New Horizons for EDCTP
As one of the key CAAST-Net Plus stakeholders, the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) has been a major role-player, not only in the field of health research but also in the Africa-EU collaboration landscape more broadly.
With partnership as its basis, the EDCTP united 14 European Union (EU) Member States, as well as Norway and Switzerland, to collaborate with counterparts in sub-Saharan Africa.
As the first phase of the Sixth Framework Programme’s (FP6) flagship cooperation platform ends, stakeholders can rest assured that a second phase, slated to commence in January 2014, has received great support.
African and European Member States confirmed their commitment to EDCTP2 at a High-Level Conference in Dakar, Senegal on 21 October 2013. As well as most of the countries taking part in the current programme committing to the second phase, new countries such as Finland, South Africa and Tanzania expressed interest in becoming members.
Challenges That Lie Ahead
The ten African countries most involved in EDCTP projects in the first phase were: South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Gabon, The Gambia, Mozambique and Ghana.
Professor Charles Mgone, Executive Director of EDCTP and member of the External Advisory Committee to CAAST-Net Plus says although the platform can celebrate great successes, much work still remains.
“By the end of 2012 EDCTP1 funded 241 projects as a result of 64 calls for proposals, involving 185 African and 70 European research institutions,” Mgone said.
“However, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria still kill an estimated 4.2 million people annually, most of them from sub-Saharan Africa. We need to invest more efficiently in the research and development of new or improved medical interventions against poverty-related diseases.”
The maximum contribution to the EDCTP2 Programme under Horizon 2020 will be EUR 683 million, and at least the same amount is expected to be contributed by European Participant Countries.
Further funding still is expected to be obtained through contributions from African governments and through partnerships with private and public donors.
Mgone added, “We at EDCTP also value the presence of other Africa-EU collaborative platforms in the health research and innovation field such as CAAST-Net Plus, which can only serve to further strengthen the growing science and technology collaboration between our regions.”
EDCTP2 will consequently continue supporting partnerships between European and sub-Saharan African countries in conducting clinical trials on new or improved medical interventions. The programme also aims at capacity building through an increase in the number of sub-Saharan African researchers and MSc and PhD students supported to at least 600.
CAAST-Net Plus and EDCTP
CAAST-Net Plus will seek to engage with EDCTP in 2014, learning more about the challenges the programme faces in research and innovation cooperation and how we can best support and facilitate the initiative.
CAAST-Net Plus partners and stakeholders are encouraged to promote EDCTP2 among their health research communities and enhance bi-regional partnerships on the global challenge of infectious and neglected diseases.
For further information on EDCTP2 please visit their website.
*An earlier version of this this article first appeared in the CAAST-Net Plus Magazine of December 2013.
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Disclaimer: CAAST-Net Plus is funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n0 311806. This document reflects only the authors’ views and the European Union cannot be held liable for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.