What is EU funding?
The European Union is a political and economic union of 27 countries designed to enhance social cohesion among its members. The EU includes scientific progress as part of its value system, inclusive of funding for research. There are 27 EU Commissioners and national government recipients managing the funding.
The European Union provides financial support for projects and programmes related to the following:
- Regional and urban development
- Employment and social inclusion
- Agriculture and rural development
- Maritime and fisheries policies
- Research and innovation
- Humanitarian aid
There are specific EU Funding Instruments in the area of health, e.g. Horizon 2020 and its successor Horizon Europe, the EU Health Programmes, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and its successor European Health Initiative (IHI), or Structural and Investment Funds. They are financed directly from the EU’s budget in the form of grants and cover priorities, as defined by the EU and aimed at contributing to the implementation of EU policies. They are administered by the European Commission and are usually competitive and transnational, requiring partners from more than one EU member state to submit funding proposals. The proposals submitted compete with proposals from all member states and successful proposals are selected after a comparative evaluation of all proposals submitted.
Who can get EU funding?
- Non-governmental and civil society organisations that are active in EU policy areas and operate on a non-profit basis
- Companies of any size in any sector (entrepreneurs, start-ups, micro companies, small and medium-sized, as well as larger businesses)
- Education and training funding inclusive of study opportunities through the Erasmus+ programme, youth funding of projects that encourage civic involvement, volunteer works, and a broader multicultural outlook
- Research and innovation funding is primarily supported through the Horizon 2020 or public-private partnerships such as the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)
- Farmers or land managers involved in green and eco-friendly farming practices or young farmers at the beginning of their career
- Public bodies, such as city or regional authorities, where support is available for the development of institutional capacity and efficiency or local infrastructure projects
What EU-funded projects is Myeloma Patients Europe involved in?
Myeloma Patients Europe (MPE) is involved in the Horizon 2020 research programme through:
MPE is also involved in several projects jointly funded by the Horizon 2020 research programme and the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI):
What are Horizon2020 and Horizon Europe, and what do they do?
Horizon 2020 is a large-scale European Union research and innovation programme with funding of €70.2 billion provided over seven years (2014-2020). Horizon 2020 funds a wide range of different projects relating to science, innovation and tackling societal challenges. Horizon 2020 exists to ensure Europe produces world-class, cutting-edge science and to ease collaboration between public and private sectors to drive innovation. To receive funding through the programme, multi-stakeholder consortiums work in partnership to develop a project proposal reviewed and nominated by the European Commission.
Horizon 2020 formally ended in 2020, though funded programmes are still ongoing. It is being followed by the next EU Research & Innovation Investment Programme (2021-2027), called Horizon Europe, which has a budget of €95.5 billion.
Which areas of research are covered by Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe?
Horizon 2020 covers a wide array of research fields, including, but not limited to:
- Agriculture and forestry
- Environment and climate action
- Food and healthy diet
- International co-operation
- Partnerships with industry and member states
- Raw materials
- Research infrastructures
- Social sciences and humanities
Horizon Europe funds a broad range of research and innovation work programmes. Its priorities are tackling climate change, achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals and boosting the EU’s competitiveness and growth.
Where can I find information about Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe?
Extensive information is available on the website of the European Commission. Supporting documents and help by email are also available from the European Commission. Click here to learn more about Horizon 2020, and here for Horizon Europe.
What are IMI and IHI, and what do they do?
The Innovative Medicines Initiative is a public-private partnership funding health research and innovation. Its funding calls focus on EU priority disease areas, where safe, effective treatments are lacking, where the impact on public health is greatest, and where complex areas of biomedical research and innovation require a collaboration between European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) companies and other stakeholders, such as universities, small and large companies, regulators and patient organisations. In its first two funding periods (IMI and IMI2), it had a budget of 5.3 billion euros, which funded 167 projects with 5,238 participating organisations. In 2021, IMI was transformed into the Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) which will have a total budget of €2.4 billion.
Which areas of research are covered by IMI and IHI?
IMI is focused on health research; more precisely, its focus for 2014-2020 was on delivering “the proper prevention and treatment for the right patient at the right time.” Most notably this focus is on priority disease areas, where no safe and effective treatments exist to date, and/ or where there is the most significant impact on public health (e.g., antimicrobial resistance or brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and autism, diabetes and cancer).
