With 350 participants from Greece and Cyprus, the online event 'Funding Opportunities for Health Research and Innovation in Horizon Europe' was successfully held on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. The event was organised by the National Documentation Centre (EKT), National Contact Point for Health (Cluster 1), in collaboration with the General Secretariat for Research and Innovation (GSRI), the European Commission (Directorate-General for Research and Innovation) and the Research and Innovation Foundation of Cyprus (RIF) .
Stakeholders from research centres, universities, business, Ministries, hospitals, clinics and patient organisations were informed about the recent new health calls and had the chance to put their questions directly to the European Commission representative, National Representatives and Health Cluster Experts.
At the beginning of the event, Dr. Nena Malliou, Head of the RDI Indicators & Actions Division at EKT, referred to the organisation in its role as a National Contact Point for Horizon Europe, noting EKT's many years of experience acting as a National Contact Point for EU programmes, providing services for businesses, research and academic organisations and, as National Authority of the Hellenic Statistical System. recording the research activity of the country.
Athanasios Kyriazis, Secretary-General for Research and Innovation, welcomed the participants and referred to the new EU Programme, Horizon Europe, which calls for bridging the life sciences and biodata with computer science and artificial intelligence, with the aim of improving the quality of life and access to health for all European citizens. He stressed that the GSRI will make every effort towards productive discussion and making use of the various strengths of all involved bodies and organisations in order to increase Greek participation in Horizon Europe in the health sector. 'Given the current pandemic conditions, Healthcare constitutes an ideal area for research and innovation', he said.
In his welcoming remarks, Theodoros Loukaidis, Director General of RIF, referred to the contribution of research and innovation in tackling the pandemic. He not only talked about the investment in research and innovation in Cyprus in the field of Health during the previous programming period, but also about the multiple benefits that Horizon Europe will have.
Then, Dr. Christina Kyriakopoulou from the EU Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, presented the first work programme on Health (Cluster 1), the financial tools offered, the calls in progress, the differences in relation to Horizon 2020, missions and European health related partnerships. In addition, she presented statistics on Greece's participation in the health sector as well as comparative data between the EU and the US in spending on research and development in the health sector. Particular emphasis was placed on the Mission on Cancer, a flagship action in Horizon Europe, aimed at protecting more than 3 million human lives by 2030.
Dr. Costas Stamatopoulos, HE-HEALTH National Representative from EKETA, underlined that Horizon Europe is the most ambitious effort for the development of research and technology in European history. He referred to missions, an innovation of Horizon Europe in relation to Horizon 2020, which reflect social needs and seek to solve universal problems.
The EU4HEALTH Programme was presented by Stavros Divanis, Special Adviser at the General Secretariat of Public Health of the Ministry of Health. The EU4Health programme represents an unprecedented financial commitment of the EU for health actions compared to previous health programmes, stressed Mr. Divanis, and is expected to bridge the gap that exists between the health systems of the Member States, and to provide solutions to rare diseases and cancer.
Dr. Christina Pascual, National Health Contact Point (Cluster 1) for Horizon Europe, presented EKT's activities in the research, academic and business community, in the context of its role as co-ordinator of Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas and the Greek node of EIT Health. EKT, underlined Dr. C. Pascual, has many years of experience in providing advisory guidance to researchers, companies and organisations throughout their course: from identifying opportunities to successfully submitting a proposal and disseminating research results. She made special reference to the 'Knowledge and Partnership Bridges' initiative implemented by EKT, which aims to network Greeks regardless of their place of residence and professional employment, thus contributing to the strengthening of co-operation between them and, more broadly, to the development of the country.
Lastly, Marinos Fotiadis, Scientific Officer in the Department of European Programmes at RIF, presented the services of his organisation as a National Contact Point in the field of Health and other issues in Horizon Europe, and as a national body responsible for its support and dissemination of research and innovation in Cyprus.
The event was co-ordinated by Dimitris Maragos, National Contact Point for Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions in Horizon Europe and Communication Officer of the 'Knowledge and Partnership Bridges' initiative implemented by EKT.
Throughout the event, the audience were able to address the speakers live questions, which were answered at the end of the presentations. In addition, participants could take part in interactive polls about their field of study, and the city from which they were attending the event.
The video of the event.
EKT as National Contact Point for Horizon Europe
EKT is the National Contact Point for Horizon Europe, specifically the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) programme of Pillar 1 and the 'Health' and Digital Technologies, Industry and Space' sectors of Pillar 2 . It supports organisations, enterprises, academics and research organisations to identify funding opportunities, draft and submit proposals, implement projects and exploit research results. It not only contributes to the recording and analysis of Greece's participation in European research and innovation programmes but, as a National Contact Point, it supports the implementation of ongoing projects under Horizon 2020.
With combined value-added services, EKT supports the Greek research and business community to excel and grow internationally. As co-ordinator of the Greek node of the Enterprise Europe Network, the largest business support network in the world, it provides services complementary to those of the National Contact Points, operating as a 'one-stop-shop' for business information on European issues, for finding business partnerships abroad, for technology transfer and innovation services, for mediation for international technological collaborations, for access to European funding and finding partners to participate in research proposals.