The biomedical research conducted within Inserm is strongly anchored in the European context. Researchers are encouraged and supported in their participation in the various programs within Horizon 2020, the main instrument for implementing European research. Inserm is involved in public-private partnerships, which also play a role in European projects.
At EU member state level, pooling research has become a principle of action in strategic areas such as those with a major impact on public health. Inserm is fully committed to such schemes alongside other major French and European research organizations.
Horizon 2020 is the European Union research and innovation funding program for the period 2014-2020. The primary funding body for the European Research Area (ERA), it has a budget of around €80 billion, representing approximately 5% of total public expenditure across Europe. Inserm is primarily involved through the following programs:
- The objective of the Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing Societal Challenge is to fund research that will have an impact on society, with a view to improving quality of life for European citizens of all ages, maintaining the economic sustainability of healthcare systems, and promoting innovation through the private and public sectors. Inserm has a particularly strong presence in two major strands of the Health Societal Challenge:
- The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) aims to support the creation of new tools to accelerate the development of new medicinal products that are both safer and more effective. The IMI is 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 played an active role in setting up this initiative, and its deputy director general is a member of the states representatives group (SRG) advising and monitoring its implementation.
- The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership is a partnership between 14 European countries and 16 sub-Saharan Africa countries that aims to fund clinical trials, increase capabilities, and build North-South and South-South networks. Its objective is to reduce the mortality and morbidity linked to poverty-related diseases. The EDCTP is the only funding body of its kind, and since its creation in 2003 has funded 254 projects with a total of 208 million euros. Since May 2017, the director of the Aviesan Immunology, Inflammation, Infectiology and Microbiology (I3M) Multi-Organization Theme-Based Institute has held the position of Vice-Chair on the EDCTP Board. The CEO of Inserm is also a member of its General Assembly.
- The European Research Council (ERC) program is a non-thematic, scientific program dedicated to exploratory research, with its only selection criterion being scientific excellence. Inserm strongly supports this program by encouraging its researchers to apply for grants. They are able to receive help and support from Inserm’s ERC Unit and regional offices. Inserm has also put support training in place to help ERC grant applicants prepare for their interviews, in partnership with its Aviesan partners.
Find out about Inserm’s ERC grant winners
- The aim of the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) is to encourage European and international mobility through training networks and individual funding.
Find out about Inserm’s AMSC grant winners
- The Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) program aims to promote radically new technologies and find solutions to tackle major interdisciplinary scientific and technological challenges.
- The Research Infrastructure programs, particularly in relation to the development of infrastructure in the life sciences and health sectors, including translational research and clinical research (actions forming part of the ESFRI roadmap).
- EIT Health: 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 unit (EIT Health), which brings together major stakeholders from across the sector: academic research, industry, primary care, and patient organizations.
Inserm encourages its staff to participate in all of these collaborative programs. A procedure to help set up and support European projects has been established for this purpose, in partnership with its private subsidiary Inserm Transfert.
Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI)
As part of the wider development of the European Research Area, and in relation to Horizon 2020, Inserm contributes to European Commission initiatives connected to its strategic interests.
- The Joint Programming Initiative devoted to neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer's disease (JPND, Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research): Created in 2008, it 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 ANR.
- In 2012, Inserm was involved in establishing a second Joint Programming Initiative, for antimicrobial resistance (JPIAMR - Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance). France is represented on the JPIAMR Management Board by a representative from Aviesan/Inserm and a representative from the ANR.
Inserm is also following the development of other schemes launched by the European Commission, including the Health Programme. Alongside Horizon 2020, 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, SANCO, which focuses on protecting and improving the health of European citizens. This program was officially launched on January 1, 2014, for a term of 7 years. It has a budget of €321.5 million and consists of three areas: improving health and safety; promoting health and reducing health inequalities; and health information and knowledge.
Inserm is following the opportunities offered by the program, in particular the Joint Actions, for example on antimicrobial resistance (JAMRAI) and on vaccination (EU-JAV), which are coordinated by Inserm.