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Bridging the divide in health research and innovation – boosting return on investment


Applicants should propose actions that would shift benefiting organisations' R&I performance and would eventually increase their participation in EU funded collaborative projects. Proposed activities should aim to strengthen research development; improve governance, managerial and administration practices; increase the organisations' international profile; develop HR policies to attract and retain talents, taking into account gender aspects; and create a culture that rewards scientific performance and innovation. Applicants may propose any actions that contribute towards these goals.

Beneficiaries of the activities should be active in the field of health research and innovation and should come from low performing[[As defined by Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence: Member States below 70% of the EU average of the Composite Indicator of Research Excellence.]] Member States/regions that have identified health R&I as a priority in their Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3). Applicants shall seek synergies with European Structural and Investment Funds, with European and national research and innovation programmes and if applicable with EEA and Norway grants. Applicants are encouraged to leverage funding of this call with other resources.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1.5 and EUR 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

The Innovation Union Scoreboard reveals significant disparities in terms of research and innovation performance among the different member states and regions within the European Union. The disparities are equally present in health research and innovation which unfortunately also translates into lower participation in the Union's research and innovation framework programme, Horizon 2020.

There are serious efforts deployed at national and European level to help to close the R&I divide. Many instruments provide direct investment to organisations from lagging regions and countries, such as the European Structural and Investment Funds, national grants, the Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation programme of Horizon2020 while others encourage networking such as the COST actions.

These European and national investments yield the most when beneficiaries have the necessary capabilities, adequate governance structure, and suitable science and HR policies. This call aims providing support in the health R&I domain to organisations from lower performing regions that are willing to carry out structural reforms to improve their R&I performance. The call builds on past efforts of the European Commission (especially the HCO-14 2014 and the HCO-08 2017 calls in H2020 SC1).

An increased number of organisations from low performing Member States/regions among the top international health R&I institute that are able to attract funding and talents and render these resources into scientific excellence and innovation.

Ultimately, increased participation rate of low performing countries in the EU's Research and Innovation Framework Programme.