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Where is the ‘global’ in the European Union’s Health Research and Innovation Agenda?
  1. Astrid Berner-Rodoreda1,
  2. Eva Annette Rehfuess2,
  3. Kerstin Klipstein-Grobusch3,
  4. Frank Cobelens4,
  5. Mario Raviglione5,
  6. Antoine Flahault6,
  7. Núria Casamitjana7,
  8. Günter Fröschl8,
  9. Jolene Skordis-Worral9,
  10. Ibrahim Abubakar9,
  11. Hutan Ashrafian10,
  12. Anette Agardh11,
  13. Leo Visser12,
  14. Constance Schultsz4,
  15. Antoni Plasència7,
  16. Albrecht Jahn1,
  17. Robyn Norton13,
  18. Remko van Leeuwen4,
  19. Lars Hagander14,
  20. Till Bärnighausen1,15,16
  1. 1Heidelberg Institute of Global Health (HIGH), Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany
  2. 2Institute for Medical Information Processing, Biometry and Epidemiology, Pettenkofer School of Public Health, LMU München, München, Germany
  3. 3Julius Global Health, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
  4. 4Department of Global Health and Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  5. 5Global Health Centre, Centre for Multidisciplinary Research in Health Science (MACH), University of Milan, Milan, Italy
  6. 6Institute of Global Health, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  7. 7Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  8. 8Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, LMU München, München, Germany
  9. 9Institute for Global Health, University College London, London, UK
  10. 10Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London, London, UK
  11. 11Division of Social Medicine and Global Health, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden
  12. 12Department of Infectious Diseases, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands
  13. 13The George Institute for Global Health, Nuffield Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  14. 14Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  15. 15Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  16. 16Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI), Somkhele and Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Astrid Berner-Rodoreda; astrid.berner-rodoreda{at}


Global Health has not featured as prominently in the European Union (EU) research agenda in recent years as it did in the first decade of the new millennium, and participation of low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) in EU health research has declined substantially. The Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Framework adopted by the European Parliament in April 2019 for the period 2021–2027 will serve as an important funding instrument for health research, yet the proposed health research budget to be finalised towards the end of 2019 was reduced from 10% in the current framework, Horizon 2020, to 8% in Horizon Europe. Our analysis takes the evolvement of Horizon Europe from the initial framework of June 2018 to the framework agreed on in April 2019 into account. It shows that despite some improvements in terms of Global Health and reference to the Sustainable Development Goals, European industrial competitiveness continues to play a paramount role, with Global Health research needs and relevant health research for LMICs being only partially addressed. We argue that the globally interconnected nature of health and the transdisciplinary nature of health research need to be fully taken into account and acted on in the new European Research and Innovation Framework. A facilitated global research collaboration through Horizon Europe could ensure that Global Health innovations and solutions benefit all parts of the world including EU countries.

  • health policy
  • public health
  • health systems
  • infectious diseases
  • diagnostics and tools

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  • Handling editor Seye Abimbola

  • Contributors ABR wrote and revised the manuscript. EAR, FC, NC, GF, JSW, IA, CS, AP, RvL and TB conceptualised the Future Search Conference in order to strengthen Global Health in the EU Research Agenda. Comments, edits, revisions and final approval were provided by EAR, KKG, FC, MR, AF, NC, GF, JSW, IA, HA, AA, LV, CS, AP, AJ, RN, RvL, LH and TB.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors. TB was supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation through the Alexander von Humboldt Professor award and by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the European Commission and the Wellcome Trust.

  • Competing interests RvL is also chief executive officer and founder of Madam Therapeutics, a private entity that is pursuing the development of new antibiotics. All other authors declare no known conflict of interest.

  • Patient and public involvement statement Our research did not involve patients. NGO representatives collaborated with European Global Health researchers in critically assessing the Horizon Europe Framework with a view to strengthen Global Health and Global Health Research and to ensure that the new Framework does not only benefit EU, but global citizens.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement The authors confirm that the data supporting the findings of this article are available within the article.

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