In Horizon Europe, the health cluster is jointly designed by the Directorates-General "Research and Innovation", "Health and Food Safety", "Communications, Network Contents and Technology” and “Health Emergency Response Authority”. A wide range of diseases will be addressed: infectious diseases, including poverty-related and neglected diseases, and noncommunicable diseases, including rare diseases. Research and development on understanding health and diseases, prevention, diagnostics, therapies, health systems and new technologies are funded.
Strong international cooperation is very important, for example for the use of relevant infrastructures, but also for better preparation of the health systems in order to react quickly and effectively to health emergencies such as epidemics.
The health cluster promotes research and innovation activities in six areas of intervention. The aspects of "digitization" and "personalization of health and care" are addressed across all six areas.
Cluster 1 "Health" includes the following six "areas of intervention":
Specifics for applications within Cluster Health
Clinical studies are also funded in the health cluster with special requirements on the application and project implementation. The implementation of clinical studies is explicitly required in several topics of the work program. However, preclinical and/or clinical studies can also be carried out in all other topics, if they correspond to the content requirements of the topic.
The implementation of clinical studies brings with it some peculiarities, which should be given special attention in the context of European collaborative research projects. These include, among others:
The European Commission provides an additional application form for the description of the planned clinical study in the project. The document can be downloaded from the Funding & Tenders Portal under the respective topic.
There are several options for involving the clinics and centers in which the study participants are recruited. Although each center can become a partner (beneficiary) in the project, this often leads to a great deal of management effort in large multi-centre studies. Especially if the centers do not play any scientific role in the project other than recruiting and treating patients, it may make sense to involve them as subcontractors or so-called third parties (contributing in-kind).
In the case of complex multi-centre studies, it can make sense to draw on the expertise of Clinical Research Organizations (CROs) for study management. If they only take on limited tasks (e.g. data monitoring), they can act as a subcontractor.
In addition, compliance with ethical requirements in clinical studies is particularly important.
In exceptional cases, partners from emerging or industrialized countries receive funding if their contribution is essential for carrying out the planned work or if there is a bilateral science and technology agreement between the third country and the EU.
US institutions are also eligible for funding within the Cluster Health topics. In return, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) programs are open to European institutions.