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Call: New methods for the effective use of real-world data and/or synthetic data in regulatory decision-making and/or in health technology assessment

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Programme
Acronym HORIZON-HLTH-TOOL
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 1 - Destination 5: Unlocking the full potential of new tools, technologies and digital solutions for a healthy society"

Calls for proposals under this destination are directed towards the Key Strategic Orientation KSO-A ‘Promoting an open strategic autonomy by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies, sectors and value chains’ of Horizon Europe’s Strategic Plan 2021-2024. Research and innovation supported under this destination should contribute to the impact area ‘High quality digital services for all’ and in particular to the following expected impact, set out in the Strategic Plan for the health cluster: ‘Health technologies, new tools and digital solutions are applied effectively thanks to their inclusive, secure and ethical development, delivery, integration and deployment in health policies and health and care systems’. In addition, research and innovation supported under this destination could also contribute to the following impact areas: ‘A competitive and secure data-economy’, ‘Industrial leadership in key and emerging technologies that work for people’, and ‘Good health and high-quality accessible health care’.

Technology is a key driver for innovation in the health care sector. It can provide better and more cost-efficient solutions with high societal impact, tailored to the specific health care needs of the individual. However, novel tools, therapies, technologies and digital approaches face specific barriers and hurdles in piloting, implementing and scaling-up before reaching the patient, encountering additional challenges such as public acceptance and trust. Emerging and disruptive technologies offer big opportunities for transforming health care, thereby promoting the health and well-being of citizens. Unlocking this potential and harnessing the opportunities depends on the capacity to collect, integrate and interpret large amounts of data, as well as ensure compatibility with appropriate regulatory frameworks and infrastructures that will both safeguard the rights of the individual and of society and stimulate innovation to develop impactful solutions. In addition to existing European Research Infrastructures, the European Health Data Space will promote health-data exchange and facilitate cross-border research activities. This destination aims to promote the development of tools, technologies and digital solutions for treatments, medicines, medical devices and improved health outcomes, taking into consideration safety, effectiveness, appropriateness, accessibility, comparative value-added and fiscal sustainability as well as issues of ethical, legal and regulatory nature.

In view of increasing the impact of EU investments under Horizon Europe, the European Commission welcomes and supports cooperation between EU-funded projects to enable cross-fertilisation and other synergies. This could range from networking to joint activities such as the participation in joint workshops, the exchange of knowledge, the development and adoption of best practices, or joint communication activities. Opportunities for potential synergies exist between projects funded under the same topic but also between other projects funded under another topic, cluster or pillar of Horizon Europe (but also with ongoing projects funded under Horizon 2020). In particular, this could involve projects related to European health research infrastructures (under pillar I of Horizon Europe), the EIC strategic challenges on health and EIT-KIC Health (under pillar III of Horizon Europe) or in areas cutting across the health and other clusters (under pillar II of Horizon Europe). For instance, with cluster 4 “Digital, Industry and Space” such as on digitalisation of the health sector, incl. health technologies, medical devices and key enabling technologies; assisted, autonomous, independent and empowered living; smart homes; decision support systems; health impact assessment (e.g. related to consumer products, working place innovation).

Expected Impacts

Proposals for topics under this destination should set out a credible pathway towards unlocking the full potential of new tools, technologies and digital solutions for a healthy society, and more specifically to several of the following expected impacts:

  • Europe’s scientific and technological expertise and know-how, its capabilities for innovation in new tools, technologies and digital solutions, and its ability to take-up, scale-up and integrate innovation in health care is world-class.
  • Citizens benefit from targeted and faster research resulting in safer, more efficient, cost-effective and affordable tools, technologies and digital solutions for improved (personalised) disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring for better patient outcome and well-being, in particular through increasingly shared health resources (interoperable data, infrastructure, expertise, citizen/patient driven co-creation).[[Commission Communication on the digital transformation of health and care; COM(2018) 233 final.]]
  • The EU gains high visibility and leadership in terms of health technology development, including through international cooperation.
  • The burden of diseases in the EU and worldwide is reduced through the development and integration of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, personalised medicine approaches, digital and other people-centred solutions for health care.
  • Both the productivity of health research and innovation, and the quality and outcome of health care is improved thanks to the use of health data and innovative analytical tools, such as artificial intelligence (AI) supported decision-making, in a secure and ethical manner, respecting individual integrity and underpinned with public acceptance and trust.

Citizens trust and support the opportunities offered by innovative technologies for health care, based on expected health outcomes and potential risks involved.

Link Link to Programme
Call
New methods for the effective use of real-world data and/or synthetic data in regulatory decision-making and/or in health technology assessment
Description of call
"New methods for the effective use of real-world data and/or synthetic data in regulatory decision-making and/or in health technology assessment"

Expected Outcome

  • Health regulatory bodies and/or Health Technology Assessment (HTA) bodies adopt optimised data-driven methodologies for the effective use of real-world data (including omics data), and/or synthetic data derived from digital twins and advanced computational methods (such as modelling and simulation or approaches based on machine learning/AI), for the assessment of medicinal products and/or digital health innovations.
  • Health regulatory authorities and bodies (e.g. medicines agencies, HTA bodies, notified bodies for medical devices) use optimised guidelines for the development and assessment of medicinal products and/or medical devices including digital health innovations.
  • Health regulatory authorities and bodies across Europe are trained in data-driven decision making using emerging data types.

