The EU’s actions on health policy are based on the overriding principle that human health is well protected in the development of all EU policies and activities. The EU Treaty makes it clear that the EU must respect the responsibility of Member States to define their own health policies and deliver services as they see fit. The EU’s role is principally to support Member States on issues where cooperation and the exchange of best practice are appropriate. It also legislates in certain areas.

The EU's Health Strategy has 3 main objectives, managed by the European Commission Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE):

Key Funding

The Third Health Programme 2014-2020
The Third Health Programme has a budget of €449.4 million (2014-2020) which funds:

  • Grants for collaborative, trans-national projects 
  • Operating Grants for non-governmental organisations active at EU level
  • Actions jointly undertaken by Member States’ health authorities
  • Cooperation with international organisations

The Programme and its priorities are translated into annual work programmes defining in detail which priorities will be funded in that year, the topics/areas of activity to be covered in calls for proposals or calls for tender, and the specific eligibility requirements for participation. 

The annual call for proposals is published and managed by the Consumer, Health and Food Executive Agency (Chafea). 

Horizon 2020 2014-2020
The EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation funding programme includes funding for "Societal Challenge 1 : Health, Demographic Change and Well-being". Research & Innovation supported by this programme aims in particular to:

  • improve understanding of the causes and mechanisms underlying health, healthy ageing and disease;
  • improve ability to monitor health and to prevent, detect, treat and manage disease;
  • support older persons to remain active and healthy;
  • and test and demonstrate new models and tools for health and care delivery.
Other health-relevant opportunities also occur across other Horizon 2020 elements, including the SME Instrument designed to support innovative SMEs.

The Innovative Medicines Initiative

A Public-private initiative between the EU and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations. The goal of the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 (IMI 2) programme is to develop next generation vaccines, medicines and treatments, such as new antibiotics.

European Co-operation in Science and Technology (COST)
COST is a means for European researchers, engineers and scholars to jointly develop their own ideas and new initiatives across all fields of science and technology through trans-European networking of nationally funded research activities.

Other funding opportunities such as Interreg and Erasmus+ and beyond also have relevance for health-related projects.

Following the closure of the European Partnership at the end of March 2019, this website is no longer active and will not be updated. However, it will be kept live for a period of time as an archive resource.