research and innovation in digital health and care solutions.

The LifeTime White Paper will present a far-reaching vision on what LifeTime wants to achieve. The White Paper, which will be published in Nature, is important for several funding agencies who are interested to understand LifeTime’s vision to see how they can include LifeTime into their funding strategies. For the EC, the White Paper is also important because it demonstrates the extent and breadth of the LifeTime community in terms of participating institutions and countries. 

Large initiatives such as LifeTime can only be successful if the member states of the EU (and its involved partners such as Israel or Switzerland) support and prioritise them. Connecting with national stakeholders (ministries and the representatives of the Member States in the shadow programme committee) is essential. Therefore, we need to rally as much support as possible.

LifeTime has reached a point where it can build on the growing momentum in the community and on the increasingly positive and enthusiastic support from the EC to develop a vision that enables it to shape and contribute to transforming healthcare in Europe.