In crucial committee vote on the future EU research programmeHorizon Europe, Members of the European Parliament call for more public fundingto address the burden of AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other neglectedtropical diseases.
Brussels, December 12, 2018:In Strasbourg today, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to endorse an ambitious EU research agenda for the next decade. The vote today confirms last month’s research committee reports by MEPs Dan Nica and Christian Ehler (by 548 votes to 70 against, and 569 votes to 74, respectively). In doing so, a massive majority of MEPs have positioned the European Parliament in favour of a Horizon Europe research programme that calls for increased public investment to address the burden of poverty-related and neglected tropical diseases – HIV & AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria – as well calling for an increase in the overall research budget from €90bn to €120bn.
“EP report positions Europe to lead the fight against the global diseases burden”
Speaking after the vote, Cécile Vernant, Head of Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW)’s EU office, said: “We’re thrilled that so many MEPs understand that diseases like HIV & AIDS play a huge role in holding back development in sub-Saharan Africa. With an ambitious EU research budget at its disposal, Europe could be at the forefront of efforts in the next decade to end these epidemics – by investing in innovative technologies, new vaccines, and new treatments.
“Now that the European Parliament has set out its position we hope that, as negotiations withEU governments get underway, EU ministers agree with today’s message from the European Parliament: if Europe is to match its research ambitions with impact, a bigger and better budget is required.”
Unfortunately, while MEPs called for the Horizon Europe research budget to be increased from theoriginal European Commission proposal of 90bn to 120bn, the proportion of that funding that is set aside for health research has declined from 9.7% in the current research budget that ends in 2020, compared to 8.2% under its successor Horizon Europe.
Absolute increase, relative decline
Cecile Vernant: “That health is losing out to other sectors is counterproductive. We need a bigger budget that does not impinge on the EU’s global health ambitions. EU investmen tis so important because so much of the research needed to tackle the burden of poverty-related and neglected diseases relies on public investment because there is no market incentive for pharma companies to spend money on them.”
Communications Officer, Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW)
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Notes to the Editor
- The European Commission announced its plans for Horizon Europe in June 2018, and has proposed a budget of €94bn to fund EU research programmes for the period 2021-2027. As part of the Horizon Europe proposal, funding has been set aside for what the European Commission calls “global challenges”, of which health is one (other clusters include digital, climate, and natural resources).
- While the “health challenge” in the ongoing Horizon 2020 programme makes up almost 10% (9.7%) of the overall R&D budget, the European Commission’s proposal for Horizon Europe foresees only 8.2% of the total budget for the health research cluster in the future research framework programme, while increasing funding for other thematic clusters such as “digital and industry”. According to the Commission, some health-related R&D funding will be provided also from other Horizon Europe pillars. Yet the health cluster, in addition to what is currently financed in the Societal Challenge on health under H2020, will also support the development of medical devices,
- According to the most recent G-Finder report, EU support for poverty-related diseases research dropped by almost 40% to $77m in 2016. The G-finder report attributes this reduction to uneven disbursements by the European Commission to the EU’s main funding instrument in this area, the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). Traditionally, the EU is a strong supporter of PRND R&D and was the second largest public funder worldwide in 2015. More details here.
- Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW) is a global development organisation that focuses on the needs and potential of the largest youth generation in history. We are committed to creating demand for and access to health information, services, supplies, and economic empowerment for youth. We achieve this by engaging in advocacy, capacity development, and reproductive health initiatives, so that young people are empowered to lead healthy and self-determined lives. With our headquarters in Hannover, Germany, DSW operates two liaison offices in Berlin and Brussels, as well as maintaining a strong presence in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. DSW also advocates for investment in research and innovation to fight poverty-related and neglected tropical diseases.