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Call: Prevention of obesity throughout the life course

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Programme
Acronym HORIZON-HLTH-STAYHLTH
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 1 - Destination 1: Staying healthy in a rapidly changing society"

Calls for proposals under this destination are directed towards the Key Strategic Orientation KSO-D ‘Creating a more resilient, inclusive and democratic European society’ of Horizon Europe’s Strategic Plan 2021-2024. Research and innovation supported under this destination should contribute to the impact area ‘Good health and high-quality accessible health care’ and in particular to the following expected impact, set out in the Strategic Plan for the health cluster: ‘citizens of all ages stay healthy and independent in a rapidly changing society thanks to healthier lifestyles and behaviours, healthier diets, healthier environments, improved evidence-based health policies, and more effective solutions for health promotion and disease prevention’. In addition, research and innovation supported under this destination could also contribute to the following impact areas: ‘High quality digital services for all’, ‘Sustainable food systems from farm to fork on land and sea’, and ‘Climate change mitigation and adaptation’.

People´s health care needs are different, depending on their age, stage of life and socio-economic background. Their physical and mental health and well-being can be influenced by their individual situation as well as the broader societal context they are living in. Furthermore, health education and behaviour are important factors. Currently, more than 790 000 deaths per year in Europe are due to risk factors such as smoking, drinking, physical inactivity, and obesity. Upbringing, income, education levels, social and gender aspects also have an impact on health risks and how disease can be prevented. Moreover, people´s health can be impacted by a rapidly changing society, making it challenging to keep pace and find its way through new technological tools and societal changes, which both are increasing demands on the individual´s resilience. In order to leave no one behind, to reduce health inequalities and to support healthy and active lives for all, it is crucial to provide suitable and tailor-made solutions, including for people with specific needs.

In this work programme, destination 1 will focus on major societal challenges that are part of the European Commission’s political priorities, notably diet and health (obesity), ageing and demographic change, mental health, digital empowerment in health literacy, and personalised prevention. Research and innovation supported under this destination will provide new evidences, methodologies and tools for understanding the transition from health to disease. This will allow designing better strategies and personalised tools for preventing diseases and promoting health, including through social innovation approaches. Specific measures will also be developed to educate and empower citizens of all ages and throughout their life, to play an active role in the self-management of their own health and self-care, to the benefit of an active and healthy ageing. In 2022, it will also call for proposals for improving the availability and use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools to predict the risk for onset and progression of chronic diseases. Key to achieving the expected impacts is the availability and accessibility of health data from multiple sources, including real-world health data, which will require appropriate support by research and data infrastructures, AI-based solutions, and robust and transparent methodologies for analysis and reporting.

Dialogue and coordination between stakeholders and policy makers as well as integration across different settings will be needed to develop more effective cross-sectoral solutions for health promotion and disease prevention and deliver improved evidence-based health for all.

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 2 “Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society” such as on health inequalities, on other inequalities affecting health, or on citizens’ behaviour and engagement; with cluster 4 “Digital, Industry and Space” such as on digital tools, telemedicine or smart homes; with cluster 5 “Climate, Energy and Mobility” such as on urban health or on mitigating the impact of road traffic accidents and related injuries; with cluster 6 “Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment” such as on the role of nutrition for health (incl. human microbiome, mal- and over-nutrition, safe food), personalised diets (incl. food habits in general and childhood obesity in particular) and the impact of food-related environmental stressors on human health (incl. marketing and consumer habits).[[Strategic Plan 2021-2024 of Horizon Europe, Annex I, Table 2.]]

Expected impacts:

Proposals for topics under this destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to staying healthy in a rapidly changing society, and more specifically to one or several of the following impacts:

  • Citizens adopt healthier lifestyles and behaviours, make healthier choices and maintain longer a healthy, independent and active life with a reduced disease burden, including at old ages or in other vulnerable stages of life.
  • Citizens are able and empowered to manage better their own physical and mental health and well-being, monitor their health, and interact with their doctors and health care providers.
  • Citizens´ trust in knowledge-based health interventions and in guidance from health authorities is strengthened, including through improved health literacy (including at young ages), resulting in increased engagement in and adherence to effective strategies for health promotion, diseases prevention and treatment, including increased vaccination rates and patient safety.

Health policies and actions for health promotion and disease prevention are knowledge-based, people-centred and thus targeted and tailored to citizens' needs, and designed to reduce health inequalities.

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Call
Prevention of obesity throughout the life course
Description of call
"Prevention of obesity throughout the life course"

Expected Outcome

  • Researchers, developers of medical interventions, and health care professionals have a much better understanding of basic biological pathways (genetic and epigenetic blueprints) conferring susceptibility to and protecting against overweight/obesity, i.e. how genetic, epigenetic, environmental, socio-economic and lifestyle factors interact to drive or prevent the transition from normal weight to overweight/obesity throughout the life course.
  • Health care professionals, national/regional/local public authorities and other relevant actors (e.g. schools, canteens, hospitals, work places, shopping malls, sport centres):
    • Have access to, adopt and implement evidence-based clinical guidelines, best practices, coordinated, pan-European, multidisciplinary preventive strategies, policy recommendations and/or new policies to fight overweight/obesity and their co-morbidities throughout the life course.
    • Have access to and make use of a robust outcomes framework and tool-kit for standardised collection of economic and cost data related to the prevention and treatment of overweight/obesity and its co-morbidities at population level across European regions and countries.
    • Adopt and implement tailor-made prevention campaigns to tackle overweight/obesity, including campaigns for improving integration of health education into academic learning and raising awareness of health care providers and citizens.
  • Citizens have access to and make use of new tools and services to make informed decisions about lifestyle choices that will prevent them from becoming overweight/obese.

