Negotiations among EU Institutions are about to begin on the future research programme after the adoption of the partial general approach by the Competitiveness Council and the report by the Industry, Research and Enegery Committee in the Parliament. EPHA highlights seven ways in which EU leaders can ensure that investing research and innovation brings the greatest possible advancements in health and science, while creating accessible public goods.
In its policy document, EPHA provides recommendations to EU institutions on how to provide the maximum societal benefit in the final Horizon 2020 document.
From the health in all policies perspective, EPHA encourages the inclusion of health under the agriculture research theme in order to promote healthy diets, easily understandable food information to consumers, and as a means to better tackle obesity.
EPHA encourages EU decision-makers to proactively address the problem of accessibility to novel medical technology (e.g. drugs, vaccines, medical diagnostics) in the interests of the protection of public health. EPHA believes that part of the solution is the introduction of flexible funding methods that include incentives for collaborative research projects, grants, procurement, fellowship schemes and the creation of patent pools. This could be complemented through open access to results and data, or additional exploitation, dissemination or licensing conditions in the final compromise. In our opinion, this will allow research to address societal challenges, for example, by stopping the spread of viruses and epidemics.
In this paper, EPHA advocates that EU leaders support civil society involvement in the future research programme, as this will lead to greater trust in science, uptake of research results, and ensure that innovation leads to solutions for societal challenges.
EPHA encourages EU leaders to include references to coordination mechanisms for researchers in different member states. As 95% of research is done at the national level, a coordination mechanism would stop fragmentation and duplication of efforts. As the health research community has traditionally worked independently of each other this would be a much more effective and efficient way of working.
Public health research is a key driver for innovation and sustainable development. Investment in health delivers value for money for society. A growing body of evidence shows that ‘health is wealth’ and health is not only a by-product of economic growth, but one of its key components. By supporting these suggestions EU decision makers can take decisive action to give member states the tools needed to address today’s most pressing health challenges.
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