Horizon 2020: Personalised medicine

The final work programme under Horizon 2020 for the years 2018-2020 is currently being shaped. Recently, the European Commission published 17 scoping papers, which highlight the Commission’s key priorities for each part of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme. The largest priority of the ‘Health, demographic change and well-being’ societal challenge 1 will be: Better health and care, economic growth and sustainable health systems. This priority reflects the Union’s aspiration for better health and healthy ageing, but at the same time the need for sustainable and accessible health care.

Paradigm shift in health care

The traditional medical approach of “one-size-fits-all” is slowly being replaced by the concept of personalised medicine, which refers to a medical model that uses individuals’ phenotypes and genotypes (e.g. molecular profiling, medical imaging, lifestyle data) to manage treatment, predisposition or prevention of disease. The overall goal of personalised medicine is to provide tailored health care to individual patients. Personalised medicine has been a recurring research topic in past work programmes and it will make a reappearance in the forthcoming one.

Despite rapid advances in “omics” technologies and our better understanding of the molecular basis of various diseases, the implementation of personalised medicine in health care has been slow. This is in part due to the lack evidence supporting the benefit of personalised medicine for patients and the health care system. The EU wishes to establish Europe as a global leader in personalised medicine research and accelerate translation of new knowledge on disease aetiology and technological innovation into personalised health and care solutions.

Translation into calls

Invited research areas within the sub-priority of personalised medicine will include chronic, rare and transmittable diseases. The ageing population, minorities and high-risk groups are a few examples of targeted populations.

Publication of the 2018-2020 Work Programme is expected in October 2017. If your R&D is directly in line with the ambitions of the EU, we suggest to start early with your preparations. Horizon 2020 is a highly competitive funding programme and to increase your chances of securing funding it is vital to start early with formulating a strategic approach and building a consortium.

If you would need advice on how to prepare yourself for the upcoming Horizon 2020 programme or are looking for information on other challenges, priorities and research lines, you are welcome to get in touch with Evers + Manders for a non-committal talk.