Scope:

Obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Although health has improved in the EU over the last decades, the prevalence of obesity has tripled in many countries of the EU. It is known that once individuals become overweight or obese, they are at risk of developing related diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer). Overweight and obesity are largely preventable. In the current pandemic, the issue of overweight/obesity has become even more prominent, highlighting the need for prevention of overweight/obesity.

Increased efforts in research and innovation are critical for developing and testing the impact of tools, initiatives, interventions, strategies, programmes, policies and their implementation to prevent overweight/obesity. The use of best practices, harmonisation guidelines and/or standard operating procedures, developed at various levels (from local to national) in the EU and beyond, will be the foundation for new research.

Cultural diversity, urban/rural dichotomy, socio-economic status, age groups, sex and gender differences should be investigated, where relevant. Strong collaborations across sectors and with other European projects dealing with issues such as agriculture, aquaculture, food, environment, etc. are welcome. Proposals should engage citizens, civil society organisations (e.g. employers/employee organisations, charities), authorities (e.g. municipalities and health authorities) and institutions (schools, canteens, hospitals, work places, shopping malls, sport centres), local producers, etc. in the development of their actions to ensure acceptability and deployment. Proposals should aim to develop scientifically robust and transparent methodologies, building on achievements from previous research activities.

Proposals should address several of the following research bottlenecks:

  • A comprehensive understanding of biological pathways (genetic, epigenetic, molecular, microbiome, and/or neuroimmune) conferring susceptibility to and protecting against uncontrolled “weight gain".
  • Identification of socio-economic and lifestyle factors influencing consumer behaviour and their association to overweight/obesity prevention.
  • Identification of pre-obesity biomarkers (genetic, laboratory, imaging, etc.) and their association to lifestyle and environmental interventions aiming at obesity prevention and tailored to specific target populations.
  • Mapping existing implementation research activities to prevent overweight/obesity, outcome analyses and identification of best practices.
  • Conducting a thorough meta-review of information from available scientific literature and identification of the relationship between the risk for overweight/obesity and the biology of obesity, lifestyle habits, exposures, susceptibility to co-morbidities and/or all of their combinations.
  • Developing recommendations and guidelines for what constitutes an appropriate healthy diet for different age and health groups.
  • Understanding the causal links between overweight/obesity and sedentary behaviour, quality and quantity and types of food/drinks, physical activity, and personality traits.
  • Designing a creative and engaging programme to reach the optimal balance between diets and physical activity for the prevention of overweight/obesity.
  • Analysing obesity stigma, stress and work-life balance, circadian rhythm disruption, mental health (including psychological problems), screen-time dependency, drugs and side effect of drugs, for the prevention of overweight/obesity.
  • Addressing inequality aspects of overweight/obesity at multiple levels, taking into account vulnerable groups, gender and socio-economic factors.
  • Setting up pilots to assess the effectiveness of obesity management strategies, including cost-effectiveness, and analyse the impact of inactions, taking into account co-morbidities and value-based care system.
  • Developing a system for monitoring population indicators relevant to overweight/obesity by extending European Core Health Indicators.

Proposals should adopt a patient-centred approach that empowers patients, promotes a culture of dialogue and openness between health professionals, patients and their families, and unleashes the potential of social innovation.

Proposals could consider the involvement of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) whose contribution could consists of providing added-value regarding aspects of healthier school environments, effectiveness of policies influencing food preferences as well as improving the food offer and food environment.

All projects funded under this topic are strongly encouraged to participate in networking and joint activities, as appropriate. These networking and joint activities could, for example, involve the participation in joint workshops, the exchange of knowledge, the development and adoption of best practices, or joint communication activities. This could also involve networking and joint activities with projects funded under other clusters and pillars of Horizon Europe, or other EU programmes, as appropriate. Therefore, proposals are expected to include a budget for the attendance to regular joint meetings and may consider to cover the costs of any other potential joint activities without the prerequisite to detail concrete joint activities at this stage. The details of these joint activities will be defined during the grant agreement preparation phase. In this regard, the Commission may take on the role of facilitator for networking and exchanges, including with relevant stakeholders, if appropriate.

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Thematic Focus Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Health, Social Affairs, Sports, Equal Rights, Human Rights, People with Disabilities, Social Inclusion, Community Integration, European Citizenship, Shared Services, Administration & Governance
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.
Call opens 06.10.2021
Call closes 01.02.2022
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

  • 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
This call is subject of a two-stage procedure. In the first stage, applicants will be requested to submit only an outline application.

Page limit - part B: 45 pages - The limit for a first-stage application is 10 pages.
Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 10.00 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 60.00 million.
Typ of ActionResearch and Innovation Actions
Funding rate100%
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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