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Access to research & innovation at risk in the next EU research programme

By 12 December 2018No Comments

12 December 2018

Civil society organisations working on access to medicines have published a reaction to the European Parliament’s position on Horizon Europe, the next EU research and innovation framework programme.

The Parliament’s own report on Horizon 2020 and FP9, which stressed the “need for sufficient transparency, traceability and a fair level of public return on investment… in terms of affordability, availability and the suitability of end products, and particularly in some sensitive areas such as health, safeguarding the public interest and equitable social impact”. However, we find that the European Parliament has failed to champion its own recommendations to ensure public return on public investment for publicly funded R&I that could address public health needs, and has weakened some key commitments.

We note with concern that open access has been undermined by the European Parliament; access principles will not be applied to biomedical R&I; transparency and traceability of public funding have not been ensured; measures to encourage socially responsible licensing were not supported; and the link between the definition of societal impact and the SDGs remains weak.

Jill McArdle, EU Advocacy Officer at Global Health Advocates, said:

“We are disappointed that the Parliament did not ensure that the considerable public investment that is Horizon Europe will deliver return and benefits for society. It has taken a worrying step back on open access and declined to promote further access to the results of biomedical R&I. EU research and innovation is a public good and should deliver benefits for society, yet Horizon Europe will fail to ensure that potential new products will be accessible, available and affordable for EU citizens.”


  • In June 2018, the European Commission launched its proposal for the next EU research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe, set to begin in 2021 and run for 7 years with a budget of almost 100 billion euros.
  • On Wed 12 Dec 2018, the European Parliament voted to confirm its position on the Regulation and Specific Programme for the next EU research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe., ahead of negotiations with the Council of the European Union.

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