Collaboration working to promote health research, development and innovation

A strategic European health research and innovation agenda is being compiled by five industry associations and the European Commission.

Medical researcher using a pipette - idea of research/pharmaceutical development and innovation

Five industry associations representing the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical technologies industries operating in Europe and the European Commission (EC) have come together to work on a Strategic Agenda for Research & Innovation in Healthcare, expected to guide the next decade of public-private research and innovation in the proposed Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) framework under Horizon Europe.

The agenda is intended to align with the needs, ambition and feasibility of the European health and research communities while also being complementary to other European and national initiatives.

The IHI framework will cover the entire continuum of care, from prevention and diagnostics to treatment and disease management. It aims to:

  • create an EU-wide health research and innovation ecosystem that facilitates translation of scientific knowledge into innovations
  • foster the development of safe, effective, people-centric and cost-effective innovations that respond to strategic unmet public health needs currently insufficiently served by industry
  • drive cross-sectoral health innovation for a globally competitive European health industry.

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion. One of its goals is to improve European citizens’ health, strengthen health systems and create a thriving health research, development and innovation (R&D&I) environment.

Horizon Europe also introduces institutionalised Public-Private Partnerships, which offer further possibilities by creating a new and unique platform for European cross-sectoral health innovation. By pioneering and de-risking pre-competitive public-private collaboration, it is believed that different sectors could work together and put Europe at the forefront of health innovation.

In 2019, almost 100 stakeholders, including academic institutions, healthcare professionals and patients, responded to a public consultation on the first draft Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda. This consultation guided the development of the new draft agenda, jointly prepared by the prospective IHI member industry associations and the EC services. The IHI Governing Board will formally adopt it once the partnership legislation has been adopted and the partnership is operational.

Trade associations working on the Strategic Agenda for Research & Innovation in Healthcare

  • COCIR – the European Trade Association representing the medical imaging, radiotherapy, health ICT and electromedical industries
  • The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA)
  • MedTech Europe – the European trade association representing the medical technology industries, including diagnostics and medical device manufacturers
  • EuropaBio – a large and influential biotech industry group
  • Vaccines Europe – a specialised vaccines group within EFPIA.