Mainly, this contribution will be through the third pillar of the Health Theme (part of the Specific Programme "Co-operation") "Optimising the delivery of health care to European citizens", complemented by the second pillar – “Translating Research for Human Health” – which focuses on infectious and poverty-related diseases. International co-operation is an integral part of the theme and stretches throughout all pillars, with particular reference to the Millennium Development Goals. Finally, child health and health of the ageing population are identified as overarching issues of strategic importance throughout the Theme.
The activities under the third pillar of the Health Theme aim at developing new research methods and generating the necessary scientific basis to underpin informed policy decisions on Member States' health systems and more effective and efficient evidence-based strategies of health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis and therapy. This pillar is a completely new development as it identifies public health research for the first time as an integral part of the EC health research landscape.
It is recognised that the EU's health systems are a central part of Europe’s high level of social protection and that they contribute to social cohesion and social justice as well as to sustainable development. They reflect the overarching values of universality, access to good health care, equity and solidarity, and aim at being patient-centred and responsive to individual needs.
Specific international cooperation actions within the third pillar aim at supporting research to provide a scientific base for International Cooperation Partner Countries to improve their health service delivery, including aspects of accessibility, effectiveness, efficiency, quality of care and user-friendliness. It also covers public health concepts and interventions beyond health services through cross-sectorial and multi-disciplinary research approaches. Global initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) should also be taken into account.
Activities on infectious diseases and poverty-related diseases under the second pillar focus – among other things – on potentially new and re-emerging epidemics, encouraging vaccine development, new treatment strategies as well as containment and mitigation strategies, whilst encouraging collaboration with Asian partners. Such research requires a broad inter-disciplinary approach allowing for the study of discrete ecological changes which facilitate the emergence of epidemics. The FP6 focus of on poverty-related diseases – mainly HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis – will be maintained in FP7, though neglected infectious diseases will also be studied. The latter aims at establishing an integrated approach for the development of preventive, therapeutic and control tools for such diseases, taking into account the ecological aspects of the different diseases.
The First and Second Calls of the Health Theme had a total research budget (2007-2008 budgets) of +/- € 1.186 Billion. The FP7 homepage for health research provides more information on research funded under this Theme.