January 3, 2014
Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness. It is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. Horizon 2020 is open to everyone, with a simple structure that reduces red tape and time so participants can focus on what is really important. This approach makes sure new projects get off the ground quickly – and achieve results faster.
Horizon 2020 has announced funding for many rare disease initiatives. The recently announced calls that is aimed to enhance research and development and build a knowledge structure in various areas of research including rare diseases research. The topics that include a budget for rare disease research in the Work Program 2014-2015 are:
- ERA NET rare disease research implementing IRDiRC objectives: aimed towards proposals that will coordinate national and regional programmes for research including rare disease research by preparing and implementing a transnational call with EU co-funding, resulting in grants to third parties, with a view to implement IRDiRC objectives and identified priorities. Successful grants will merit €5,000,000 and are expected to impact on national and transnational programs and IRDiRC objectives as well as the leverage effect on European research and competitiveness, and should plan the development of key indicators for supporting this.
- New therapies for rare diseases: €60,000,000 will be awarded to successful proposals that address one or more of the following topics – development of new or improved therapeutic approaches, for repurposing of existing therapies, as well as for preclinical research, animal model development and good manufacturing practice (GMP) production. Proposed treatments to be developed may range from small molecule to gene or cell therapy. Selected proposals should contribute to the objectives of, and follow the guidelines and policies of the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium, IRDiRC.
- Support for European Reference Networks: efficient network modelling and validation: proposals will provide coordinated support to the activities of the European Reference Network under the framework of Article 12 of Directive 2011/24/EU concerning implementation of a validated system methodology for the optimal organisation, governance, maintenance and continuous monitoring and evaluation of ERN and their centers. A budget of €2,000,000 has been made available for successful proposals in this area, some of which can be availed for research in rare diseases.
Additionally, to bring together, integrate on European scale, and open up key national and regional research infrastructures to all European researchers, from both academia and industry, ensuring their optimal use and joint development, Horizon 2020 will award grants towards research activities that will help towards – Integrating and opening existing national and regional research infrastructures of European interest. Out of several research areas, building research infrastructures to support rare diseases research is one of areas that will be supported under this topic. This initiative will be recognized as a “starting community” which invites proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 5 million would allow this topic to be addressed appropriately.