To ensure a high level of health protection, to better understand human diseases, and to discover new remedies, public health actions need to be integrated into different policies so that they can be implemented as joint strategies. In particular, actions undertaken in the research and technological development areas play a key role here.
In Europe, there is public concern about complex issues such as food safety, emerging communicable diseases and the possible health effects of agents in the environment. For this reason, the European Union has developed the concept of the European Research Area (ERA) to improve the coordination of research activities and policies at national and European level, organise international cooperation and network teams, and increase the mobility of professionals and ideas. The Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development are the main financial and legal instruments for implementing the ERA, alongside national efforts and other European cooperative research activities.
Public health priorities and objectives are taken into account in the drawing-up of research programmes and actions. Scientific support for public health policy is provided in the conception, development, and implementation and monitoring of actions. Current cross-sectoral, multidisciplinary research combines the diverse efforts — for example in environment and health, nutrition, biomedicine, genomics and biotechnology — to achieve the overall objective: wellbeing and healthy ageing.