July 2019

Avicenna Monthly Newsletter 

Key highlights

  • During this month the Commission has opened three public consultations thus to gather input on:
    • The Strategic Plan that will outline the policy priorities and targeted impacts of the investments for the first four years of implementation of Horizon Europe (2021-2024): link, deadline 8 September 2019.
    • A roadmap on the European Partnership for Innovative Health, aiming to provide a collaborative platform for pre-competitive research and innovation: link, deadline 27 August 2019.
    • The implementation strategy for Horizon Europe (2021-2027), setting out how the programme will be managed in practice: link, deadline 15 September.
Policy Updates
Developments on German EU Council Presidency 

In one year, in July 2020, Germany will take over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU and the Federal Health Ministry has already shared its health priorities, which include digitalisation, artificial intelligence and big data. Since preparations are at the early beginning, the Ministry is interested in including stakeholders’ views and ideas (participative approach). It is hence possible to raise awareness about topics not yet mentioned by the Ministry, as well as specific interests linked to the above-mentioned topics. Therefore, this could lead to shifts in the agenda.
Visit the Avicenna website to read the full article on the Germany Presidency’s developments.

Commission launches call for proposals to develop AI Excellence Centres

On 12 July, the European Commission has launched a call for proposals to develop a European network of artificial intelligence (AI) centres. Proposals for the call may be submitted up till 13 November 2019.
The call articulates in two actions: first, through research and innovation to mobilize the best researchers into networks of excellence research centres that will reach a critical mass on key AI topics, and second, through coordination and support, which aims to foster exchange between the selected projects and other relevant initiatives.
The Commission’s emphasis on establishing cooperation between industry and the public sector demonstrates that the EU recognizes the potential industry retains to collect and organize data in order to feed AI systems. The specific focus on academia may highlight a mechanism that facilitates the synergy between the private and public sector as the academic environment can engage both the public and private sector in developing AI specific projects. 
For more information, please visit the Avicenna website.

Ursula Von der Leyen confirmed EU Commission President - insights on health

On 16 July Ursula Von der Leyen (Germany, European People’s Party) was confirmed as first female European Commission President. Ms. Von der Leyen is a physician by training and during her first speech to the European Parliament she declared that health is a basic human right. Her vision will probably shape the foreseen health files in this mandate (2019-2024). She has also promised a full implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, under which she foresees a clear focus on health, and particularly on cancer.

In the next weeks Ms. Von der Leyen will begin to build her work programme and building a team of Commissioners to execute it. She has called on Member States to put forward their ‘best candidates’ and it would not be surprising for Ms. Von der Leyen to again look for a healthcare professional to take the role of Health Commissioner.

Have your say on shaping the way Horizon Europe is implemented

By the end of the year the European Commission will publish an implementation strategy for Horizon Europe (2021-2027), setting out how the programme will be managed in practice. In order to improve the entire project management cycle, the Commission has just opened a survey asking for opinions on how to improve the implementation phase. 
Where can Horizon Europe be simplify further? What should the legal documents, processes and tools for the programme look like?

To participate you can follow this link - deadline is 15 September 2019. The results will be published in occasion of the European Research and Innovation Days on 24-26 September 2019.


Commission publishes roadmap on European Partnership for innovative health to collect feedback

On 30 July, the European Commission published a roadmap open for feedback on the European Partnership for Innovative Health included under the Health Cluster of Horizon Europe. The consultation is open until 27 August and is addressed to individuals and organisations with an interest in the future EU R&I priorities. In the roadmap, the Commission describes the problem to be tackled and objectives to be met, explains why EU action is needed, outlines policy options and describes the main features of the consultation strategy.
About the Partnership for Innovative Health
The Innovative Health initiative aims to provide a collaborative platform for pre-competitive research and innovation where small and big companies can join forces with researchers, patients, healthcare professionals and regulators, to speed up the development and uptake of innovation in public health.
Next steps
Feedback will be taken into account for further development and fine-tuning of the initiative. The Commission will summarise the input received in a synopsis report explaining how the input will be taken on board and, if applicable, why certain suggestions can't be taken up.

Commission launches online consultation to shape Horizon Europe 

On 16 July, the European Commission published an orientation paper and launched an online consultation on the strategic priorities of Horizon Europe, the EU next framework programme for research and innovation (R&I). The consultation is open until 8 September and is addressed to individuals and organisations with an interest in the future European R&I priorities.
The results of the consultation are expected to guide the Commission’s work on the Strategic Plan that will outline the policy priorities and targeted impacts of the investments for the first four years of implementation of Horizon Europe (2021-2024).
We recommend the Avicenna Alliance members to take part in the online consultation and provide feedback on the Commission’s orientation paper in preparation for its Strategic Plan. This is again an opportunity to stress the need for funding of CM&S technology for the upcoming four years under Horizon Europe. More information can be found on the Avicenna website.

International News
Dassault to enhance clinical tech with Medidata acquisition

Dassault Systèmes acquired U.S.-based Medidata, major player in information technologies for clinical trials, for $ 5.5 billion. This represents to date the largest buyout in the emerging area of in silico medicine and in silico trials and "a significant milestone to address the complexity of developing personalised medicine and patient-centric experiences".

