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  • Periodic Report Summary 3 - EU-LAC HEALTH (Defining a Roadmap for Cooperative Health research between the EU and Latin America-Caribbean countries: a Policy Oriented Approach)

EU-LAC HEALTH Report Summary

Project ID: 281459
Funded under: FP7-HEALTH
Country: Spain

Periodic Report Summary 3 - EU-LAC HEALTH (Defining a Roadmap for Cooperative Health research between the EU and Latin America-Caribbean countries: a Policy Oriented Approach)

Project Context and Objectives:
EU-LAC Health (Defining a Roadmap for Cooperative Health research between the EU and Latin America-Caribbean countries: a Policy Oriented Approach) is a project promoted by the European Commission and co-funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme. It started on 1st October 2011 and will run for 5 years. Its main goal is to define a detailed roadmap to guide policy-makers and other stakeholders on future actions to support cooperative health research between European (EU) and Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) countries.

This consensus roadmap has been and will continuously be developed using a policy oriented approach and taking into account the new political framework for EU-LAC collaboration in Science and Technology, especially the new EU-CELAC (European Union - Community of Latin-American and Caribbean States) Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation. This initiative is a very significant step, taken at the highest political level, to develop synergies between scientific cooperation, higher education and development cooperation by increasing the coordination between the EU Cooperation and Research policies with LAC. Specifically the EU-LAC Health Project supports the Working Group on Health launched by the EU-CELAC Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation at the Senior Official Meeting held in April 2013 in Brussels.

The aim of the roadmap is to provide policy-makers and Research and Development (R&D) funding bodies with new insights on how to best coordinate and fund cooperative health research between the two regions. An important effort will be devoted in the course of the project to link and coordinate policy areas with strong involvement in health research funding. The roadmap also contains a proposal for a strategy and structure for a sustainable cooperation on health research between both regions.

The objectives of EU-LAC Health are the following:
a) Discuss and explore, with policy-makers, researchers and other stakeholders, how to best coordinate health research policies and funding between EU and LAC.
b) Define a consensus roadmap for cooperative health research with the final objective of setting up a future sustainable framework for collaboration between the EU and LAC regions in this field.
c) Promote the creation of a coordinating body to develop the Roadmap.
d) Disseminate the project results to the main project stakeholders as a means to increase and improve support for EU-LAC cooperation in health research.

The EU-LAC bi-regional collaboration in the field of health research stands as a very broad and complex issue that involves many stakeholders from different political and socio-economic contexts, including the EU as a whole, each Member State and other European countries as well as the variety of LAC countries, and touches different political agendas such as research, but sometimes also development cooperation and external relations.

EU-LAC Health project is coordinated by the National Institute of Health Carlos III, from Spain, and the consortium carrying out this action is composed by 9 more partners from Europe (DLR from Germany, INNOVATEC from Spain, COHRED from Switzerland, APRE from Italy, INSERM from France) and Latin American countries (RIMAIS represented by Ministry of Health from Costa Rica, Ministry of Science and Technology from Argentina, FIOCRUZ from Brazil, and INNCMNSZ from Mexico). The selected institutions form a multidisciplinary team with participants from Health Research policy-making Institutions, R&D Funding Agencies, Research Centres, and specialized R&D consulting companies. The project also benefits from a direct participation of main stakeholders from policy making and funding institutions involved in EU-LAC health research, as members of the advisory board, as well as outstanding scientists form the 2 regions, EU and LAC.

It is planned that EU-LAC Health runs in four stages:
Stage 1: Analysis of state of play
Stage 2: Scenario building and Gap analysis
Stage 3: Defining the roadmap
Stage 4: Implementing the EU-CELAC Joint Initiative on Health Research and Innovation
Project Results:
The project performed the Stage 1, related to WP1, State of Play Analysis, during the first period of the project. The aim of this 1st Stage was obtaining a realistic vision of the contemporary political framework and current situation of EU-LAC cooperation in health research in the European region and in the Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Stage 2, related to WP2, was achieved during the second period of the project. The main goal of this stage was to prepare an advanced draft of the Roadmap, identifying and structuring a set of actions needed to reach the vision of EU-LAC cooperation in health research and innovation. In this WP2 there were a series of 4 planned meetings.

The 1st and 2nd Scenario Building Workshops were organized with the following objectives:
1. Discuss common research priority areas for EU-LAC cooperation in the health sector
2. Identify the added value of the EU-LAC collaboration in six important health research areas: Prevention of diseases and promotion of well-being, Infection, Chronic diseases, Health and social care services research, Cancer and Neurological diseases and stroke.
3. Identify and analyze potential scenarios for the EU-LAC collaboration in health research
4. Discuss governance issues and funding mechanisms for each of the three possible scenarios identified.