The new IHI broadens its research and innovation scope beyond medicines with a much greater focus on cross-sectoral projects involving the biopharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology sectors, including companies active in the digital area. It intends to contribute to a number of European policies, most notably Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the new Industrial Strategy for Europe and the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe.
Where can I find information about IMI?
What are the benefits of participating in an EU-funded project as a patient organisation?
Participating in an EU-funded project as a patient organisation provides a significant opportunity to address the needs and perspectives of the relevant patient community in research projects, its conferences and scientific meetings. Patient involvement can help the research consortium to make sure the design, implementation and outcomes of research projects deliver to patients’ unmet needs.
Additionally, participation creates room for learning, capacity building, and organisational development stemming from tasks within research projects. It allows organisations to gain insight into the differing views and opinions from researchers and other involved stakeholders across Europe.
Participating in an EU-funded project is also an excellent way to secure research funding for an organisation. Furthermore, participation in EU-funded projects leads to improved networking possibilities with large consortiums and improved recognition and status.
How can patient organisations get involved in EU-funded projects?
Patient organisations can get involved in EU-funded research projects in various ways.
Patient organisations can be consortium members. Being a full member of a consortium includes many administrative and organisational responsibilities, but ensures direct involvement in the work and delivery of a project. For example, acting as a work package leader allows an organisation to coordinate and deliver defined elements of the project, for example a work package on patient involvement, needs assessment, external communication. As a member ofthe steering committee governing board, a patient organisation can contribute to all relevant strategic decisions. While both roles may create significant workload and require experience and commitment, there is usually a budget to cover the work.
A patient organisation can also act as an associated project partner. Associated partners usually have a partnership agreement with the research project. However, they are usually not funded for the contributions and there is very limited influence on decisions of the project.
Patient organisations can also be contracted advisors or consultants to the entire project or one of the consortium partners to provide expertise to specific committees. Consulting or advisory roles involve a less complicated work structure but also a lower level of influence on outcomes. There is often no compensation for time invested by advisors.
Patient organisations can also be involved through a hub (or “patient cluster”). In this case, one patient organisation is a consortium member, co-ordinates a group of patient organisations or alliances, picks up all the administrative and coordinative work, and receives the budget which it then provides to the contributors from the wider patient community (IMI HARMONY or IMI SISAQOL are good examples). Hubs ensure efficient and meaningful input from across the community while only one organisation needs to deal with the administrative work. However, the workload can be high on the side of the consortium member organisation (the hub co-ordinator).
Whichever format is chosen, all EU funding mechanisms insist on a precise and airtight contracting structure and a meticulous administrative paper trail to ensure compliance in future auditing procedures and to avoid misuse of EU public funds.
Are there any restrictions or requirements for participation in EU-funded projects?
To participate in an EU-funded project, your organisation should be legally registered in one of the EU Member States. Your organisation must also hold a partner identification code (PIC) available for free from the European Commission.
Organisations based in EU Associated Countries (Albania, Armenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Faroe Islands, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine) were also able to participate in the Horizon 2020 programme. Due to the lack of background treaties and agreements with the UK’s exit from the European Union, the participation of many UK entities in EU funding programmes is currently on hold.
The Association Agreements for the H2020-successor Horizon Europe and potentially the UK are still in an early phase and are expected to be finalised by the end of 2021.
Once a member of an EU-funded project, what are the requirements?
Your organisation must participate in continuous monitoring and evaluation activities. Your organisation must also draft and submit an interim and closing report on any activities done while involved in an EU-funded project.
Your organisation must comply with the rules of participation regarding eligible expenses, calculation and intellectual property. These will be outlined in the specific grant agreement for the project in which your organisation is participating.
Where can I find help/support with this?
Extensive supporting documents and help by email are available from the European Commission, the relevant funding mechanism (e.g., IMI/IHI, HORIZON2020/ Horizon Europe), and the programme or project concerned.
You may also contact the Workgroup of European Cancer Patient Advocacy Networks (WECAN), for further information on the participation of the European cancer patient community in EU funding programmes.
Where can I find documentation of already implemented projects?
Documentation on outcomes, deliverables, interim and closing reports, including financial statements, can be found on the websites of the relevant funding mechanisms. For learning about experience with Horizon 2020 and IMI programmes, you may also contact cancer patient organisations who have participated in related research projects, e.g. MPE (H2020 CARAMBA, MMPredict; IMI HARMONY, PREFER, SISAQOL), LeukaNET (IMI HARMONY) or EUPATI (IMI).