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€641m from Horizon 2020 made available for Covid-19

Image: Images Money [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Commission updates work programme to hit €1bn pledge

The European Commission has again updated the 2020 work programme for the EU’s Horizon 2020 R&D programme, to allocate €641 million to work relevant to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The biggest beneficiary will be the InnovFin Infectious Diseases Financial Facility, a pre-commercial funding scheme run by the European Investment Bank, which will get an extra €400m.

On 15 June, that scheme loaned €100m to German company BioNTech for Covid-19 vaccine development, while in April it loaned €75m to CureVac, another German vaccine maker, for the same cause.

The second-largest amount of the reallocated funding, €172m, will go to extra Horizon 2020 funding calls related to the pandemic and to extending promising projects already underway.

Of the remaining reallocations, €50m will leave the programme and go to the non-governmental Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations, again for vaccines development; €15.5m will be used to set up a research infrastructure for population health; and €3.5m will go towards the deployment of medical robots.

The redistribution makes good on a pledge made by the Commission during a conference hosted by its president Ursula von der Leyen on 4 May, in which she promised €1 billion from Horizon 2020 for global efforts to develop treatments, tests and vaccines against Covid-19.

The rest of the pledge is made up of funds already allocated from Horizon 2020 before 4 May, including a dedicated set of funding calls in March, a public-private clinical trials partnership in Africa and funds directed towards the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and the European Innovation Council.