Societal Challenges

Health, Demographic Change and Well-being 2018-2020


On 27 October 2017 the European Commission has published the Work Programme 2018-2020 containing new calls for proposals in the Societal Challenge 1 ”Health, demographic change and wellbeing”. The overall budget for the 2018 call is EUR 621 million. For the calls in 2019 there will be EUR 686 million available. For the calls in 2020, which will be specified in summer 2019, the Work Programme comprises already a list of topic titles and foresees a budget of EUR 698 million.

In the current Work Programme Societal Challenge 1 “Health, demographic change and wellbeing”, four major challenges are addressed: (i) increasing expenses for health and care due to a growing number of chronic diseases and an aging population; (ii) the influence on health of external environmental factors including climate change; (iii) the risk to lose our ability to protect the populations against the threats of infectious diseases; (iv) health inequalities and access to health care.

The Work Programme takes into account several recommendations of the Horizon 2020 interim evaluation. These include a greater public involvement as well as a pilot call were the reimbursement of costs is realised through the usage of lump sums.

In accordance with Commissioner Carlos Moedas 3Os-Strategy “Open science, open innovation and open to the world”, international collaborations are strongly encouraged (see below). In the light of “Open Science”, a registration of clinical trials in a WHO database prior to their start is requested.

Further expansion of clinical research infrastructures as well as of the European Reference Networks are additional goals of the Work Programme.

Call for proposals

The call “Societal Challenge 1: Health, demographic change and wellbeing” comprises the following calls for proposals:

  • “Better Health and care, economic growth and sustainable health systems” (BHC)

Including five priorities

  1. Personalised medicine
  2. Innovative health and care industry
  3. Infectious diseases and improving global health
  4. Innovative health and care systems - Integration of care
  5. Decoding the role of the environment, including climate change, for health and well-being
  • “Digital transformation in Health and Care” (DTH)

  • “Trusted digital solutions and Cybersecurity in Health and Care” (TDS)

The topics of this call contribute to the Focus Areas “Digitising and transforming European industry and services” and “Boosting the effectiveness of the Security Union”.

The research priorities are composed of "topics", which are outlined in detail in the Work Programme and must be integrated into the research proposals.