Biomedical research at Inserm is part of a wider European context in which the pooling of Member State efforts has become a principle of action in many strategic domains, particularly those with major public health impact. These endeavors shared by Inserm also include public-private partnerships.
At Inserm, participation of the research units in the various instruments of the European framework program is a priority as set out in the 2021–2025 Strategic Plan. Researchers are supported in this participation thanks to a structured system in which Inserm national and regional players (regional offices, headquarters, theme-based institutes and Inserm Transfert) work together. When preparing collaborative projects for coordination by Inserm, researchers can call on the expertise of Inserm Transfert. The Institute will cover the costs relating to this assistance if the project fulfils the eligibility criteria (see Intranet for more information).
Horizon Europe is the European Union research and innovation funding program for 2021–2027. As principal funding instrument for the European Research Area (ERA), it has a budget of around €95 billion, representing around 5% of European public research expenditure. Inserm is principally involved in the following subprograms:
Excellent Science (Pillar I)
The European Research Council (ERC) supports a non-thematic, scientific program dedicated to exploratory research, with the only selection criterion being scientific excellence. Inserm encourages its researchers to apply and offers them the assistance of its ERC Unit and regional offices. Inserm has also implemented support sessions to help ERC grant applicants prepare for their interviews, in partnership with the other members of Aviesan.
See Inserm’s ERC Grantees (only avaible in French)
The objective of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) is to encourage European and international training and mobility through doctoral student networks and individual bursaries. These actions provide funding for projects across all research and innovation domains, from basic research to market launch.
See Inserm’s MSCA Grantees (only available in French)
The Research Infrastructures program enables the development of research infrastructures, particularly in the life sciences and health domains, including translational and clinical research. For example, Inserm is coordinating the European Research Infrastructure on Highly Pathogenic Agents (ERINHA).
Global Challenges (Pillar II)
Inserm plays an active role in the Health Cluster, which follows on from the Societal Challenges of Horizon 2020. Its objective is to fund research with a societal impact, in order to improve quality of life for European citizens of all ages, maintain healthcare system economic sustainability, and promote public and private sector innovation. This program funds ambitious projects proposed by research consortia comprising at least three partners from three different European countries, in response to calls for projects defined by the European Commission.
See Inserm’s Health grantees (only available in French)
In addition, Inserm plays a major role in two key partnerships within the Health Cluster:
The Innovative Health Initiative (IHI), whose objective is to support the development of new tools to accelerate the development of new medicines that are both safer and more effective. The IHI is based on a public-private partnership that involves industry partners from the pharmaceutical sector (represented by their European federation, EFPIA) and healthcare industries as well as the European Commission. Inserm has played an active role in implementing this initiative, and its Vice-CEO for Strategy is a member of the States Representatives Group (SRG) advising and monitoring its implementation.
The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) is a partnership between countries in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa aimed at funding clinical trials, building capacity and creating North-South and South-South networks. Its objective is to reduce the mortality and morbidity associated with diseases of poverty. Since May 2017, its Board has been chaired by the Director of the Aviesan Immunology, Inflammation, Infectiology and Microbiology (I3M) Multi-Organization Theme-Based Institute.
Innovative Europe (Pillar III)
The European Innovation Council (EIC) supports high-risk, high-impact research that accelerates the transfer of innovation, as well as the development of tech start-ups on a European scale. Among the various proposed initiatives, Inserm is particularly involved in EIC Pathfinder. This instrument, which follows on from the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) program of Horizon 2020, aims to promote radically new technologies and provide answers to major interdisciplinary scientific and technological challenges through collaborative projects.
The objective of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology is to accelerate technology transfer within European research and increase European competitiveness in innovation. Inserm is a founding member of its Health component (EIT Health), which brings together major stakeholders from across the sector: academic research, industry, primary care, and patient organizations.
Inserm encourages its teams to participate in these various programs.
Partnerships in Horizon Europe
In a desire to simplify the diversity of its programming and joint funding tools, the European Commission has launched three types of partnerships, which can be:
- co-programmed partnerships (such as JPND and JPIAMR, see below)
- institutionalized partnerships (such as EDCTP and IHI)
- co-funded partnerships (based on the Era-net model and joint European partnerships, such as EJP RD coordinated by Inserm)
In regard to co-funded partnerships, the basis of these tools remains poorly defined and discussions are ongoing. Inserm is following these latest negotiations closely.
Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI)
The Joint Programming on Neurodegenerative Diseases (JPND), particularly Alzheimer’s disease, approved in 2008, now includes 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 National Research Agency (ANR).
In 2012, Inserm was involved in establishing a second such initiative, the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR). France is represented on its Management Board by one representative from Aviesan/Inserm and one representative from the ANR.
Inserm is also following the development of other schemes launched by the European Commission, such as the Health Programme. Alongside Horizon Europe, the European Union is developing schemes in the areas of public health and consumer protection. The health component is based in particular on a specific framework program, which focuses on protecting and improving the health of European citizens. This program, which was officially launched on January 1, 2014 for a seven-year period and with a budget of €321.5 million, had three components: improvement of health security, promotion of health including reduction of inequalities, and health information and knowledge. Following the COVID crisis, the budget was reinforced (about €5 billion) and the ambitions reviewed.
Inserm has followed the opportunities offered by the program, in particular the Joint Actions, for example on antimicrobial resistance (JAMRAI) and vaccination (EU-JAV), which are coordinated by Inserm. The Institute will continue its involvement and will follow the creation of the new European BARDA (HERA).
European funding: Inserm supports its teams
For information on the various initiatives envisaged by the Institute offering help to obtain European funding, please consult the Intranet.