On 5 March, the European Commission launched six European initiatives addressing scientific and technological challenges. Each of the six selected initiatives received a EUR 1 million grant to develop a research agenda.
In the field of healthcare, the following initiatives may be of your interest:
- LifeTime – Development of technologies, including machine learning, AI and personalised disease models to enhance early detection, prevention and innovative treatment of chronic and progressive diseases. A focus is laid on genome functioning and tissue progress towards disease, as well as on the establishment of computational frameworks for understanding the cause and biology of disease.
- HumanE-AI – Development of scientific foundations and technological breakthroughs needed to shape the ongoing artificial intelligence (AI) revolution. The project focuses on extending human intelligence rather than replacing it. Also, the mobilisation of an innovative research landscape will result in an uptake of AI across the economy.
- RESTORE – Development of a new class of medicines (Advanced Therapy Medicine Products) to create a European ecosystem which will accelerate translation and commercialisation of Advanced Therapies significantly benefiting the patient, especially in regenerative medicine and targeted immune reconstruction for cancer treatment.
The selected initiatives have one year to prepare relevant science and technology agendas in areas of strategic importance for Europe. The European Commission expects that the launch of these new research activities contributes to defining and launching new research activities within the Horizon Europe Programme, the next EU research and innovation programme for 2021-2027.
It is interesting to note that the LifeTime initiative aims to develop and integrate several breakthrough technologies including single-cell multi-omics and imaging, machine learning and AI, and personalised disease models such as organoids. The initiative may be of particular interest to the VPH institute considering its work on cell-based therapies.
In 2016, a public consultation held by the European Commission identified science and technology challenges which could be addressed by future FET Flagships. As a result, a call for preparatory actions for future research initiatives was launched in October 2017, as part of the Horizon 2020 FET Work Programme 2018. Six preparatory actions have been selected, based on their potential for future innovation.