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EU issues €123m calls for R&D on Covid-19 variants

Calls will fund projects on variant monitoring, vaccine trials, infrastructure integration and data sharing

The European Commission has published four call topics under the EU’s new Horizon Europe R&D programme, offering €123 million in “emergency funding” for urgent research into variants of the virus causing the Covid-19 pandemic.

One topic offers €60m for the development and testing of vaccines and treatments; another €30m is for monitoring and understanding emerging variants; €21m is for bringing together infrastructures for variant research; and €12m is for ways of sharing relevant data.

The Commission said the calls complement earlier funding, and that projects would be expected to collaborate with other initiatives to maximise synergies and avoid duplication.

“We continue to mobilise all means at our disposal to fight this pandemic and the challenges presented by coronavirus variants,” said EU R&D commissioner Mariya Gabriel.

“We must use our combined strength to be prepared for the future, starting from the early detection of the variants to the organisation and coordination of clinical trials for new vaccines and treatments, while ensuring correct data collection and sharing at all stages.”

First announced in February, the calls open on 13 April and close on 6 May.