EU4Health

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The EU4Health programme is a financing instrument to strengthen the cooperation between EU countries and support EU activities in the health sector. The programme for the period 2021-2027 will invest €5.1 billion into projects that promote innovation in health and increase the sustainability of health systems in the EU. The goal is to protect citizens from cross-border health threats. This is done by complementing, supporting, and adding value to health policies to improve the health of EU citizens and reduce health inequalities. The EU4Health programme has three main objectives:

  • Make health systems more resilient to deal with cross-border health threats like COVID-19 and improve crisis management capacity;
  • Make the European Health Union a reality by investing in cancer care, better pandemic preparedness, availability of medicines and innovation; and
  • Boost digital health and disease prevention.

In the first years of the programme, there will be a clear focus on recovery and resilience, in particular pandemic preparedness and response.

Additionally, the Commission’s work on urgent health priorities will be boosted and expanded, such as:

  • Successful initiatives like the European Reference Networks for rare diseases;
  • The fight against cancer;
  • Reducing the number of antimicrobial-resistant infections; and
  • Pursuing international cooperation on global health threats and challenges.

Next steps

The European Parliament and the Council will now formally approve the legal texts. Once the multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027 and the NextGenerationEU legislation have also been adopted, and the preparatory work accomplished, the Commission will put forward a detailed work programme for 2021.

The first EU4Health work programme is expected to be approved in the second quarter of 2021 and will have an approximate budget of €327 million. One aspect of the budget which is already known, is the fact that at least 20% of it will be reserved for disease prevention and health promotion. The administrative steps necessary to finance projects starting 2021 are already being taken.

General Criteria

Although criteria will be made specific in the annual work programmes, and while they will vary per call, we know from experience that these will follow some general rules:

  • On average, projects applying for these schemes comprise large, international consortia with both academic and non-academic partners.
  • Co-financing: Additional financial resources (by third parties or the own institution) must be available.
  • Non-profit: The grant may not have the purpose or effect of generating profit.
  • Nonretroactivity: Co-funding can only be received for costs incurred after the starting date as noted in the grant agreement.
  • Noncumulative: Each action may give rise to the award of only one grant to any one beneficiary.
  • The project should provide high added value at EU level.
  • The project is relevant to the objectives and priorities defined in the current annual work programme.
  • The project is innovative.

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This fact sheet aims to provide a quick overview of the objectives, structure, and conditions of this subsidy scheme. No conclusions can be drawn from this information. Moreover, this document has no legal status.

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