Scope:

With the emerging use of real-world data (RWD) and synthetic data by the pharmaceutical industry and medical devices industry, regulators and HTA bodies need to perform targeted validation of claims through independent analysis. The principal aim of this topic is to address the data needs of health regulatory bodies and HTA bodies across the EU, as outlined in the recently published “HMA-EMA Joint Big Data Taskforce Phase II report: ‘Evolving Data-Driven Regulation’” and its associated DARWIN (Data Analysis and Real World Interrogation Network) project.

To harness the potential of RWD and synthetic data from digital twins and advanced analytical models, and make them actionable for health regulatory decision-making and for health technology assessment, targeted research is needed on the evidentiary value of these data for a number of relevant use cases. In addition, methods need to be developed to increase the usability of such data by different stakeholder groups. Doing so will contribute to the European Health Data Space and maximise the positive impact of DARWIN in driving up the quality of evidence and decisions on the development and use of medicines and digital health innovations.

Access to and analysis of RWD and synthetic data can inform regulatory decision-making throughout the product lifecycle, namely: 1) support product development (e.g. scientific advice, PRIME),); 2) support authorisation of new medicines and digital health innovations; and 3) monitor the performance of medicines and digital health innovations on the market (effectiveness and safety). Eventually, this will put in place methods and processes that will enable continuous learning from pre-authorisation procedures and authorisation applications on the use of RWD and/or synthetic data.

Proposals should address all of the following areas:

  • Develop a set of evidentiary standards to be pre-specified and used in the analysis of real-word evidence and/or synthetic data applied to different types of regulatory advice and/or health technology assessment and decisions on the safety and efficacy/effectiveness of medicines and digital health innovations (e.g. in complement to clinical trial data in an authorisation application, or for extension of indications, post marketing surveillance, amendment of product information or regulatory actions on the marketing authorisation due to safety concerns). This includes validating the use of advanced analytical methods for regulatory decision-making and/or health technology assessment.
  • Address aspects that would enable moving towards a standard data quality framework reproducible across different types of RWD and/or synthetic data sources for regulatory decision-making and/or health technology assessment, with a characterisation of the data collection, management and reporting and an empirical data quality validation. In this regard, it will be important that successful proposals liaise with and closely monitor the work carried out in the context of the European Health Data Space.
  • Enhance the performance and efficiency of large randomised clinical trials and new models of clinical trials by developing standardised processes and methods to access RWD and/or synthetic data (e.g., facilitating the detection of various types of health outcomes during the treatment period of a double-blinded trial by linkage to appropriate electronic health care record databases, etc.), for regulatory decision-making and/or health technology assessment.
  • Define methodological standards for the regulatory acceptability of RWD, and/or synthetic data in the context of clinical trials augmented with RWD, and/or synthetic data, for regulatory decision making and/or health technology assessment.
  • Test the ability of machine learning methods to help identify relevant RWD, and/or synthetic data to match with and to interpret clinical trials, for regulatory decision‑making and/or health technology assessment.
  • Assess and validate how machine learning methods can be systematically harnessed to screen a large amount of data, including unstructured data, in many electronic databases to identify factors affecting efficacy and safety of treatments and/or digital health innovations, for regulatory decision-making and/or health technology assessment. The cross-border interoperability dimension should be taken into account.

Proposals should involve researchers who are specialised in the use of real-world data and/or synthetic data to evaluate medicinal products and/or health care digital innovation products and services. Proposals should involve national competent authorities (national health care product regulatory bodies and/or medical device notified bodies) and could involve citizens and patients’ representatives where relevant. Proposals should include capacity-building efforts to address inequalities of health regulatory processes across Europe. This should comprise education and training activities and sharing of best practices.

In addition to national competent authorities, proposals could consider the involvement of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for an added value in order to provide an effective interface between the research activities and regulatory aspects and/or to translate the research results into validated test methods and strategies that would be fit for regulatory purpose.

Proposals could also consider the involvement of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) to provide added-value regarding health registry data, interoperability, harmonisation and quality and linking with other data.

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Health, Social Affairs, Sports, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
United States of America
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
United States of America
Eligible applicants Education and Training Centres, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, National Government, Other, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State;and
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
In recognition of the opening of the US National Institutes of Health’s programmes to European researchers, any legal entity established in the United States of America is eligible to receive Union funding to support its participation in projects funded under the Health cluster.
Call opens 06.10.2021
Call closes 21.04.2022
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit - Part B: 45 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 7.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 35.00 million.
Typ of ActionResearch and Innovation Actions (RIA)
Funding rate100%
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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