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Following on from the European Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), the Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) is a major public-private partnership (PPP) between the European Union and the European life sciences industries. The aim is to translate the results of health research and innovation into tangible benefits for patients and society.

While IMI was a partnership between the European Commission and the pharmaceutical industry, IHI significantly broadens the scope of the programme by including the digital medicine industry, medical imaging (COCIR), the biotech (EuropaBio) and medtech (Medtech Europe) sectors, as well as vaccine development (Vaccines Europe).

Another novelty is the “single stage” calls, for which participants must themselves identify industrial partners associated with IHI.

Support

The first IHI calls for proposals will be launched in 2022. A series of webinars on the calls was organised from 10 June to 27 June. The recordings are now available. The IHI strategic research priorities will be presented, as well as practical information on how best to write an IHI project proposal or seek partners to create consortia. The information session will also give the companies involved the opportunity to present their projects and initiate initial one-on-one meetings.

As the national contact point for European programmes, Luxinnovation also supports companies interested in participating in IHI. “The big challenge is to get in touch with the right consortia,” explains Charles Betz, Senior Advisor – European R&D and Innovation Support at Luxinnovation and national representative in the IHI programme.

Having a good network among IHI partner companies, as well as participating in this kind of brokerage event, is extremely important to increase your chances of being selected.

Top position for Dr Anna Chioti

In Luxembourg, health technologies are among the priority economic development sectors identified by the government. The appointment in early May of Dr Anna Chioti (Head of the Pharmacy and Medicines Division of the Luxembourg Health Directorate) as Chair of the IHI Science and Innovation Panel is far from insignificant.

Dr Chioti has an extensive academic background and has worked in the pharmaceutical industry before joining the Luxembourg Institute of Health and then the Ministry of Health. Her previous experience as a member of the IMI Scientific Committee as well as her strong affinity for digital technologies also contribute to make her a strong asset to guide the medical and societal impacts of European industrial research and to provide the regulatory insight that is essential for innovation in health technologies.

As head of the Science and Innovation Panel, Dr Chioti’s role will be to provide advice to IHI’s governing bodies on issues related to the Initiative’s research and innovation activities.

“This appointment is very important for the sector in the country,” explains Stefano Pozzi Mucelli, Head of European R&D and Innovation Support at Luxinnovation.

The presence of Luxembourg representatives in the high-level bodies of such key initiatives is a strong signal on the importance of such European funding programmes for the whole sector.

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