CardioScape project outlines the current European CVD research and innovation landscape
CardioScape aims to outline the current Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) research and innovation landscape across Europe. To this end, this EU-funded European Society of Cardiology (ESC) project carried out a survey during 23 months.
CVD is estimated to cost the EU economy almost €196 billion a year. The rising life expectancy coupled with adverse trends in major cardiovascular risk factors could lead to a doubling in the absolute incidence of CVD by 2050. The availability of adequate and effective funding is thus crucial to tackle the CVD burden by discovering innovative medical solutions.
The CardioScape project reveals that €876 million was awarded for CVD research in the EU between 2010 and 2012. Striking disparities exist at national level in terms of both public and private research financing. In the UK, where research funds for CVD are highest, almost € 300 million were spent over the period 2010-2012. In the same years, Finnish funders only allocated € 800 000 to cardiovascular research.
The wealthiest countries score highest in terms of funding. Regrettably, this means that the level of CVD research funding is inversely proportional to CVD mortality rates: Eastern and Central European countries, where CVD causes up to 50% of deaths have little if any funding available for cardiovascular research. For instance, in Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia and Lithuania no funding ≥ € 100 000 per project was made available by funding bodies over the period 2010-2012.
CardioScape interestingly reveals that, though EU research funding represents a mere 5% of total investment by EU Member States in European R&D in all disciplines, the money spent by the EU FP7 for cardiovascular research in 2010-2012 - € 258 million – is far from being negligible and positions the European Commission among the top funding organisations in Europe together with the British Heart Foundation (€ 120 million) and the UK Wellcome Trust (€ 104 million). There are thus important complementarities between national and EU funding sources as the first support primarily research performed within national borders while the EU focuses on transnational projects.
The project also aimed to establish the extent of duplication across national research programmes, identify funding gaps that reduce opportunities for innovation, highlight areas where coordination can be improved and define future funding priorities and strategies for CVD research in Europe.
This information, together with access to the CardioScape database populated with over 2400 projects from the EU28 Countries, was made available to the public at the CardioScape conference in Brussels September 17. On this occasion, the ESC, project coordinator, together with PNO, project partner, presented the project findings along with recommendations for furthering the European research activity in this field.