It is expected that with the acquisition of Medidata, Dassault Systèmes will reinforce its position as a science-based company by providing the Life Sciences industry with an integrated business experience platform for an end-to-end approach to research and discovery, development, clinical testing, manufacturing and commercialization of new therapies and health technologies.

French business paper 'Les Echos' publishes article on digital twins

The French businesspaper ‘les Echos’ published an article on digital twins on 9 July, announcing that digital twins are promising to be the next health care revolution. This represents an important step in the recognition of computer modeling and simulation among the French-speaking industry and healthcare community where just a few years ago the topic was a relative unknown in less specialised circles.
Among the cited SMEs investing in CM&S solutions, we are very proud to note that the Novadiscovery’ work, Member of the Avicenna Alliance, is featured alongside TheraPanacea, a spin-off of Inria and CentraleSupélec, which tests on digital patients the effectiveness of radiotherapy protocol for the treatment of cancers.
We largely invite French speaking Avicenna Members to share this article via twitter or LinkedIn!

Funding Opportunities
EuroHPC Joint Undertaking launches first research and innovation calls

On 29 July, the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC) has launched calls for proposals to fund research and innovation activities to help Europe to remain globally competitive in the field of supercomputing. The total budget of the work plan for 2019 will be €190 million (50% provided by the EU, and 50% by the participating countries).

The calls launched by EuroHPC, which will support research and innovation activities by European research stakeholders in the following areas:

  1. Extreme scale computing and data driven technologies
  2. HPC and data-centric environments and application platforms
  3. Industrial software codes for extreme scale computing environments and applications
  4. HPC Competence Centres
  5. Stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs

The EuroHPC JU aims to acquire by 2022-2023 exascale supercomputers, capable of 1018 operations per second, with at least one based on European HPC technology.
For more details about the level of matching funds of the EuroHPC Participating States and corresponding national eligibility conditions check the Annex to the EuroHPC Workplan 2019.

EU invests €35 million to develop AI solutions for cancer prevention, diagnostics and treatment
On 9 July, the European Commission has launched a call for proposal with €35 million available aimed to support the development of analysis of health images for cancer diagnostics based on Artificial Intelligence (AI). This news is of particular interest for Avicenna Members, who are active in the oncology sector. For those who would be interested, the deadline for submission is 13 November 2019, at 17:00 Brussels time.
The call is part of the Horizon 2020 programme, through which the Commission is investing a total of €177 million on the 'Digital Transformation of Health and Care' and 'Trusted digital solutions and Cybersecurity in Health and Care'.
For more information, please consult the Commission’s Funding and Tender opportunities webpage here.

Events and Webinars
Webinar on Health in the Horizon Europe Programme outcomes

On 31 July, the EU Health Policy Platform of the European Commission (DG SANTE), organised a Webinar on Health in the Horizon Europe Programme.

During this webinar, DG SANTE introduced the Horizon Europe Programme and its Strategic Plan that will set out key strategic orientations for the support to research and innovation, including a description of targeted impacts, cross-cluster issues and intervention areas covered.

The Commission officials explained that DG SANTE and DG RTD, both leading the implementation of Horizon Europe, are willing to implement a co-design process. In this context, they heavily encouraged attendees to participate in:

  1. the online consultation on the strategic priorities of Horizon Europe that was launched earlier this month in parallel with the publication of the orientation paper (deadline 8 September);
  2. the Research & Innovation Days – R&I Days, that will take place in Brussels on 24, 25 and 26 September 2019 in Brussels at the Centre Pompidou.

Third important opportunity to speak up
More importantly, the Commission informed us that due to the high demand to attend the R&I Days, DG SANTE was willing to hold parallel sessions (called as “Village”), during which they will organise exchanges around pre-identified topics but also themes suggested by external stakeholders. Among the specific sessions, there will be one on "Personalised Medicine and the Regional Dynamic”.

No specific information on the “Village” is publicly available yet, however the Commission officials told the Avicenna Secretariat that the meetings with the Commission’s representatives would be organised in 15-20 minutes sessions with around 10 participants.

Next steps: More information will be available beginning of September on the possibility of having a discussion with the Commission at the R&I Days. Therefore the Avicenna Secretariat will liaise directly with the representatives who led the webinar in order to have the chance to meet them in September at the R&I days.

EIT Digital Conference  'For A Strong Digital Europe'

On the 10 September, the EIT Digital, a leading European digital innovation and entrepreneurial education organisation, organises the 4th edition of the EIT Digital annual conference that will gather more than 1,000 digital experts and opinion leaders on September 10 at The Egg in Brussels.

Inspiring speakers from politics, industry, research and academia will share their views on Europe’s challenges and opportunities on the global digital market, ground-breaking digital deep tech innovations and live demos will be on display at the Innovators’ Village. Participants usually look for new collaboration and business partners in more than 500 matchmaking sessions.

You can watch the trailer to know more about the conference, and consult the agenda here and speakers’ bios here. If interested, registrations are open here (free of charge). Address of the day: Bara Street 175, 1070 Brussels, Belgium
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