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NEWS ARTICLE | 05 November 2020

Coronavirus: €55.2 million granted to research projects dedicated to digital health technologies addressing the pandemic

Digital technologies are essential in our response to this sudden and severe health threat. Awarding financial support to 13 excellent projects which have digital tools and Artificial Intelligence at the heart of their innovative approaches will deliver new solutions to protect healthcare workers, quickly detect and prevent the spread of COVID-19, and improve intensive care – all to contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus: €55.2 million granted to research projects dedicated to digital health technologies addressing the pandemic

The sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the need for high-quality data, digital technologies and Artificial Intelligence analytics tools to mitigate the severe health threat and economic impact.

Therefore, back in May 2020, the Commission launched a second call for expression of interest under the Horizon 2020 programme for innovative and rapid health-related approaches to respond to COVID-19 and to deliver quick results for society for a higher level of preparedness of health systems (SC1-PHE-CORONAVIRUS-2020-2). The development and exploitation of digital tools and Artificial Intelligence analytics were at the heart of this emergency call for innovative and rapid health-related approaches.

In total 23 projects, involving 344 research teams from 39 countries in Europe and beyond, will receive a total of €128.2 million in funding as part of the Commission's €1.4 billion pledge to the Coronavirus Global Response.

On October 28th, 2020, the European Commission held the kick-off meeting with the coordinators of 13 awarded projects specifically dedicated to digital health technologies. The project consortia consisting of 133 organisations from 25 countries, with a total funding of €55.2 million, will work within the next 24 months to deliver rapidly the needed solutions. First prototypes are planned to be available in the coming 6 to 12 months, encompassing the development of new devices for faster, cheaper and easier diagnosis of COVID-19 patients, telemedicine applications to bridge distances, AI to diagnose and treat people more safely, new technologies to protect healthcare workers, devices to improve intensive care, and innovation hubs to select and test rapidly emerging ideas.

The kick-off meeting provided a great opportunity for the project coordinators to network and liaise with the other project teams, exchange valuable information and look for ways to share best practices. Regular follow-up events are planned to closely follow-up with the developments and results, and to disseminate the information.

The other 10 out of 23 awarded projects will work on the rapid repurposing of manufacturing for vital medical supplies and equipment, the behavioural, social and economic impacts of the outbreak responses, the pan-European COVID-19 cohorts, and the collaboration of existing EU and international cohorts of relevance to COVID-19.

More details on the awarded projects and on the outcome of the emergency funding action for innovative and rapid health-related approaches


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