Horizon 2020 was chosen as the name to designate what has thus far been known as the “Framework Programme for Research and Development (R+D) ”, an European Comission (EC) initiative to foster and support European R+D.
The Horizon 2020 budget, objectives, priorities, and strategic strands for the 2014-2020 period are still taking shape, although everything indicates that R+D in health will continue to be one of the EC’s priorities. Nevertheless, whether or not research on affordable and accessible new biomedical products for poverty-related diseases, despite the challenges posed to health around the world, will remain a priority, remains to be seen.
Over the last decade, the EC has supported R+D on poverty-related diseases through the Framework Programmes 6 and 7. This support, however, is more symbolic than it is significant, since in represents a meagre proportion of total funding allocated to research. The EC’s proposal would translate into a 40 per cent increase of the Community budget allocated to research as compared to the current framework programme, and this poses a unique opportunity of the European Union (EU) to take advantage of a greater availability of funds to consolidate its political and economic support for this type of research. That decision would also be more coherent with the EU role as the world’s top donor of development aid, and in fulfilling what is set forth in the EC Communication on the EU’s role in Global Health.
In less than two months, the EC will disclose its final thematic priorities proposal for Horizon 2020. As of then and over a two year period, the member states, together with the European Parliament, will have to agree the final document.