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Cluster "Health"

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Contents and backgrounds

The health of EU residents is an essential pillar for a sustainable, prosperous and inclusive society in which every citizen has the right to access affordable, safe, preventive and curative healthcare. To ensure this, continued efforts in health research and innovation are needed. These should also support the competitiveness of European companies and industries operating in the health sector.

The "Health" Cluster promotes research and innovation on a wide range of current challenges, such as the influence of the environment and social factors on health, the increase in chronic diseases in an ageing population and the impact of digitalisation both on diagnosis and treatment and on healthcare, as well as on the performance of healthcare systems.

Consequently, research and innovation measures within the framework of the "Health" Cluster are aimed at achieving the following six health-related "Targeted Impacts":

  • Staying healthy in a rapidly changing society

  • Living and working in a health-promoting environment

  • Tackling diseases and reducing disease burden

  • Ensuring access to sustainable and high-quality health care

  • Unlocking the full potential of new tools, technologies and digital solutions for a healthy society

  • Maintaining a sustainable and globally competitive health-related industry

The Horizon Europe Specific Programme, which sets the substantive framework for the Cluster, identifies the following "Areas of Intervention" to achieve the above-mentioned goals:

  • Health throughout the Course of Life

  • Environmental and Social Health Determinants

  • Non-Communicable and Rare Diseases

  • Infectious Diseases, including poverty-related and neglected diseases

  • Tools, Technologies and Digital Solutions for Health and Care, including personalised medicine

  • Health Care Systems

The actual calls to submit project proposals electronically can be found in the respective current Work Programme (see documents), which is prepared by the European Commission for a period of two to three years and contains all relevant details on the calls for proposals. The calls and all necessary documents are published online on the Funding & Tender Opportunities Portal of the European Commission. The calls are predominantly multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary as well as inter-sectoral in nature and offer opportunities for the involvement of humanities and social sciences as well as cooperation with non-academic partners (e.g. SMEs, associations, societies, authorities etc.).

In addition to the Work Programme for the Cluster, but still within the framework of Horizon Europe, further calls for proposals are also published and implemented by the following institutionalised partnerships:

  • Innovative Health Initiative (tbd)

  • EU-Africa Global Health Partnership (tbd)

Calls on specific topics of the Cluster are also published as part of other, co-financed partnerships. This includes the following co-financed partnerships:

  • European partnership for chemicals risk assessment

  • ERA for Health

  • Large-scale innovation and transformation of health systems

  • Personalised Medicine

  • Rare Diseases

  • One Health AMR

Moreover, health issues are not only funded by Horizon Europe but also by the EU4Health programme.

Important players

Several European Commission Directorates-General (DGs) are significantly involved in the design of the Work Programmes and calls due to the strong thematic integration. In addition to the DG Research and Innovation (RTD), this is mainly the DG Health and Food Safety (SANTE) and DG Communication Networks, Content and Technologies (CNCT). In addition, a number of other Directorates General are involved in the EU Commission's co-creation approach.