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Cardiovascular disease and arthritis among topics of new IHI funding round

IHI call 8 features topics on heart disease in cities, big data and arthritis, ‘regulatory sandboxes’, and how best to measure the impacts of a therapy on patients’ lives.

25 June 2024
The words 'Apply now' in white letters lying on green grass. Image by Bankrx via Shutterstock.
Image by Bankrx via Shutterstock

The Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) has launched a new call for proposals featuring topics on heart disease in cities, using big data to tackle osteoarthritis, the development of ‘regulatory sandboxes’, and the best ways to measure the impacts of a therapy on patients’ lives.

The total budget for the call is EUR 96.5 million. Of this, EUR 47.6 million comes from Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation programme; EUR 40.9 million comes from IHI’s industry members; and EUR 8.1 comes from IHI contributing partners.

‘This call for proposals is an excellent opportunity to be part of ambitious projects tackling major challenges in health research and innovation. What’s more, the collaborative nature of our projects makes them a great place to learn from and network with experts from different disciplines and sectors.’

 - Dr Niklas Blomberg, IHI Executive Director

The topics launched under IHI call 8 are:

Combatting cardiovascular disease in cities

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality worldwide, accounting for some 18 million deaths a year. Around three quarters of the EU population lives in urban areas, where the risks of developing CVD are heightened by factors such as pollution, the lack of green spaces, and stressful lifestyles. Improving the management of CVD in cities would benefit the health of many people. The goal of this topic is to identify and create models, interventions and best practice to improve the management of CVD in Europe’s cities. These models should cover healthcare delivery (i.e. prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment), as well as individual lifestyle changes and the living environment. Pilot studies in five cities will generate evidence for the wider use of the models.

Using big data to make progress on osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) occurs when the cartilage and other tissues in our joints deteriorate, resulting in pain and stiffness. There is no cure, and it is a major cause of disability. Studies suggest that there may be several different types of OA. The aim of this topic is to use a big data approach to improve our understanding of OA and identify subgroups of patients who may benefit from different treatment approaches. It should also pave the way for regulatory recognition of measures capable of predicting the course of the disease and assessing responses to treatment.

‘Regulatory sandboxes’ to support breakthrough innovation

Rapid advances in research are delivering novel approaches to healthcare that don’t fit in with existing regulatory frameworks. ‘Regulatory sandboxes’ are spaces where innovators and regulators can collaborate and explore the best way to regulate a new technology in such a way that end users are protected, while innovations are not held back by the lack of an existing regulatory framework. In the health sector, regulatory sandboxes are still in their infancy, and this topic is expected to scan healthcare innovations for potential candidates for regulatory sandboxes and analyse how they could drive science and health technology innovation in an evolving environment. The topic is also expected to deliver recommendations on how regulatory sandboxes could be implemented and used to inform innovators, regulators and other decision-makers.

Understanding how best to capture what matters to patients

In clinical research, there are a number of ways of assessing the impact of a therapy on how a patient actually feels and functions. These include patient preference information (PPI), clinical outcome assessments (COAs) such as patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs), and digital health technology (DHT) derived measures. Because these measures are complementary, the most accurate insights into the benefits of a therapy for patients will likely come from combining them, but this is far from easy. The aim of this topic is to develop a framework and recommendations for using multiple types of patient-centred information in combination in clinical studies, to ensure that therapies genuinely address patients’ needs and make a meaningful difference to their lives.

# ENDS #

Notes to editors

Details of the topics and how to apply can be found at

Deadline for short proposals: 10 October 2024

Press contact

Catherine Brett – External Relations Manager

Tel: +32 2 541 8214 | E-mail:

About IHI

The Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) aims to translate health research and innovation into real benefits for patients and society, and ensure that Europe remains at the cutting edge of interdisciplinary, sustainable, patient-centric health research. Health research and care increasingly involve diverse sectors. By supporting projects that bring these sectors together, IHI will pave the way for a more integrated approach to health care, covering prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and disease management.

IHI is a partnership between the European Union and European industry associations representing the pharmaceutical, medical technology, biotechnology, digital health and vaccine industries, namely COCIR, EFPIA, EuropaBio, MedTech Europe and Vaccines Europe. IHI’s total budget is EUR 2.4 billion. Half of this comes from Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation programme. The IHI industry partners have committed EUR 1 billion to IHI, and a further EUR 200 million can be committed by other organisations that decide to become Contributing Partners.

IHI builds on the successes of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), and the IHI Programme Office continues to manage the IMI project portfolio.