European Programmes

The biomedical research conducted at Inserm has a strong European context. Researchers are encouraged and guided during their participation in the various programmes in Horizon 2020, the main instrument for implementing European research. Public/private partnership is another aspect of European actions in which Inserm is involved.

At EU Member State level, pooling of research has become a principle of action in strategic areas, e.g. those with a strong impact on public health. Inserm is fully involved alongside other large research bodies in France and Europe.

Inserm and European programmes (as of 1 January 2017)

FP7 (2017-2023 programme):

  • 1st European coordinator of collaborative projects 
  • 1st European partner in collaborative projects on health
  • one of the main institutions hosting ERC grantees

Horizon 2020 (2014-2020 programme)

  • involved in 124 European projects
  • over €109 million allocated to Inserm teams

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the European Union’s funding programme for research and innovation for the 2014-2020 period. As the main instrument for implementing the European Research Area (ERA), it has a budget of approximately €80 billion, representing about 5% of public expenditure on research in Europe. It provides funding under three sections or “pillars:” excellent science, industrial leadership and societal challenges. Inserm is strongly involved.

Collaborative programme for Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing

The objective of the Societal Challenge “Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing” is to fund research that will have an impact on society, in order to improve the quality of life of European citizens of all ages, maintain economic viability of health systems, and encourage innovation by the public and private sectors.

Inserm encourages participation by its teams in this collaborative programme. A procedure for helping to develop European projects and providing ongoing support has been established for this purpose, in partnership with Inserm’s private subsidiary Inserm Transfert.

Funding of the Excellent Science pillar

The Excellent Science pillar of the Horizon 2020 programme supports basic research and research at the frontiers of knowledge, particularly through the following programmes:

  • The European Research Council (ERC) programme is a non-thematic scientific programme dedicated to exploratory research, with scientific excellence as the sole selection criterion. This programme is intended for either young researchers showing strong potential for independence, or experienced researchers. Inserm is strongly involved in this programme, and encourages its researchers to apply. The latter can get help and support from Inserm’s ERC Unit. Inserm has also put in place support sessions to help applicants for Starting and Consolidator Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) to prepare for their interviews, in partnership with its Aviesan partners.

Find out about ERC grantees at Inserm

  • The Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme is aimed at promoting radically new technologies and helping to respond to major interdisciplinary scientific and technological challenges.
  • The Research Infrastructures programme, especially for the development of infrastructure in the area of life sciences and health, including translational and clinical research (actions conducted under the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures [ESFRI]).

Joint pan-European initiatives

Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI)

As part of the development of the European Research Area in general, and in association with Horizon 2020, Inserm closely follows the initiatives undertaken by the European Commission, and is directly involved in those related to its strategic interests. Two initiatives particularly relate to the Institute:

  • The Joint Programming Initiative devoted to neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer's disease (Joint Programming on Neurodegenerative Diseases – JPND): Approved in 2008, it currently involves 30 countries. The JPND Management Board is currently chaired by an Inserm researcher, and the two other board members representing France are from Aviesan/Inserm and the French National Research Agency (ANR).

Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI)

Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI) are based on the establishment of a public-private partnership, bringing together all players in the area, with a view to strengthening the European competitiveness of industries in the relevant sector. Considered an instrument for implementing Horizon 2020, they are based on the thematic priorities of the Societal Challenges, which provide partial funding for their activities.

These include the Innovative Medicines Initiative – IMI, aimed at supporting the development of new tools enabling the more rapid development of new drugs that are both safer and more effective. With a budget of over €3 billion, IMI has the benefit of a legal structure in the form of a European Joint Undertaking. IMI is based on a public-private partnership, involving industrial partners from the pharmaceutical sector (represented by the European Pharmaceutical Industry Association, EFPIA) and from the health industries, and the European Commission.

Inserm has taken an active part in the implementation of this initiative, and its Deputy Director-General has been appointed to the States Representatives Group (SRG), which provides advice and monitors its implementation.

Health Programme

Inserm also follows other programmes launched by the European Commission, such as the Health Programme. Alongside Horizon 2020, the European Union is developing actions related to public health and consumer protection.

The health component is particularly based on a specific framework programme, the SANCO programme, which is aimed at protecting and promoting the health of European citizens. This programme began officially on 1 January 2014 for a period of 7 years. It has a budget of €321.5 million, and comprises three components: improvement in health security, health promotion, including the reduction of inequalities, and information and knowledge regarding health.

Inserm follows the opportunities offered by the programme, particularly the Joint Actions, such as the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance, which Inserm coordinates.

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