Under the roadmapping activities, the 1st and 2nd Roadmap Workshop had as expected outcome an advanced draft of the Roadmap. These workshops challenged very useful discussions among the different experts for the roadmap elaboration and all the work leaded to the elaboration of the "First draft of the Strategic Action Plan and Roadmap”. This document outlines what the consortium proposes and recommends for strengthening the research collaboration between EU and CELAC regions, together with the steps needed to establish a governing body that could implement the joint initiative on health research.

The final Roadmap for the EU-CELAC Joint Initiative for Health Research and Innovation (EU-CELAC JIRI-Health) was elaborated based on the previous draft and the results of the Consultation and Validation workshop. With this milestone, EU-LAC Health accomplished the stage 3 of the project.

Stage 4, implementing the EU-CELAC Joint Initiative on Health Research and Innovation (JIRI-Health), related to WP4, started once the roadmap of the initiative was completed. This implementation stage will last until the end of the project and the two most important milestones during this period had been the following:
- “EU-LAC Health Conference – Proceeding to the next step of health research cooperation between the European Union, Latin American and Caribbean countries”, held the 2 June 2015 in Brussels
- Launch of the EU-CELAC Joint Initiative for Health Research and Innovation (JIRI-Health), which took place the 15 March 2016 also in Brussels

Once the JIRI-Health has already been launched, the project starts a more operational mode in which the biregional initiative will be piloted by launching a joint call among the interested funding agencies.

Potential Impact:
1) Identifying common needs, opportunities for cooperative health R&D between EU and LAC and reducing the fragmentation between the EU and LAC health research agendas.
The Roadmap is conceived as a strategic agenda to guide policy-makers from both regions on future cooperative health research actions, with the aim of addressing political issues, societal needs and demands, S&T objectives, coordination of funding initiatives and economic development for both regions. It will provide a common vision of how to select and develop appropriate strategies and instruments while collectively monitor and evaluate the resultant actions.
Main challenges that are shared by both regions will rise as priority lines for future collaboration, reducing fragmentation and concentrating efforts in most relevant fields.

2) Setting the basis for the formulation of a global strategy for future research cooperation between EU and LAC.
The Roadmap will contribute to build a joint EU-LAC research perspective in two ways: first through the process itself, by increasing the awareness of many actors directly involved; second, though the outcomes of the process, which will be disseminated among relevant policy actors in EU and LAC.

3) Identifying knowledge gaps and capacity building needs in the areas of priority setting of funding programmes, project planning and management, leading to design a capacity building strategy to reduce the gap between knowledge generation and implementation in clinical practice.
The planned activities will allow identifying knowledge gaps and needs, appropriate modes of communication, and planning new programs and actions that will enable continuity in accumulating and disseminating knowledge in the health research area.

4) Improving the coordination between the national, bilateral and multilateral R&D funding initiatives in the regions.
The Roadmap will provide the basis for discussion and assessment of opportunities for better coordination of funding mechanisms to promote more effective and efficient use of funds. It will provide the means to identify mechanisms of coordination of funding from a variety of sources, define criteria for the coordination of priority setting of the funding programmes, define criteria and modus operandi to coordinate the use of those funds, and define appropriate monitoring and evaluation systems of the programmes/projects.

5) Improving the articulation with other programmes of the EU and EU member states' S&T policy actions in the region.
Synergies among scientific cooperation, higher education and development cooperation will be further explored. The current FP combined with bilateral initiatives of EU member states as well as regional scientific cooperation mechanisms, illustrate the policy objective of gradually building up a EU-LAC Knowledge Area is making some headway.

6) Exploring the case for creating a Body that coordinates national and international health R&D funding.
The assessment to be done during EU-LAC Health project related to the creation of that specific body will include (at least):
• The proposed mission.
• Governing structure.
• Organizational structure.
• Operating model.
• Financial Plan.
• Coordination with the FP7 and other EC and EU Member States actions in the region.

7) Establishing a high-level forum for interaction between LAC and EU health research policy makers.
Through the activities planned it is expected to foster existing links and establish new ones among EU and LAC actors.
The project will establish the contacts that will be the basis for the creation of a Forum designed to continue these activities in the future. The Roadmap will include a plan to create such a Forum, to permanently update and adjust the Roadmap to the evolving situation.

8) Including a substantial element of South-South cooperation.
The presence of RIMAIS in the project will guarantee a high level of coordination of proposals and contributions coming from LAC. This presence will be combined with that of LAC R&D funding agencies.

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