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EU R&D programme should fund more cancer research, MEPs say

Image: Sebastien Pirlet, European Union

Research committee members relay researchers’ struggles and complain about cancer mission processes

Two leading MEPs in the European Parliament research committee have written to the EU research and innovation commissioner, Mariya Gabriel, requesting increased EU funding for cancer research.

Christian Ehler and Maria da Graça Carvalho, who are the committee coordinator and deputy coordinator respectively for the European People’s Party Group—the largest political group in the Parliament—said they had been told several times by researchers that “they are having trouble to find opportunities” in the EU’s Horizon Europe R&I programme.

So far, the part of the programme dedicated to health has contained “very few” calls for proposals for collaborative cancer research, the MEPs claimed.

“There is the need to change this trend and include a special focus on cancer research into the next 2023-24 work programmes,” they said.

The research, they added, should focus on areas in which Europe is a “global frontrunner” and where there is clear European “added value” to being supported.

Procedural shortcomings

Ehler and da Graça Carvalho (pictured right and left respectively) also complained that the EU’s R&I-based mission on cancer has “very lengthy” and “unpredictable” processes for assessing research proposals.

In addition, they warned that there is “a fundamental lack of understanding among stakeholders on how to amplify the benefits of combining the opportunities between funds of different nature”, such as the mission and health-related public-private partnerships.

Research Professional News has contacted the European Commission for comment.