The data has been generated from an online webbased database of competences, supported through an EU specific support action.The project has been implemented by AVEDAS AG, Germany, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and EuropaBio, Belgium.
It contains all the health related projects funded by the EU during the last Research Framework Programme, as well as the principal organisations participating in these projects. The aim of this database is to increase transparency and accessibility of research competences in Europe, both for Europeans (in a recent Eurobarometer, 70% of them expressed their interest in health research) but also for other nationalities interested in participating in the European Health Research effort.
In the European Research Programme going from 2001 to 2006 (FP6), the part of the programme focussing on health research was major with its budget of € 2.4 billion supporting 680 projects. It was shared between different research areas with about 50% of the projects and budget dedicated to disease oriented research areas. Cancer is the area receiving most support with 123 projects, about 18 % of projects partly or entirely focussed on cancer, with 22 % of the budget (€ 539 million). Other important research areas are AIDS/HIV, Stem Cell Research, Diabetes, Diagnostics, Vaccines and Drug design.
An important policy in the EU is to support competitiveness by encouraging cooperation of academia and clinicians with industry, and especially with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Out of 2.438 unique partners in health research projects, 853 are from the private sector, of which 365 SMEs (15%). It means that around 20 % of the total number of SMEs in the Health sector are participating in the EU programme. The majority of partners in the programme are academic.
Another important policy in European research is international cooperation. Participation from countries outside Europe and its associated states represents about 5% of partners of health projects. The highest number of participations are from China, Russia, US and South Africa. Within Europe, about 6% of the partners are from the 12 new EU-member states and 7% of the partners are from the states associated to the EU with science and technology cooperation agreements that involved contributing to the framework programme budget.
It is expected that the 'LifeCompetence' database will have many positive implications for the Health research society in Europe and for worldwide cooperations, e.g. increased knowledge transfer, better partnerships and more efficient management of research programmes and research organisations, as well as providing a transparent information on the resources invested in funding health research at the European level.
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