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Research and innovation
News article5 November 2020Directorate-General for Research and Innovation3 min read

Coronavirus: €128 million granted on research to address pressing needs and the socio-economic impact of the pandemic

The Commission is supporting 23 new research projects with a total of €128 million to address the continuing coronavirus pandemic and its effects.

The 23 projects involve 344 research teams from 39 countries, including 32 participants from 15 countries outside of the EU. The funding will enable researchers to strengthen and adapt industrial capacity to manufacture and deploy equipment such as ventilators, to prevent and treat coronavirus, to develop medical technologies and digital tools such as portable diagnostic system, to better understand the societal impacts of the pandemic, for example on vulnerable and marginalised groups, and to learn from large groups of patients (cohorts) across Europe in order to improve treatment.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

This research is essential to better address various aspects of this and future pandemics, from the capacity to react more quickly to prevent contagion, to improving diagnosis and treatment, to better mitigation measures that take into account behavioural, social and economic aspects, including gender-related issues.

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, added:

Digital technologies are essential in our response to this sudden and severe health threat. Awarding financial support to these excellent projects which have digital tools and Artificial Intelligence at the heart of their innovative approaches will deliver new solutions to protect healthcare workers, quickly detect and prevent the spread of COVID-19, and improve intensive care – all to contribute to our joint fight against this pandemic.

The funding under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme, is part of the Commission's €1.4 billion pledge to the Coronavirus Global Response initiative, launched by President Ursula von der Leyen in May 2020. With this support, scientists will also be able to study large groups of patients across Europe. These research actions complement earlier efforts to develop diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.

Here are concrete examples of project to achieve these goals

Rapid Repurposing of manufacturing for vital medical supplies and equipment
4 projects - EU funding: € 22.1 million

impure (Injection Moulding Repurposing for Medical Supplies enabled by Additive Manufacturing) is repurposing and digitally transforming plastic, by processing industrial lines for the production of critical medical end products (PPE, ventilator accessories, fingertip pulse oximeter).

Medical technologies, digital tools and Artificial Intelligence analytics to improve surveillance and care at high Technology Readiness Levels 13 projects - EU funding: € 55.2 million

VASCOVID (Portable platform for the assessment of microvascular health in COVID-19 patients at the intensive care) will develop a portable, lightbased diagnostics to support work of intensive care units.

Behavioural, social and economic impacts of the outbreak responses
4 projects - EU funding: € 28 million

COVINFORM (COronavirus Vulnerabilities and INFOrmation dynamics Research and Modelling) will develop solutions, guidelines and recommendations to ensure that the needs of vulnerable and marginalised groups are appropriately considered in potential further waves of COVID-19 and future pandemics.

Pan-European COVID-19 cohorts 1 project - EU funding: € 19.9 million

ORCHESTRA (Connecting European Cohorts to Increase Common and Effective Response to SARSCoV-2 Pandemic) is using large group with similar characteristics to establish differentiated risks, inform on the best treatment and vaccine options and assess impact of mitigating measure on society.

Collaboration of existing EU and international cohorts of relevance to COVID-19
1 project - EU funding: € 3 million

unCoVer (Unravelling Data for Rapid Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19) is networking with 29 partners from 18 EU and international countries with the aim to bring together COVID-19-real-world data, to predict the disease development and to find strategies against the pandemic.


This second emergency request for expressions of interest, launched by the Commission on 19 May 2020 gave researchers just under 4 weeks to prepare collaborative research projects. The research community mobilised rapidly. Research proposals were fast-tracked through evaluation by independent experts on the basis of their scientific excellence and high potential impact. On 11 August, the Commission announced the shortlist of projects for funding. Grant agreements have been finalised and many research teams have already started their work.

Many of the 23 short-listed projects have an international dimension beyond the EU and associated countries, with 32 organisations involved from 15 countries outside of the EU including countries associated to the Horizon 2020 programme (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Israel, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey) and third countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Columbia, Congo, Gabon, Korea, South Africa and the United States).

This new special call under Horizon 2020 complements earlier actions to support 18 projects with €48.2 million to develop diagnostics, treatments, vaccines and preparedness for epidemics.  €117 million were already invested in 8 projects on diagnostics and treatments through the Innovative Medicines Initiative as well asmeasures to support innovative ideas through the European Innovation Council. It implements Action 3 of the ERAvsCorona Action Plan, a working document resulting from dialogues between the Commission and national institutions.

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Publication date
5 November 2020
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation