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Council agrees on next multi-year EU research program

The Council of the EU has agreed on a partial general approach for Horizon Europe, the next EU framework program on research and innovation, for 2021-2027. The program includes three main pillars: Excellent science, supporting basic science to strengthen scientific leadership; Global challenges and European industrial competitiveness, addressing societal challenges and industrial technologies in areas such as health, security, digital and key enabling technologies, climate, energy, mobility, food, and natural resources; and Innovative Europe, for scaling up breakthrough and disruptive innovation by establishing a European Innovation Council. The latter will offer a “one-stop-shop” for high-potential innovators.

A cross-cutting section will improve the program's delivery for widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area and includes measures to support member states in making the most of their national research and innovation potential.

Press release – EU

EU Global health Global health R&D

Norway approves 2019 ODA budget

The Norwegian government has approved the budget for official development assistance (ODA) for 2019 at NOK37.8 billion (US$4.5 billion). The Christian Democratic Party has supported the government's ODA budget after reshuffling NOK 232 million (US$28 million), focusing on long-term development by strengthening  funding for food security, agriculture, Africa, and civil society. This includes an increase of NOK14 million (US$2 million) to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and GAVI, the Vaccine alliance.

Norway's planned global health commitments for 2019 are NOK 3.2 billion (US$39 million). 

Budget document - Norwegian government (in Norwegian)

EU Council publishes regulation for EU research 2021-2027

Following a European Parliament report on the subject, the Council of the European Union has published a Partial General Approach on the regulation establishing Horizon Europe. The document elevates poverty-related and neglected diseases (PRNDs) from their status as a line of activity in the previous draft to an intervention-level topic under the health cluster. At the same time, the Council supported the budget for research proposed by the European Commission (US$104 billion overall and US$8.5 billion for health), which is lower than the European Parliament sought but remains an increase over the current EU research budget.

The future of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership (EDCTP) is not addressed in the document, as discussions continue on whether and what legal form a successor program might take.

Document - EU

EU Global health Global health R&D

AMR Alliance Japan launched

The Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI), together with eight medical academic societies, government representatives, a Japanese civil society organization, and a number of pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies, have launched a domestic alliance to tackle the challenge of anti-microbial resistance (AMR).

The alliance, AMR Alliance Japan, will gather stakeholders from academia, government, the private sector, and civil society. It is tasked with progressing a number of domestic initiatives aimed at controlling AMR. 

Press release - HGPI

Public and private sectors come together to launch Japan Alliance on Global NTDs

The Nagasaki University and other Japanese academic institutions are launching a new, global, multi-stakeholder alliance to collect best practices and share current research on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The Japan Alliance on Global NTDs (JAGntd) consists of organizations and individuals working towards global efforts of eradication, elimination, and control of NTDs. It will also promote Japan’s contributions to fighting NTDs.

Press release - JAGntd (in Japanese)

MRFF Board proposes Australia establish a Global Health Challenges Research Fund

Australia's A$20 billion (US$14.9 billion) Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) has announced its 12 priorities for 2018 to 2020. One of the priorities is antimicrobial resistance. Another is to invest in global health and health security challenges, including pandemic preparedness and health emergencies.  In support of this goal, the MRFF Board has proposed the creation of an Australian Global Health Challenges Research Fund, to leverage contributions from other government agencies, philanthropies, and global health funds.

Website - Australian Government Department of Health

Norway tops all donors with US$360 million commitment to Global Financing Facility

The world's leaders have committed more than US$1 billion to the Global Financing Facility (GFF) during the replenishment conference in Oslo, with co-host Norway topping all donors at US$360 million. "Today we have a big hope that the world's poorest countries can build a healthy future for women, children, and youth", said Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. "The GFF model is effective and achieves this goal as it based on a cooperation with the relevant countries to develop capacity to build and maintain health systems for women and children to survive." 

Press release - Norwegian government (in Norwegian)

Australian research finds evidence for role of PreP medication in HIV prevention

A study at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales found that a state-wide trial with the HIV prevention drug pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreP) successfully reduced new diagnoses by 25% compared to 2017. This study was the first to evaluate a population-level rollout of PrEP in men who have sex with men.

News report: Science Daily

UK Minister for Africa makes the case for investing in new technologies to end world hunger

UK Minister of State for Africa, Harriet Baldwin, marked World Food Day by making the case for greater investment in new technologies to help farmers in developing countries grow more efficient and nutritional food. Baldwin highlighted how UK development assistance is already supporting UK scientists to be at the forefront of developing these new technologies, showcasing their work to develop new wheat varieties that are genetically resistant to diseases. 1.2 million people living in extreme poverty are reliant on wheat.  

Baldwin also announced an additional £5 million (US$6.7 million) to support development of a sweet potato that has been naturally-enhanced to provide a child’s recommended daily intake of vitamin A in a single serving. Vitamin A deficiency can cause stunting in children and blindness.

News article - The Telegraph

Norway prioritizes women’s rights and equality in 2019 development budget

The Norwegian government has proposed a US$119-million (NOK 1 billion) grant to women's rights and equal opportunities in its 2019 development assistance budget. The funds will be used for measures to improve women's and maternal health, through health care and other development policy efforts that strengthen women's rights. This includes core contribution to UN Women's Rights and Equity Organization (UN Women), UN Populations Fund (UNFPA), and various targeted gender equality measures. Equality and women's rights are goals in themselves, but the government states that succeeding in these areas is also important for other Sustainable Development Goals.

The core of Norway's work for gender equality is sexual and reproductive health and rights, including family planning, maternity health, and safe and legal abortions. 

Press release - Norwegian government (in Norwegian)