Covid-19: EC boosts urgently-needed research and innovation with further 122M euro

The European Commission said on May 19 that it has mobilised a further 122 million euro from its research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, for urgently needed research into the novel coronavirus.

The new call for expressions of interest contributes to the Commission’s 1.4 billion euro pledge to the Coronavirus Global Response initiative, launched by EC President Ursula von der Leyen on May 4, the Commission said.

“The new call is the latest addition to a range of EU-funded research and innovation actions to fight the coronavirus,” the statement said.

“It complements earlier actions to develop diagnostics, treatments and vaccines by strengthening capacity to manufacture and deploying readily available solutions in order to rapidly address the pressing needs. It will also improve understanding of the behavioural and socio-economic impacts of the epidemic.”

The 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 socio-economic impacts of the coronavirus epidemic could help improve treatment and prevention strategies, the EC said.

The deadline for submission is June 11 2020, while the call will focus on delivering results quickly. 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 health care staff and their communities, the statement said.

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.

“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.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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