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Improving and upscaling primary prevention of cancer through implementation research


Investments are needed to establish, scale-up or improve primary cancer prevention programmes. The barriers that prevent their uptake and effective implementation should be identified and addressed. Also, primary cancer prevention programmes should be tailored to the particular needs of the target populations, taking into account socio-economic, cultural and geographical conditions. Digital tools and datasets may be considered where needed.

Proposals should address all of the following:

  • Focus on implementation and upscaling of evidence-based primary cancer prevention interventions, at local, regional or national level, addressing known risk or protective factors and determinants[[All known risk factors and health determinants, including socio-economic and commercial ones, e.g.: tobacco; alcohol; genetics; bacterial and viral pathogens; chemicals from air, soil, water, and food; physical inactivity; diet and nutrition; gut dysbiosis; behavioural patterns; exposure to ionising radiation, UV, radon; occupational exposure; socio-economic background, education, employment.]]. Proposals should clearly justify and describe the existing evidence supporting the chosen intervention, including evidence of cost-effectiveness and affordability, across health or other sectors.
  • As effective prevention includes behavioural change, due consideration should be given to the factors that facilitate or impede behavioural change.
  • Identify and address the bottlenecks and barriers that might influence uptake and implementation of cancer prevention programmes in accessible, affordable and equitable ways, and their impact in a defined public health context.
  • Provide evidence and recommendations to inform policy and decision-makers and propose a pathway to integrate the intervention into local, regional or national health systems, policies and practices.
  • Applicants are required to co-create with relevant stakeholders, including representatives of citizens, people at risk of cancer, patients, survivors, health practitioners, payers, and policymakers in the design and conduct of research and evaluation of its outcomes. Such partners will be integral to the success and sustainability of the programme and it is essential that they are engaged early in the definition of problems and barriers.
  • Proposals should align with commitments or planned commitments at a regional or country level to implement evidence-based interventions. Researchers should collaborate closely with responsible authorities. The latter should provide the interventions and the financial means.
  • Approaches, methodologies and frameworks used should be specific to implementation science, and based on appropriate outcomes, such as feasibility, acceptability, sustainability, uptake and cost effectiveness.
  • The design of the proposed interventions should take the gender dimension and ethics into account, and contribute to reducing health inequalities.
  • The organisational and resource requirements (data, digital tools, personnel and financing) necessary for the implementation of the intervention must be described, tracked and evaluated in detail. The research and system-wide scientific monitoring should allow future users (researchers, healthcare providers, policy makers, and the public) to review the step-by-step, partial outcomes of the intervention, thus facilitating a wider adoption of these practices. The appropriate contextual, financial and political-economic analyses should be provided.

Clinical trials and translational research are not within the scope of this topic.

This topic requires the effective contribution of social sciences and humanities (SSH) disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.

Applicants should demonstrate awareness of relevant projects on implementation research in primary cancer prevention[[For example CANCERLESS, CBIG-SCREEN, CHILI, EQUITYCANCER-LA, EU-TOPIA-EAST, PRESCRIP-TEC. See also:]]. Successful applicants will be asked to liaise with these different initiatives where applicable[[Applicants are not expected to contact these initiatives before the submission of proposals.]], with the Commission acting as a facilitator. Where applicable, funded actions should make use of resources made available by the Knowledge Centre on Cancer[[Especially through the ’European Guidelines and Quality Assurance Schemes for Breast, Colorectal and Cervical Cancer Screening and Diagnosis‘, and the ’European Cancer Information System (ECIS)’, see]].

Furthermore, all projects funded under this topic are strongly encouraged to participate in networking and joint activities with other ongoing projects under the mission on cancer and other cancer relevant projects, as appropriate. These networking and joint activities could, for example, involve the participation in joint workshops, the exchange of knowledge, the development and adoption of best practices, or joint communication activities. This could also involve networking and joint activities with projects funded under other clusters and pillars of Horizon Europe, or other EU programmes, as appropriate.

The Commission may facilitate Mission-specific coordination through future actions. Therefore, proposals should include a budget for the attendance to regular joint meetings and may consider covering the costs of any other potential joint activities without the prerequisite to detail concrete joint activities at this stage. The details of these joint activities will be defined during the grant agreement preparation phase and project duration. In this regard, the Commission will take on the role of facilitator for networking and exchanges, including with relevant initiatives and stakeholders, if appropriate.