What is the Innovative Health Initiative?
The Innovative Health Initiative Joint Undertaking (IHI JU) is a public-private partnership between the European Union, represented by the European Commission, and several health industries from the biopharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology sectors.
These industries are represented by:
- COCIR (medical imaging, radiotherapy, health ICT and electromedical industries)
- EFPIA, including Vaccines Europe (pharmaceutical industry and vaccine industry)
- EuropaBio (biotechnology industry)
- MedTech Europe (medical technology industry)
IHI brings together diverse stakeholders (universities, companies large and small, and other health stakeholders) in collaborative projects that address disease areas where there is a high burden on patients and/or society.
The initiative focuses on cross-sectoral projects supporting the development of safe, effective, people-centred and cost-effective products and services that target key unmet public health needs.
It supports collaboration in the pre-competitive space, so final product development and placing on the market is not among its core objectives.
IHI is the successor of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), the world’s largest public-private collaboration in life sciences. IMI projects that are still running will continue to be managed under IHI.
Objectives of IHI
IHI intends to turn health research and innovation into innovations that serve patients and society while ensuring that Europe remains at the cutting edge of interdisciplinary, sustainable, patient-centric health research.
IHI’s objectives and activities are laid down by its founding legislation - Council Regulation (EU) 2021/2085 establishing Joint Undertakings under Horizon Europe, and by the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda.
IHI’s objectives are set out in the legislation creating IHI.
Their general objectives are to:
- turn health research and innovation into real benefits for patients and society
- deliver safe, effective health innovations that cover the entire spectrum of care – from prevention to diagnosis and treatment – particularly in areas where there is an unmet public health need
- make Europe’s health industries globally competitive
The legislation also includes specific objectives.
- Improve understanding of the determinants of health and priority disease areas
- Integrate fragmented health research and innovation efforts by bringing together health industry sectors and other stakeholders. This will enable the development of tools, data, platforms, technologies and processes for improved prediction, prevention, interception, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases, focusing on unmet public health needs.
- Demonstrate the feasibility of people-centred integrated health care solutions
- Exploit the full potential of digitalisation and data exchange in health care
- Enable the development of new and improved methodologies and models for a comprehensive assessment of the added value of innovative and integrated health care solutions
Reaching the objectives
To reach these ambitious objectives, IHI projects will focus on tasks such as:
- discovery of new molecules, mechanisms of action, processes, technologies
- development and testing of these discoveries
- development of methodologies for the assessment of safety, health outcomes, or for health-economic evaluation
- pre-standardisation activities
- contributions to regulatory science
- pilots / proofs of feasibility, including virtual trials
IHI activities can cover a wide range of disease conditions and span from disease prevention, treatment, and monitoring through to disease management.
More specific thematic areas will be determined based on the burden of the disease for patients and society due to its severity, or the number of people affected, and on the economic impact of the disease for patients and society.
When not focused on a single disease condition, the choice of future areas will also depend on the extent to which project results could have a transformational impact on innovation processes.
IHI is funded jointly by the European Union (represented by the European Commission) and life science industries. The total budget for IHI for the period 2021-2027 is €2.4 billion.
- €1.2 billion comes from Horizon Europe, the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation.
- €1 billion will come from the IHI industry partners (represented by COCIR, EFPIA / Vaccines Europe, EuropaBio, MedTech Europe).
- €200 million will come from other life science industries or associations that decide to contribute to IHI as contributing partners.
Recipients of IHI funding
Most organisations established in the EU or a country associated to Horizon Europe are eligible to receive IHI funding.
In practice, IHI funding primarily supports the participation in its projects of organisations like universities, research organisations, patient organisations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and mid-sized companies.
Depending on the type of call for proposals, large companies may also be eligible to receive IHI funding. Details of who can receive funding is spelt out in the call texts.
Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda:
Legislation setting up IHI: Council Regulation (EU) 2021/2085 establishing the Joint Undertakings under Horizon Europe
Information on IHI potential future call themes
- News article
The Innovative Health Initiative Joint Undertaking (IHI JU) looking for an Executive Director
IHI seeks an ‘outstanding and dynamic professional’ with top leadership, scientific and people skills to take on the role of Executive Director
- News article
The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is launching the last Calls for proposals under the IMI2 programme
Topics covered will be: tackling cancer through AI, antimicrobial resistance, neurodegenerative diseases, rare disease diagnosis and more
- Konferenser och toppmöten
Introducing the Innovative Health Initiative: Europe’s new partnership for health
- 26 januari 2022
- Brussels, Belgium