June 17, 2020, Barcelona — EU-LIFE, the alliance of 14 leading Life Science Research Institutes in Europe announces its vision based on the lessons learned by COVID-19 pandemics on how Europe can prepare for future health crisis.
The current COVID-19 pandemic dramatically highlighted how vulnerable Europe is regarding health safety. The health and wellbeing of European citizens requires a long-term vision and better coordination among European countries in order to be better prepared and respond more effectively to current, emerging and future global health crises.
Only discovery-driven research, embedded in a strong health industry ecosystem, will bring Europe lasting – and faster – solutions to the health challenges of our society. One without the other will not suffice and both are essential to maintain high quality care at an affordable level for all European citizens.
The EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) needs to give health safety a greater focus and stronger foundation. The recent proposal of the European Commission (EC) for the MFF recognises the above points, but it is clear that the allocated funds are insufficient to make the urgent investments in research and innovation that are needed to drive health safety.
Finally, we call for stronger coordination at both European Union and national levels, as well as with other collaborating territories regarding research and innovation policies, infrastructures, data interoperability, scientific advice and crises preparedness.
René Medema, Chair of EU-LIFE and Director of The Netherlands Cancer Institute, says: “To safeguard the health security of European citizens, EU member states need to raise up investment in high-risk discovery-oriented research, combined with a more supportive environment for pharmaceutical industry – only combining these two aspects we can address efficiently the medical needs of European citizens”.
Marta Agostinho, EU-LIFE Coordinator says: “Whenever a new global crisis arises, we all look at science for solutions, because we know that existing solutions for past crises such as AIDS resulted from discovery-driven research. That is why we urge the European Council to support a strong Horizon Europe budget and ensure that discovery-driven research has the necessary resources in Europe”.
EU-LIFE is an alliance of research centers whose mission is to support and strengthen European research excellence (www.eu-life.eu). EU-LIFE members are leading research institutes in their countries and internationally renowned for producing excellent research, widely transferring knowledge and nurturing talent. Since its foundation in 2013, EU-LIFE has become a stakeholder in European policy participating regularly in the EU policy dialogue. The International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw joined the consortium from January 2020 (see: IIMCB becomes the first Polish member of the EU-LIFE consortium).
Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG, Spain) | Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC, Czech Republic) | European Institute of Oncology (IEO, Italy) | Flanders Institute For Biotechnology (VIB, Belgium) | Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI, Switzerland) | Institut Curie (France) | Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM, Finland) | Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC, Portugal) | International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw (IIMCB, Poland) | Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC, Germany) | Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (CeMM, Austria) | The Babraham Institute (Babraham, United Kingdom) | The Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI, The Netherlands) | The University of Copenhagen Biotech Research & Innovation Centre (BRIC, Denmark).