The Forum’s third plenary meeting focused on discussion and recommendations for a third EDCTP programme. Prior to panel discussion on this topic, the meeting heard a presentation that was subsequently described – by a participant speaking from the floor – as having added ‘a whole new dimension’ to the debate.
Lisa Goerlitz is from the Brussels advocacy unit of DSW, a German global health organisation. DSW has been following closely the EU discussion on the next EU Research and Innovation funding programme, Horizon Europe (2021-2027) and its implications for global health, including for example an EDCTP successor programme.
She emphasised that there is much that has not yet been decided or is not yet clear, including which programmes or partnerships will be receiving funding. The situation is complicated by the substantial overlap between the programmes of various global health bodies. Reducing the number of partnerships is being discussed with the celar intention to reduce the number of partnerships.
Likewise, we do not so far know which partnership modalities will be chosen. The European Commission is currently developing proposals but it will then be up to member states to decide. DSW will be following with interest forthcoming discussions in the Council and the European Parliament where these issues will be addressed. Budget discussions will only take place after decisions have been made on the financial framework. She rightly said that the next few months will be an exciting time.
Nevertheless, her view is that EDCTP seems to be in quite a strong position. Several aspects of its programme appear to be attractive, including its emphasis on poverty-related infectious diseases, clinical trials – necessary phase in product development -, quality evidence, faster progress, and the active participation of African countries themselves.
It is always valuable to hear an NGO’s perspective on these matters, but this presentation also gave us a rare opportunity to learn something of the procedures involved in establishing European funding programmes.