A leap forward for health research in Europe: top scientists to have more say in EU-funded research agenda

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Ulf Smith

Joep Geraedts

The Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe (BioMed Alliance) has been long advocating for a strategic instrument – the ‘European Council for Health Research (EuCHR)’ – to foster innovation in Europe by using contemporary evidence to bridge the gap between health research and policy for the benefit of society.

A scientific-led strategic body that can steer health research and innovation across Horizon 2020 (H2020) lies at the core of the EuCHR concept. Indeed, to implement the concept of the EuCHR it would be necessary to establish a Scientific Steering Board (SSB).


European Medical Research Councils - along with learned societies and patients’ groups – make the case for changes to the Horizon 2020 proposals – calling for increased spending on biomedical science and the creation of a European Clinical Research Fund.


List of attendees
GA agenda
GA minutes
Letter from Teresa Riera


Ulf Smith
Jeremy Bray
Piha Tapani
Michael Manns

Scientific activity has always been international. More than a third of all scientific publications in the EU have authors from at least two different countries.


In health, research is the key to identifying causes of disease and developing strategies for health promotion and prevention, as well as diagnosis and treatment. It helps save lives.

New treatments, drugs and technologies are a result of many years of study, trials, promise and investment. But in this golden age of genomics and biomedical research, why aren’t many promising discoveries benefiting patients as rapidly as expected? Why are Europe’s innovators increasingly relocating outside Europe? And how are EU Member States going to tackle the challenge of ever increasing healthcare costs given the demographic trends of an ageing population, in a time of economic gloom?

European Council for Health Research Concept Paper

In order to provide further insight into the need for a EuCHR and how it can truly benefit both the economy of Europe as well as citizens, examples of its positive impact are outlined below. The case studies outlined are attempting to provide over-arching examples of what can be achieved, and are not restricted to one discipline or disease but rather have been provided to raise awareness of how the EuCHR can support a multitude of diseases and biomedical research areas. There are of course many other examples that can be provided, but due to space and time restrictions, are not indicated below.

EuCHR - Illustrating its major impact on European Health Research

This Concept Paper has been initiated by a group of multidisciplinary, multi‐professional ‘opinion‐leaders’, nominated by the member societies of the Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe (BioMed Alliance), along with the BioMed Alliance Executive Committee.

BioMed Alliance EuCHR Core Working Group

To sustain a healthy and productive European population, the Alliance for Biomedical

Research in Europe calls upon the European Institutions to:

  1. Boost biomedical and clinical research with appropriate resourcing at the EU level
  2. Implement structured consultation with the biomedical researchers to ensure proper targeting and priority-setting for funding
  3. Create an interconnected and coherent EU biomedical research programme, including the creation of a “European Council for Health Research”
  4. Enhance international cooperation and global initiatives


After years of stagnant finances for research, moves are under way to increase research funds in Europe

Health care for its ageing population has been recognized by the European Union as one of the great challenges ahead,1 calling for innovative approaches in prevention, early disease detection, and treatment. Yet, the very foundations of innovation in health care, i.e. biomedical research and researchers, are under threat. European funding for biomedical research is insufficient, fragmented, and not competitive.


Geneva, 12th December 2011 –The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) and the United European Gastroenterology Federation (UEGF) fully support the Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe (BioMed Alliance)’s call for a European Institute of Health.

At its General Assembly meeting held in Brussels at the beginning of December, the BioMed Alliance discussed the best ways of working towards ensuring that health research is prioritised and, in conjunction with its 17 members, decided to call for the establishment of a European Council for Health Research. The creation of this new structure would focus on the need for common strategic planning of biomedical and clinical research in order to tackle the health challenges currently facing Europe.


A group of key opinion leaders from both the European scientific and political arena have agreed to work with the Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe (BioMed Alliance) to delineate a vision for how future European research in health can be structured.

The BioMed Alliance, a partnership between 17 leading European biomedical and clinical societies representing approx. 200,000 researchers, recently produced a Position Paper in response to discussions at EU level on the future research framework programme, Horizon 2020. BioMed Alliance President, Professor Ulf Smith noted, “We assessed the numerous challenges facing Europe today in terms of health research and innovation: the fragmented research landscape, poor investment in health compared to our international competitors, the need for improved priority-setting of the research agenda and the ageing population. After discussion on these huge obstacles at our General Assembly on 01 December, we knew we had to act.”


The Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe (BioMed Alliance) warmly welcomes the European Commission's Horizon 2020 proposal, the EU's funding instrument for research and innovation for the period 2014-20 ("Commission unveils €80bn research funding programme", 1-7 December). In particular, we welcome the increase of the overall research funding budget, which is all the more remarkable given the economy crisis.


Following its first official meeting at Brussels in December 2010, the Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe (Biomed Alliance) is gathering pace and recruiting European biomedical societies across a range of disciplines. The Biomed Alliance aims to boost funding for biomedical research and improve the interaction between scientists and policy makers in Europe by more directly advocating research priorities. As well as the society represented by this journal (The European Association for the Study of Diabetes, EASD) the other founding members are the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO), the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Respiratory Society.


EDITORIAL - ERS is founding member of a new Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe 

The Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe (BioMed Alliance) was founded on December 9, 2010 by the four leading European medical academic societies: the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO).


In this update the following overview will be provided :

  • Feedback on Common Strategic Framework meeting;
  • Importance of qualified reviewers and tour opportunity to suggest project evaluators;
  • IMI workshop in Brussel 15 june 2011;
  • Dissemination of Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe;
  • Annual Meeting - opportunity to input to agenda;
  • New Vice-President.


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