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Innovative Health Initiative launches first calls for proposals

The Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) has launched its first calls for proposals, with topics on diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as cross-cutting issues like health data and early stage studies of medical devices.

28 June 2022
White neon lights say 'APPLY NOW' and a neon hand is clicking on this. THe background is dark blue tiles.
Image by bohlam via Shutterstock

In total, IHI will contribute up to EUR 135 million to projects funded under IHI call 1. When preparing their budgets, applicants will have to ensure that at least 45 % of the total project costs are met via contributions from IHI private partners and/or IHI contributing partners.

For IHI call 2, the IHI contribution is around EUR 22 million, a figure that is matched by the contributions committed by private and contributing partners.

'These new calls for proposals are a fantastic opportunity for health researchers and stakeholders to work together on some of the most pressing issues in health research – issues that we believe can only be addressed by a cross-sector, multi-stakeholder partnership like IHI. The calls also contribute directly to key EU policies including the Horizon Europe mission on cancer and the European Health Data Space.’

IHI Executive Director Dr Pierre Meulien

In total, there are 6 topics in the calls launched today.

Better support for patients with neurodegenerative diseases plus other diseases

Many people with a neurodegenerative disorder such as dementia also have at least one other disease, and managing multiple health problems is challenging for patients and healthcare systems alike. The aim of this topic is to develop a clinical decision-support system that will allow for a more holistic approach to the care of patients with a neurodegenerative disease plus another disease. The platform, which would draw on clinical knowledge, patient information and other health information, would ease the burden of living with multiple diseases for patients and their families and carers.

Next generation imaging and image therapy for cancer

Advances in imaging technologies have the potential to dramatically improve the care of people with cancer, starting with screening and diagnosis and continuing through treatment and follow-up. This topic aims to provide early evidence of how next-generation imaging and image guided technologies can improve early diagnosis, treatment and follow up of cancer patients when used as part of combined cancer therapies. The topic will also harness the power of artificial intelligence / machine learning to improve and enhance image-based diagnosis and therapy.

Towards more personalised, multi-modal cancer treatments

Multi-modal cancer treatments which combine (for example) chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery are already widely used in cancer care. The aim of this topic is to increase the therapeutic arsenal of multi-modal therapies in a personalised approach. Among other things, the topic will explore how new health technologies could be integrated with existing therapy concepts; study how biological markers and diagnostic tools could be best used to plan, evaluate and adapt treatments; and consider aspects like the sequence, timing and dosage of therapies.

Unlocking the potential of health data to improve care and advance research

Recent years have seen an explosion in the generation of data from sources as diverse as digital technologies, patient-reported outcome measures, clinical trials, and routine clinical care. This data could potentially help to advance both research and patient care, but accessing, integrating and analysing it is extremely challenging. The goal of this topic is to develop a platform for the seamless integration of these data. The topic will also deliver tools to allow the data to be used by doctors and patients (for care purposes), and by researchers (for research into disease areas of high unmet public health need).

Improved prediction, prevention, diagnosis and monitoring of cardiovascular diseases

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) affect 60 million people in the EU alone, and are a leading cause of death globally. Current approaches to CVD risk assessment and treatment take a ‘one size fits all approach’, meaning all patients are treated in the same way regardless of individual risk factors like obesity or diabetes. The aim of this topic is to provide tools for the earlier identification of people at risk of CVD, the earlier diagnosis of people with CVD, and a more personalised approach to treatment. It will do this by analysing data from diverse sources.

A methodology to advance the early stage development of health technologies in the EU

Early feasibility studies are clinical studies of health technologies that are still in the very early stages of development. They typically include limited numbers of participants and are designed primarily to assess things like the initial safety and basic functionality of the device. Today, early feasibility studies are not widely used in the EU, and this may lead to delayed patient access to new innovations. This topic aims to change this by delivering a tried and tested methodology for the performance of early feasibility studies in the EU. The methodology will include guidelines, templates, a stakeholder network, and use cases to test the methodology.

The first four topics (on cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and health data) are launched under IHI call 1. The topics on cardiovascular disease and early feasibility studies fall under IHI call 2. The deadline for proposals for both calls is 20 September 2022.

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Notes to editors

About the calls

IHI call 1 is a single-stage call, meaning applicant consortia will need to include industry / contributing partners who will bring in kind or financial contributions to the project. They will have to submit a full proposal by the deadline.

IHI call 2 is a two-stage call, meaning applicant consortia should not include industry / contributing partners. They will have to submit a short proposal by the deadline. The winning consortium will then work with the industry partners that designed the topic and submit a full proposal at a later date.

All proposals that meet the basic eligibility criteria will be evaluated by independent experts.

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.

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