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Call: Personalised blueprint of chronic inflammation in health-to-disease transition

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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
Personalised blueprint of chronic inflammation in health-to-disease transition
Description of call
"Personalised blueprint of chronic inflammation in health-to-disease transition"

Expected Outcome

  • Researchers and medical professionals understand the chronic inflammation factors triggering the health-to-disease transition and subsequently provide optimal counselling to citizens for improving their health.
  • Health care professionals have access to and employ objective health indicators of chronic inflammation for monitoring the health status, establishing personalised prevention measures and improving the health outcomes for citizens.
  • Health care professionals have the scientific evidence and understanding of health-to-disease transition to develop and use improved guidelines for personalised prevention strategies to tackle chronic diseases.
  • Citizens are better informed to actively manage their own health, have the tools to maintain their healthy status, improve their health and reduce their risk for developing chronic diseases.

Scope:

Personalised approaches for disease prevention seek to determine the predisposition to disease and deliver timely and targeted prevention measures. Understanding the risk factors that trigger the health-to-disease transition is essential for delivering personalized prevention measures or reducing the burden of chronic diseases.

A large body of clinical evidence has accumulated over the past decade demonstrating that chronic inflammation is a process implicated in chronic diseases/disorders. Inflammatory response is a physiological process helping the body to heal against harmful entities, but when dysregulated it could lead to unresolved chronic local or systemic inflammation. The later in combination with the person’s genotype, phenotype, medical history, nutritional and well-being status, life-style and/or occupational/environmental/life stressors is likely to be involved in driving the health-to-disease transition, leading to the onset of chronic diseases.

Proposals should be of multidisciplinary nature involving all relevant stakeholders and may cover several different stages in the continuum of the innovation path (from translational research to validation of the findings in human studies etc.), as relevant.

Proposals are expected to develop and implement data-driven, personalised approaches to identify the drivers of chronic inflammation that may determine the transition from health to pre-symptomatic and early stages of chronic diseases/disorders. The topic does not exclude any diseases/disorders. The human studies and human data utilised/generated should be compatible to an age range as representative as possible to the pre-disease phase and onset of the disease to be studied, in order to boost the fast translation of the research results into proof-of-concept studies.

Proposals should develop personalised diagnosis and/or prevention strategies linked to chronic systemic/local inflammation and assess the effects of different types of interventions and/or their combinations i.e. pharmacological, non-pharmacological, nutritional supplements, diet and life-style modifications, as relevant. Sex and gender differences should be investigated, wherever relevant.

The proposals should address several of the following areas:

  • Integrate state-of-the-art knowledge and data from suitable human studies (i.e. medical/clinical, well-being, life-style etc.) to identify actionable factors linking chronic systemic and/or local inflammation to the health-to-disease transition. Take stock of omics (i.e. genomics, metabolomics, nutrigenomics, microbiomics etc.), of dynamic measurements of the health and well-being status, and of data-driven analytical tools in order to identify biomarkers and other health indicators linked to the health-to-disease transition.
  • Understand at the systems-level the human biology and physiology underlying chronic inflammation in connection to the tissues/organ dysregulation, organ cross-talk and homeostasis breakdown triggering the health-to-disease transition, taking into account the person’s genotype, phenotype, medical history, nutritional and well-being status, life-style and/or occupational/environmental/life stressors.
  • Develop and deploy robust sensors, devices and/or mobile apps and other innovative technologies to monitor dynamically the individual’s health status and to identify objective indicators of chronic inflammation correlative to the health-to-disease transition.
  • Implement proof-of-concept human studies to assess the beneficial effect of diverse prevention and/or interventions strategies with the aim to demonstrate improved health outcomes.
  • Test suitable interventions with the aim to demonstrate the reduction and/or reversion of the pre-disease state linked to chronic systemic and/or local inflammation.

Proposals should adopt a patient-centred approach to inform and empower patients, promote a culture of dialogue and openness between health professionals, patients and their families, and unleash the potential for social innovation.

The proposals should adhere to the FAIR[1] data principles and adopt wherever relevant, data standards and data sharing/access good practices developed by existing European health research infrastructures.

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 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 50.00 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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