Spain - Global health R&D


This section focuses on donor countries’ support for global health research and development (R&D) that addresses the global health challenges disproportionately affecting the world’s most disadvantaged people. Following the methodological approach used by Policy Cures Research (read G-Finder’s scope document), it focuses on donor funding and policy in three main areas: 1) emerging infectious diseases (EIDs); 2) poverty-related and neglected diseases (PRNDs); and 3) sexual and reproductive health (SRH). As part of the EID R&D funding, this section also takes a closer look at donor contributions for COVID-19 R&D within the framework of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A). This section excludes domestic funding for health R&D that does not benefit low- and middle-income countries. Not all funding mentioned qualifies as ODA.)
Spain spent US$30 million for global health R&D in 2020

According to data from the G-FINDER survey conducted by Policy Cures Research, Spain contributed US$30 million in total to R&D for Global Health. The vast majority (80%, or US$24 million) of this funding was spent on R&D for EIDs. 19% (US$6 million) was spent on R&D for NDs, and 1% (US$258 thousand) was spent on R&D for ND and SRHR. US$52 thousand was provided to R&D for SRHR and US$10 thousand was given to R&D for ND and EID.

Funding for R&D for Global Health saw a major spike in 2020, in response to the COVID-19 health crisis, and saw a major increase from prior levels in 2019

Spain  spent US$24 million on R&D for EIDs

Spain spent US$24 million on R&D for EIDs. Virtually all of this funding (99%) was spent on R&D for coronaviral diseases (including MERS, SARS, COVID-19). A small portion (less than 1%; US$22 thousand) was spent on R&D for filoviral diseases (including Ebola and Marburg). 

Spain’s funding for EIDs exponentially increased in 2020 compared to 2019 levels (when it stood at US$33 thousand). It is worth noting that it is common to see spikes and dips in EID funding as donors respond to outbreaks, and do not necessarily indicate a significant re/de-prioritization of the sector; however, consistent funding for EID R&D (for example, funding for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; CEPI) is essential to ensuring preparedness in advance of EID outbreaks and ensuring a rapid response — in terms of both research and containment — to emerging disease threats.  

In 2020, Spain invested US$6 million in R&D for NDs 

In 2020, Spain invested US$6 million in R&D for NDs which included nearly all funding exclusively relevant to NDs (US$6 million) as well as areas of overlap with EID (US$10 thousand) and with SRHR (US$258 thousand).
In terms of funding for major disease areas, most of Spain’s funding for NDs only was dedicated to R&D for more than one disease area (65%, or US$4 million), tuberculosis (25%, or US$1 million), malaria (3%, or US$182, thousand), and kinetoplastid diseases (3% or US$165 thousand). 

Although SRH is a development priority, Spain spent less than 1% of its Global health R&D funding on SRHR
Although sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are given as a key priority under the ‘Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2018-2021’, Spain spent less than 1% (US$52 thousand) of its Global health R&D funding on SRHR. All of this funding was dedicated to R&D on Human papillomavirus (HPV) and HPV-related cervical cancer.

R&D for COVID-19 is a key focus of Spain’s latest development policy

The COVID-19 crisis has placed global health R&D and epidemic preparedness on top of the Spanish government’s agenda. In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Spain’s Prime Minister announced €30 million (US$34 million) in R&D funding for new biomedical tools for diagnosing, preventing, and treating the virus. In July 2020, the Spanish government approved a new plan for R&D initiatives worth €1.0 billion (US$1.1 billion). This new funding line, to be disbursed between 2020 and 2021, includes €216 million (US$246 million) specifically allocated to health-related R&D activities, €524 million (US$597 million) to strengthen the Spanish R&D system, and €317 million (US$361 million) to the private sector. Spain will also provide up to €508 million (US$579 million) in loans for COVID-19 research. 

MAUC and the Ministry of Science are the main ministries responsible for global health R&D

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAUC) is the main ministry working on global health R&D. MAUC’s Health Division is responsible for global health R&D funding. Spain’s development agency (the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation or AECID) works on funding and implementation of global health R&D programs through its Directorate for Multilateral and Sectoral Cooperation. In turn, the Ministry of Science steers Spain’s national strategy on R&D, including for global health. The Ministry of Science’s Carlos III Health Institute implements health-related R&D interventions through direct investments and channels funding to national research initiatives. It also represents Spain’s position on health R&D to the EU. Previously, MAUC and the Spanish Development Promotion Fund (FONPRODE) financed product-development partnerships (PDPs), but this funding channel has been discontinued now that FONPRODE’s budget only includes loans and equities.