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In meeting the societal challenges within the European health sector, the Societal Challenge will focus the following topics:

1. Understanding health, wellbeing and disease

A better understanding of the determinants of health is required in order to provide evidence for effective health promotion and disease prevention. There is a need for an improved understanding of health and disease, throughout the human life cycle, so that new and better prevention measures, diagnosis, treatments and rehabilitation measures can be developed. New or improved methods for surveillance, diagnosis, early warning networks, health service organisation and preparedness campaigns are needed for the modelling of epidemics, for effective pandemic response as are efforts to maintain and enhance capabilities to combat drug resistant infectious disease.

2. Preventing disease

Knowledge should be generated and methods developed for effective prevention and screening programmes and the assessment of disease susceptibility should be improved. Furthermore an improved understanding of health, disease and disease processes throughout the life cycle is needed to develop new and more effective diagnostics and theranostics. There is also a need for more effective preventive and therapeutic interventions and vaccines and evidence-based vaccination schemes for an expanded range of diseases, including poverty-related diseases.

3. Treating and managing disease

There is a need to support the improvement of cross-cutting support technologies for drugs, biotherapies, vaccines and other therapeutic approaches; to develop regenerative medicine approaches; to develop new biopharmaceuticals; to develop improved medical and assistive devices and systems; to improve palliative therapies; to maintain and enhance the ability to combat diseases and undertake medical interventions that depend on the availability of effective and safe antimicrobial drugs; and to develop comprehensive approaches to treat co-morbidities at all ages and avoid poly-pharmacy. These improvements will facilitate the development of new, more efficient, effective, sustainable and personalised treatments for disease and for the management of disability and frailty. Clinical trials are an important means to transfer biomedical knowledge to application in patients and support for these will be provided, as well as for the improvement of their practice.