Health research policy in the European Union

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7506.1459 (Published 23 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1459
  1. Rodolfo Saracci, professor (saracci@hotmail.com),
  2. J⊘rn Olsen, professor,
  3. Albert Hofman, professor
  1. Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Research Council, via Trieste 41, 56126 Pisa, Italy
  2. Danish Epidemiological Science Centre, Vennelyst Boulevard 6, 8000 Århus C, Denmark
  3. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University Medical Center, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, Netherlands

    Drastic revision is needed

    Health” is the number one theme in the first outline proposal of the European Union's seventh framework programme of research (FP7) for 2007-13.1 Translating this indication into actual “research for the health of Europeans” will require a drastic policy revision with relation to the current (FP6, 2002-6) research programme, which is severely lacking in a population dimension2 and champions “the traditional mix of basic science and biomedicine” that is deemed wholly inadequate to support health systems by the World Health Organization's ministerial summit on health research.3

    This revision requires four main changes: in conception, content, procedures, and resources. The programme's conception must incorporate a simple but crucial idea: “From the population to the population.” Research prompted by health problems in a population must provide results that are relevant and applicable in that population. This goes against the common misconception—transparent in the sixth research framework—that a solution to a biological or clinical problem found at, say, the molecular level …

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