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Call: Scaling up multi-party computation, data anonymisation techniques, and synthetic data generation

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Programme
Acronym HORIZON-HLTH-IND
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 1 - Destination 6: Maintaining an innovative, sustainable and globally competitive health industry"

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 ‘A competitive and secure data-economy’ and in particular to the following expected impact, set out in the Strategic Plan for the health cluster: ‘EU health industry is innovative, sustainable and globally competitive thanks to improved up-take of breakthrough technologies and innovations, which makes the EU with its Member States more resilient and less dependent from imports with regard to the access to and supply of critical health technologies’. In addition, research and innovation supported under this destination could also contribute to the following impact areas: ‘Industrial leadership in key and emerging technologies that work for people’, ‘High quality digital services for all’, and ‘Good health and high-quality accessible health care’.

The health industry is a key driver for growth and has the capacity to provide health technologies to the benefit of patients and providers of health care services. The relevant value chains involve a broad variety of key players from supply, demand and regulatory sides. In addition, the path of innovation in health is long and complex. The development of novel health technologies is generally associated with uncertainties and market barriers due to expensive and risky development (e.g. attrition rate in pharmaceutical development), high quality and security requirements (e.g. clinical performance, safety, data privacy and cybersecurity) and market specificities (e.g. strong regulation, pricing and reimbursement issues). In addition, the growing concern about environmental issues is putting more pressure on this industry. Therefore, there is a need for research and innovation integrating various stakeholders to facilitate market access of innovative health technologies (medical technologies, pharmaceuticals, biotechnologies, digital health technologies).

In order to address these challenges, in particular green and digital transitions and proper supply of health technologies and products, destination 6 will focus on research and innovation activities that aim at:

  • Production of pharmaceuticals in compliance with the objectives of the European Green Deal.
  • Methodologies, guidelines and standards, assessment studies, and structuring activities adapted to digital solutions and interventions for GDPR compliant translation into health care practice, including inter-operability, cyber-security and data confidentiality.
  • Public authorities supported with better methodologies and interdisciplinary approaches to assess and value new health technologies and interventions.
  • Development of pharmaceutical products meeting unmet medical needs in the context of market failures.

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 industrial research and innovation infrastructures (pilot plants, testing and simulation facilities, open innovation hubs); additive manufacturing (3D/4D printing) and other production technologies (incl. bio manufacturing); safe, smart and sustainable materials.

Expected Impacts:

Proposals for topics under this destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to maintaining an innovative, sustainable and globally competitive health industry, and more specifically to one or several of the following expected impacts:

  • Health industry in the EU is more competitive and sustainable, assuring European leadership in breakthrough health technologies and strategic autonomy in essential medical supplies and digital technologies, contributing to job creation and economic growth, in particular with small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • Health industry is working more efficiently along the value chain from the identification of needs to the scale-up and take-up of solutions at national, regional or local level, including through early engagement with patients, health care providers, health authorities and regulators ensuring suitability and acceptance of solutions.
  • European standards, including for operations involving health data, ensure patient safety and quality of healthcare services as well as effectiveness and interoperability of health innovation and productivity of innovators.
  • Citizens, health care providers and health systems benefit from a swift uptake of innovative health technologies and services offering significant improvements in health outcomes, while health industry in the EU benefits from decreased time-to-market.
  • Health security in the EU benefits from reliable access to key manufacturing capacity, including timely provision of essential medical supplies of particularly complex or critical supply and distribution chains, such as regards vaccines or medical radioisotopes.
Link Link to Programme
Call
Scaling up multi-party computation, data anonymisation techniques, and synthetic data generation
Description of call
"Scaling up multi-party computation, data anonymisation techniques, and synthetic data generation"

Expected Outcome

  • The EU contributes strongly to global standards for health data through enhancement of common European standards for health data (including medical imaging data) by researchers and innovators. Researchers and innovators contribute to GDPR compliant guidelines and rules for data anonymisation.
  • Innovators have access to advanced secure data processing tools to test and develop robust data-driven digital solutions and services in response to the needs of researchers, clinicians and health systems at large.
  • Cross-border health data hubs further facilitate the innovation process by providing secure, trustable testing environments for innovators.
  • Clinicians, patients and individuals use a larger variety of high quality data tools and services for wellbeing, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of care.
  • Researchers and innovators have more opportunities for testing and developing GDPR compliant data driven solutions based on actual needs of the health care environments.

Scope:

It is essential to speed up and facilitate innovations in the field of data-driven tools and services for wellbeing, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of care, among others. However, limited access by developers to health data and secure testing environments hinder the development of innovative data-driven digital health products and services.

Therefore, the proposals are expected to scale up multi-party computation, data anonymisation techniques and synthetic data generation. To ensure privacy, the data analytics should be conducted in a distributed way among processors that grant third parties access to analysis outcomes but not to the underlying data. The developers should have access to distributed testing data sources and cloud and computing resources at large scale, with a view to improving the speed and robustness of multi-party computation solutions for innovators. The aim is to allow secure GDPR-compliant data processing for research, and clinical purposes.

The proposals should consider the use of synthetic, i.e. artificially generated, data as they allow researchers and developers to test, verify and fine-tune algorithms in large-scale data experimentations without re-identifiable personal data.

In addition, the proposed anonymisation techniques will have to be sophisticated and robust enough to tackle the challenge of anonymised data sets that still make it possible to trace back to individuals.

The proposals are expected to foster the development of secure, interoperable, transparent - and therefore trustable - cross-border health data hubs that can facilitate the provision of the required testing environments for innovators. This will support the uptake of new data tools, technologies and digital solutions for health care.

To this end, integration of national/regional health data hubs/repositories/research infrastructures is appropriate to achieve the scope of the topic. The proposals are expected to address all of the following areas:

  • Consolidate and scale up multi-party computation and data anonymisation techniques and synthetic data generation to support health technology providers, in particular SMEs.
  • Support the development of innovative unbiased AI based and distributed tools, technologies and digital solutions for the benefit of researchers, patients and providers of health services, while maintaining a high level of data privacy.
  • Advance the state-of-the-art of de-identification techniques, to tackle the challenge of anonymised datasets that can be traced back to individuals.
  • Develop innovative anonymisation techniques demonstrating that effective data quality and usefulness can be preserved without compromising privacy.
  • Explore and develop further the techniques of creating synthetic data, also dynamically on demand for specific use cases.
  • Widen the basis for GDPR-compliant research and innovation on health data.
  • Ensure wide uptake and scalability of the methodologies and tools developed, promote high standards of transparency and openness, going well beyond documentation and extending to aspects such as assumptions, architecture, code and any underlying 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, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication
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 30.00 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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