The European Union has invested heavily in health research. Since the early 2000’s it has supported the creation of European Research Infrastructures (pan-European organisations devoted to health research) like BBMRI, EATRIS, ECRIN, ELIXIR, and funded the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), the world's largest public private partnership (PPP) in health.
The combination of PPPs such as the IMI and European infrastructures has contributed significantly to the boosting of Europe’s translational research power – turning science into new treatments.
The next step for Europe is to bring these two success stories in health research closer and design a new path together, to enable European researchers to make more and more new treatments available to patients.
Academia and research-intensive health industries need a vibrant, world-class, inter-connected health and research ecosystem to effectively translate ideas and knowledge into health interventions for patients.
Research infrastructures play a role in creating, harmonising and ensuring the adoption of common standards, and in the translation of scientific knowledge into true patient benefits. Connecting research infrastructures with healthcare systems and research communities creates new models of open collaboration and plays an important role in strengthening such an ecosystem.
That is why the new framework programme Horizon Europe, with its mission-oriented approach, brings a great opportunity: to strengthen the European research ecosystem by strengthening the role of European research infrastructures as co-creators of public-private partnerships:
- For health research to be more efficient and standardised: as the existing infrastructures develop common standards and interoperable tools, they should be adequately resourced and used as preferred service providers in EU-funded projects whenever they are fit-for-purpose.
- To ensure sustainability: stable infrastructures secure the preservation and support the further development of high-quality outputs of publicly and privately funded projects that are useful for the entire scientific community, including data and sample collections, analytical tools and methodologies, and clinical trial networks to name but a few.
- PPPs are an important tool for infrastructures to reinforce their role as enablers of translational research.
EFPIA, EATRIS, ELIXIR, BBMRI, ECRIN call on the European institutions to provide funding mechanisms that will strengthen public private collaboration opportunities and that will capitalise on Europe’s past investments by 'incentivising' more explicitly the use of European research infrastructures where appropriate in all EU-funded programmes.