12%… 10%… 8%…

Counting down to zero

Towards a future with underfunded health research?


We, as representatives of the undersigned organisations, welcome the current European Commission’s proposal for a new Framework Programme for Research & Innovation, “Horizon Europe”. We acknowledge the budget increase — in spite of the currently challenging financial context — and applaud the many important improvements introduced based on the thorough analysis of the Horizon 2020 Programme.

Nevertheless, we firmly believe that the proposed budget as it stands is well below what would be necessary to tackle Europe’s challenges head on, secure global competitiveness, maintain technological and industrial leadership, as well as safeguard economic growth and societal progress. The current proposal also fails to address the historically low success rate seen in the current Framework Programme, which is a major bottleneck for fostering research excellence.

Ensuring increased European leadership undeniably requires bolder decisions. The EU’s investment into research currently amounts to between 5% and 10% of all R&D investments across Europe, whilst in the United States, federal funding of R&D represents more than 50%.

To this end, we would like to join the voices within the European Parliament, Pascal Lamy’s High Level group recommendations and many other stakeholders to call on the European Commission, European Parliament, and the Council of the EU to increase the future budget of “Horizon Europe” to a minimum of €120 billion.

We are highly concerned about the budget of €7.7 billion provisionally allocated to the “health” cluster under Pillar II. This amount is not commensurate with the total budget increase and will clearly be insufficient to effectively address the societal challenges associated with health research. Moreover, this budget confirms a steady decrease of funding over time and across Framework Programmes, as health was previously allocated 12% under the 7th Framework Programme, 10% under Horizon 2020 and now 8% in the Horizon Europe proposal. For continued success in European research, we find it imperative that this downward trend is stopped and reverted.

EU health research, which is often too complex to be exclusively managed by individual member states, has an inestimable value for the lives of European citizens. Furthermore, the health challenges that we face are enormous and the sustainability of healthcare systems across Europe is under serious threat. The World Economic Forum and the Harvard School of Public Health predict that noncommunicable diseases alone will result in a cumulative loss in global economic output of $47 trillion, or 5% of GDP, by 2030, principally through heart disease, stroke, alcohol misuse and depression in high and upper-middle income countries.

To ensure continued improvement in the lives of all EU citizens, it is essential that a much higher proportion of the research budget is allocated to the “health” cluster. This would contribute to continued support to basic and clinical research and empower EU governments to respond to pressing health-related problems.

We believe that the “Horizon Europe” proposal, upon appropriate planning and execution, holds the promise of having a real and lasting impact on European society. We offer our support to making this a reality, in turn working toward reinforcing the trust of European citizens in EU projects.

Signatories that support the statement:

BioMed Alliance

The Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe is a non- profit organization representing 29 leading European research and medical societies uniting more than 400,000 researchers and health professionals. The BioMed Alliance is committed to promoting excellence in European biomedical research and innovation with the goal of improving the health and well-being of all European citizens (www.biomedeurope.org). Comments from the Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe on the Horizon Europe Programme can be accessed under: https://www.biomedeurope.org/

Dystonia Europe

Dystonia Europe is the platform at the European level for all dystonia stakeholders in Europe. We work in partnership with patient advocacy groups, clinicians, researchers, healthcare professionals, and the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. By connecting people across Europe we aim to raisee awareness, spread information and promote research within the field of dystonia.

The Encephalitis Society

The Encephalitis Society’s aim is to improve the quality of life of all people affected directly and indirectly by encephalitis. The activities we undertake towards achieving our aim are to provide support and information, raise awareness and promote and collaborate on research on encephalitis.

Epilepsy Alliance Europe

Epilepsy Alliance Europe is a joint organisation that brings together European professional and lay stakeholders associated with the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) and with the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE).

European Academy of Neurology

EAN brings together and represents 47 national neurological societies as well as individual members – over 45,000 neurologists serving more than 900 million people. EAN provides the essential infrastructure and organizational framework for the support and development of neurological education, research and care in Europe.

European Federation of Associations of Families of People with Mental Illness

EUFAMI is a democratic organisation, registered in Belgium as an international non-profit organisation. We have an ongoing commitment to improving care and welfare for people affected by mental illness. We also enable our member organisations to act jointly at a European Level, combining their efforts and sharing experience.

European Brain Council

The European Brain Council (EBC) is a non-profit organisation gathering patient associations, major brain-related societies as well as industries. Established in March 2002, its mission is to promote brain research in order to improve the quality of life of those living with brain disorders in Europe.

European College of Neuropsychopharmacology

ECNP is an independent scientific association dedicated to the science and treatment of disorders of the brain. It is the largest non-institutional supporter of applied and translational neuroscience research and education in Europe.

European Federation of Neurological Associations

The European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA) brings together European umbrella organisations of neurological patient advocacy groups, to work with other associations in the field of neurology.

European Psychiatric Association

With active individual members in as many as 88 countries and 43 National Psychiatric Association Members that represent more than 80,000 European psychiatrists, the European Psychiatric Association is the main association representing psychiatry in Europe. The EPA’s activities address the interests of psychiatrists in academia, research and practice throughout all stages of career development.

Federation of European Neuroscience Societies

FENS is the voice of European neuroscience. With 43 neuroscience member societies across 33 European countries, FENS as an organisation represents 24,000 European neuroscientists with a mission to advance European neuroscience education and research.


GAMIAN-Europe was established in 1998 as a representative coalition of patient organisations. Putting the patient at the centre of all issues of the EU healthcare debate, the organisation aims to bring together and support the development and policy influencing capacity of local, regional and national organisations active in the field of mental health.

Hellenic Society for Neurosciences

The Hellenic Society for Neurosciences (HSfN) was founded on 1985 and has ~300 members of Greek neuroscientists and students working in Greece and abroad. The aims of HSfN include the promotion of brain research and education, as well as to raise awareness for the public.

International Brain Research Organization

IBRO is the global federation of neuroscience organizations that aims to promote and support neuroscience around the world. More than 90 international, national and regional scientific organisations constitute IBRO’s Governing Council which, together with the five IBRO Regional Committees, address the needs and advance the work of individual scientists and research communities everywhere.

International League Against Epilepsy

ILAE’s mission is to ensure that health professionals, patients and their care providers, governments, and the public world-wide have the educational and research resources that are essential in understanding, diagnosing and treating persons with epilepsy.

National Brain Councils

National Brain Councils (NBCs), active in over 15 European countries, play a key role in advocating for brain health and raising awareness of the importance of brain research at national level. These organizations serve as a platform for cooperation between patients, scientists, psychiatrists and neurologists. What is more, NBCs actively support the dissemination of Europe-wide studies and initiatives related to the brain.

The following NBCs have endorsed the statement:

Belgian Brain Council
Croatian Brain Council
Dutch Brain Council
French Brain Council
German Brain Council
Luxembourg Brain Council
Portuguese Brain Council
Serbian Brain Council
Spanish Brain Council

The statement is also supported by:

UCB Biopharma SPR

DOWNLOAD the pdf statement here.