To combat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), the EU is investing hundreds of millions of additional euros into new projects on SARS-CoV-2, many of which are already fully operational.
Research and innovation are critical in tackling this pandemic. The European Commission (EC) took rapid action in January 2020 by launching a dedicated call. Many proposals to develop therapies, treatments and diagnostics for the global outbreak were submitted by consortia that include experts from Switzerland.
Rapid action was taken in January 2020 by launching the first of several calls to fund projects to advance our understanding of SARS-CoV-2. Such rapid action, with a call budget of €47.5 million, was made possible because of the standing budget line for emergency research funds that the EC maintains as part of the annual Horizon 2020 Work Programmes for health research.
Many excellent proposals were submitted and 17 were selected for funding. Within these 17 projects, 7 teams from Switzerland are contributing their research. Some of these teams have already received funding in the past, during previous emergencies such as SARS, influenza and Ebola.
Additionally, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a public-private partnership involving the pharmaceutical industry, launched a special fast-track call with €90 million to develop treatments and diagnostics. The call deadline was at the end of March and the successful projects will start working shortly. Many applicants from Switzerland were also involved in this call.
Last but not least, the EC called for startups and SMEs with technologies and innovations that could help in treating, testing and monitoring the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak to apply to the European Innovation Council call deadline in March. The selected proposals will be fast-tracked to start as soon as possible.
In the past, the EC has already invested heavily in research to prepare for this type of public health emergency. Several ongoing EU-funded projects are also contributing to the European and global preparedness and response activities. For example, the PREPARE project, with 3 partners from Switzerland, is supporting the readiness of hospitals in Europe and enhancing their understanding of the dynamics of the outbreak. PREPARE has upgraded its response efforts to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic by immediately initiating clinical studies across Europe in close collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
We wish all the scientists involved a lot of success in their vital work to combat COVID-19.
Sasha Hugentobler and Nicole Wyss, Health NCPs
HORIZON 2020 NEWS
Workshop Report on Artificial Intelligence Testing and Experimentation Facilities for Health
To optimise investment and avoid duplication of efforts, the Commission proposes a limited number of world-class, large-scale reference AI Testing and Experimentation Facilities, available to all players across Europe.
Innovative Medicines Initiative – New User Guide Published
IMI has published a new booklet explaining how the programme works and answering such questions as: How can the process of medicine development be improved and made more efficient? How can we ensure that patients receive faster access to better and safer medicines?
New Treatment for Traumatic Injuries and Osteoporosis
The EU project "cmRNAbone" aims to develop a novel bone regenerative therapy for trauma and osteoporosis patients. The consortium comprises 11 partners from Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. In February, they came together in Davos for the official project kick-off.
New Impact Story
We are happy to present our new publication format: The Impact Story! In this variation on our Success Stories, we answer the question: What impact has EU funding had on the careers of the funded researchers and where do they stand today? Read about our first impressive researcher here!
ERC 2019 AdG Results
Around 185 scientists won a European Research Council Advanced Grant for 2019! 16 of them are at Swiss institutions, placing Switzerland 4th after the UK, Germany and France. The overall success rate was approx. 9.8%. The next and last ERC AdG call under Horizon 2020 should open in May 2020 with a deadline on 26 August 2020.
JRC Science to Tackle the Coronavirus Crisis
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre has used its extensive knowledge and expertise to inform the EU’s policy responses. JRC scientists present a snapshot of 5 areas where they are working hard to help tackle the emergency and protect people's health.
HORIZON 2020 CALLS
Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking 2020 Call for Proposals
The BBI JU 2020 call for proposals with 4 strategic orientations (feedstock, process, products, market uptake) opend on 15 April. Inform yourself about the call at the virtual info event on 22 April, interact with other potential applicants, and schedule meetings using the novel partnering platform! Deadline: 03.09.2020
PRACE Fast-track Call for Proposals
The Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) welcomes project proposals requesting computing resources to contribute to the mitigation of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The call for proposals will follow a fast-track review process to provide swift feedback to the applicants and is open until further notice.
EIC Accelerator Call on Green Deal
The EC has announced an update to the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot for May 2020. It includes a €300 million EIC Accelerator call to support start-ups and SMEs to develop and scale breakthrough innovations contributing to at least one of the 8 goals of the European Green Deal. This is the largest ever funding round under the pilot. Deadline: 19.05.2020
How to succeed in the EIC Pathfinder and Accelerator 2020 Calls
Several novelties have been introduced for the last Horizon 2020 calls of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot. Make sure you watch the videos from the recent Infoday webinar if you are applying to the EIC Pathfinder and Accelerator calls. Useful tips are presented by expert evaluators and successful applicants.
Webinar: Cybersecurity in Horizon 2020
Join this webinar on the last Horizon 2020 funding opportunities in the field of cybersecurity! Participants will be informed about upcoming calls and receive tips on proposal writing as well as on the evaluation procedure by experts. 22.04.2020, Webinar
XI European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education
This conference has the goal to strengthen the debates on gender equality in higher education and research. Furthermore, it supports mainstreaming the gender perspective in funding agencies and the innovation sector. 16.-18.09.2020, Madrid
ICPerMed Conference "Personalised Medicine - From Vision to Practice"
Registration for the 2nd conference of the International Consortium for Personalised Medicine (ICPerMed) is now open. The conference will demonstrate how personalised medicine will lead to the next generation of healthcare by 2030. 15.-16.10.2020, Paris