Why the EU supports health research and innovation

Europe is facing serious healthcare challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of coordinating health research and innovation among European countries.

These challenges must be met to grant everybody a long and healthy life. Ageing and the increase in chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and brain conditions that require diverse types of treatment are increasing costs to potentially unsustainable levels, with the risk of unequal access to care for people across the European Union

External environmental factors, including climate change, as well as the risk to lose our ability to protect ourselves against infectious diseases, for instance due to anti-microbial resistance, are also exposing us to new risks and threats.

The European Union is investing in research, technology and innovation to develop solutions to overcome those challenges.

Under Horizon Europe, the EU's current research and innovation funding programme, the main areas of intervention are

  • health throughout the life course
  • environmental and social health determinants 
  • non-communicable and rare diseases 
  • infectious diseases including poverty-related and neglected diseases
  • tools, technologies and digital solutions for health and care including personalised medicine
  • health care systems

The aim is to find new ways to keep people healthy, prevent diseases, develop better diagnostics and more effective therapies, use personalised medicine approaches to improve healthcare and wellbeing, and take up  innovative  health technologies, such as digital ones.

Finally, European research and innovation in health is about working together across borders, sharing each other's knowledge and resources and improving our health and care systems together.

Health Horizon 2020 research projects from last call

Horizon Europe Cluster 1: Health

Funding opportunities

  • Horizon Europe

    Funding for health under the research and innovation framework programme, Horizon Europe.

  • Innovative medicines initiative

    Joint undertaking between the EU and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations aiming to speed up the up the development of better and safer medicines.

  • EU Health Programme

    Funding programme created to implement the EU health strategy.

  • Horizon prize for better use of antibiotics

    Closed prize that rewarded a rapid test to identify patients with upper respiratory tract infections that can be treated safely without antibiotics.

  • Fit for Health 2.0

    Resource for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which provides a database of researchers and SMEs in the life-sciences sector and provides advice on all aspects related to EU-funded research projects

  • Horizon Results Platform

    Platform where framework programme funding recipients present their results to search, contact their owners and form partnerships

  • Horizon 2020 dashboard

    Interactive reporting platform, composed of a set of sheets that allows series of views to discover and filter Horizon 2020 data

  • European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP)

    Public-public partnership between 14 European and 16 sub-Saharan Africa countries, supported by the European Union.

Collaboration and jobs

  • Find project partners

    Look for project partners and view profiles of all organisations that have received funding via the funding and tender opportunities portal.

  • Jobs (EURAXESS)

    Researcher jobs in related fields

  • Partnerships in Horizon Europe

    Candidates and approved partnerships in the health area under the research and innovation funding programme, Horizon Europe.

  • Global partnerships

    Partnerships between the Commission and global stakeholders in health. 

  • European Reference Networks

    Virtual networks involving healthcare providers across Europe. They aim to facilitate discussion on complex or rare diseases and conditions that require highly specialised treatment.

  • Joint Programming Initiatives

    Details of health joint programming initiatives which aims to help EU countries pool resources to tackle major challenges for society.

Projects and results

Scientific publications, tools and databases

  • Scientific publications

    Scientific publications produced by the European Commission (JRC)

  • Health research tools and databases

    The Commission's Joint Research Centre compiles databases and develops software and modelling tools. You can access health related ones here. 

  • EU Open Data Portal

    Single point of access to open data produced by the EU institutions. All data free to use for commercial and non-commercial purposes.

  • OpenAIRE

    You can access all scientific publications from Horizon 2020 via OpenAIRE.



  • Research enquiry service

    You can contact the research enquiry service to find out more about research in Europe, the EU's research and innovation funding programmes as well as calls for proposals and project funding.  

  • National contact points

    The national contact points (NCP) network gives guidance and information on participating in Horizon 2020. NCPs are established in all EU countries and many non-EU countries.

  • European IP Helpdesk

    Service that offers an intellectual property rights helpline, training and online library.

  • Enterprise Europe Network

    The Enterprise Europe Network is the world’s largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with international ambitions. 

Related Commission departments