Log in
Select page

Success of Spain in Europe: leads 18% of projects and improves economic return in the Horizon 2020 Health Challenge

Spain's participation in biomedical area in Horizon 2020 European research program has greatly improved during this year's call, being both successful in project leadership and obtaining economic returns in health research area.

Spain has obtained very positive results, in fact the best to date, in its participation in health research in the framework of Horizonte 2020, the current European research program. Europe works on seven social challenges. In the 2019 call of the so-called Social Challenge 1, Health, Demographic Change and Welfare, Spain has obtained the best records in this area to date, which confirm a positive evolution of Spain in European research since 2014, the beginning of Horizon 2020, which will be replaced in 2021 by a new European research program, called Horizon Europe.

Health Challenge is one of the 7 social challenges established in the framework of Horizon 2020, which has the greatest funding. It seeks to finance collaborative research projects focused on improving social welfare, development of new therapies and health systems, diseases prevention and treatment and the most effective and economically sustainable healthcare models. Gonzalo Arévalo, deputy director of International Research Programs and Institutional Relations of the ISCIII, describes as "extraordinary" the latest results achieved in the Health Challenge and highlights the weight of Spain in biomedical research in Europe.

In the 2019 call, and for the first time in the Health Challenge, Spain is the country that coordinates most of projects, with 17 of the 93 granted in total, which means leading 18%, almost one of each five projects. This percentage is well above than other reference countries, such as France and the Netherlands (leading 13% of the projects) or Germany (10%).

gonzaloarevalo.jpgLeadership of the Spanish National Health System

It should be noted that, of these 17 projects led by Spain, 11 are coordinated from the scope of the National Health System, "which is consolidated as the main driver of participation and leadership," says Arévalo. After the analysis of this data together with the results of the six calls already closed (2014-2019) during the six years that the Health Challenge in Horizon 2020 has been in force, the Spanish success is confirmed: Spain has led 75 of the 521 projects granted, which represents 14.3% of the total.

The ability to lead projects is important, but the ability to obtain economic returns in the participation of international projects is not less important, an area in which Spain has also achieved great results in this 2019 call.

The funds granted by Horizon 2020 are obtained through competitive participation of different international proposals. The total funding granted in the Health Challenge in 2019 call was 653.5 million, of which 576.5 million went to member states of the European Union (EU28). Within this total, Spanish research teams have obtained 67.2 million financing. This figure means that, of all the funding for the EU, Spain has managed to capture 11.65% of the total. In other words and simplifying, for every 100 euros of European subsidy, Spain has been able to achieve 11.6 euros.

With the best

With these results, Spain is for the first time in the fourth place in financing obtained in these calls in the Health Challenge, only behind of: Germany (16.85% of the total), Holland (13.24%) and France (12, 38%), and ahead of countries such as Italy (8.44%) and United Kingdom (7.33%), among others.

The aggregate analysis of the 2019 data, adding the results of the six calls already closed (2014-2019) during the six years that the Health Challenge in Horizon 2020 has been in force, confirms the Spanish success. In these six calls, the total financing obtained by the Spanish groups has been almost 265 million euros, a figure that, on the amount granted to the entire EU (2,788 million), leaves Spain with returns of 9.44%.

Gonzalo Arévalo summarizes the improvement of Spanish results: "The data not only reflects that the Spanish agenda successfully incorporates the possibility of obtaining European financing for its R&D in health, but also the ability to lead the projects". The deputy director of the ISCIII adds the importance of the Spanish National Health System "being confirmed as the main tractor force of participation and coordination. In addition, we must not forget that the call for 2020, which was opened this summer and that puts similar amounts on the table, again in the form of potential international research projects", he concludes.

More information:

- Horizon Europe Course, new research and innovation program: challenges and opportunities. Santander, International University Menendez Pelayo (UIMP), from Tuesday 10th to Thursday 12th.

- Presentation day of the 2020 calls for Horizon 2020, Health Challenge, Demographic Change and Welfarer. Madrid, September 20.