The European Commission has mobilised another €122m from its research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, for urgently needed research into COVID-19.
The new call for expressions of interest for COVID-19 research and innovation is the latest in a range of actions to fight the novel virus and contributes to the European Commission’s €1.4bn Coronavirus Response Pledge. It complements earlier actions to develop diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines by strengthening capacity to manufacture and by deploying readily available solutions in order to rapidly address the pressing needs. It will also improve understanding of the behavioural and socioeconomic impacts of the epidemic.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “We are mobilising all means at our disposal to fight this pandemic with testing, treatments and prevention. But to succeed against the coronavirus, we must also understand how it impacts our society and how to best deploy these interventions rapidly. We must explore technological solutions to manufacture medical equipment and supplies faster, to monitor and prevent the spread of the disease, and to better care for patients.”
The deadline for submissions is 11 June, 2020, and projects funded under this call should repurpose manufacturing for rapid production of vital medical supplies and equipment needed for testing, treatment and prevention, as well as develop medical technologies and digital tools to improve detection, surveillance and patients care. New research will learn from large groups of patients (cohorts) across Europe and better understanding of the behavioural and socioeconomic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak could help improve treatment and prevention strategies.
Europe, and the world at large, urgently need innovative solutions to contain and mitigate the outbreak, and to better care for patients, survivors, vulnerable groups, frontline healthcare staff and their communities. This is why the Commission aims to enable research work to start as quickly as possible through shorter timelines for the preparation of expressions of interest and for their evaluation.
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, added: “We are supporting the health authorities, healthcare professionals and the general public in all Member States in tackling the coronavirus crisis. To this end, we are deploying innovative technologies and tools that can quickly be used to prevent, optimally treat, and recover from this pandemic and prepare for its aftermath. These include digital solutions and technologies such as telemedicine, data, AI, robotics, and photonics.”
The new solutions need to be available and affordable for all, in line with the principles of the Coronavirus Global Response. For this purpose, the Commission will include rapid data-sharing clauses in grant agreements, resulting from this new call, to ensure that findings and outcomes can be put to use immediately.