European public health research in Horizon 2020

The European Journal of Public Health
Volume 23 Issue 5 October 2013

European public health research in Horizon 2020
John Browne1 and Thorkild I. A. Sørensen2
+ Author Affiliations
1 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
2 Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen
Correspondence: John Browne, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland, e-mail:

The Directorate General for Research & Innovation of the European Commission (DG-RTD) has provided funding of €425.46 million for public health research since 2000. In September 2012, we were asked to lead as chair (T.I.A.) and rapporteur (J.B.) an Independent Expert Group commissioned by DG-RTD to make recommendations about the future of European public health research in the period 2014–20, the Horizon 2020 funding stream. We here report the main recommendations, supported by all group members.

The group was asked to address four questions:
:: What should the thematic priorities for EU-funded public health research under Horizon 2020 be?
:: How to best structure European Public Health Research in the future?
:: How to develop stronger links and synergies between EU-funded research and national research activities, EU policy agendas and national policy agendas?
:: How to improve the uptake of evidence generated from public health research in the development of public health policy?

An important recommendation is …

Values and ethics amidst the economic crisis
Peter Schröder-Bäck1,2,3, Louise Stjernberg2,4 and Ann Marie Borg1
+ Author Affiliations
1Department of International Health, School CAPHRI, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 2Working Group “Ethics and Values in Public Health”, Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER), Brussels, Belgium, 3Section “Ethics in Public Health”, European Public Health Association (EUPHA), Utrecht, The Netherlands and 4School of Health Science, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden
Correspondence: Peter Schröder-Bäck, Department of International Health, School CAPHRI, Maastricht University, Postbox 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands

Austerity measures and trade-offs
The current protracted economic crisis is giving rise to the scarcity of public health resources across Europe. In response to budgetary pressures and the Eurozone public debt crisis, decision makers resort to a short-term solution: the introduction of austerity measures in diverse policy fields. Health and social policy tend to be easy targets in this regard, and budget cuts often include a reduction of healthcare expenditure or social welfare benefits.

In fact, in their analysis of the austerity measures being adopted in Europe, Mladovsky et al. have identified that in some countries, we see a shift of public money across sectoral budgets.1 Against this background, it is argued that ‘trade-offs should be understood and made explicit so decision makers can openly weigh evidence against ideology in line with societal values’.1 But what are these so-called social values that should guide the decisions and policy responses of European decision makers?