EU-AFRICA PERMED LAUNCHING EVENT: BUILDING LINKS BETWEEN EUROPE AND AFRICA IN PERSONALISED MEDICINE
A kick-off meeting of the EUAfrica PerMed project (https://www.euafrica-permed.eu/), which is funded under Horizon 2020, the European framework programme for Research & Innovation took place on 4th March 2021.
The EU-Africa PerMed project has the final objective of integrating African countries into ICPerMed (https://www.icpermed.eu/) activities as a means to contributing to a successful implementation of Personalized Medicine (PM) in the global context, fostering joint PM projects and programmes between Europe and Africa, as well as strengthening bilateral science, technology and innovation relations in the area of health.
The International Consortium of Personalised Medicine, ICPerMed, initiated in 2016, provides a platform to support research in personalised medicine. It is formed by more than 40 funding bodies from EU member states and beyond, including public and private not-for-profit health research funding and policy organisations.
The project, conceived and designed in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak, responds also to the necessity of global approaches when facing global threats.
EU-Africa PerMed is distributed in 6 Work Packages and it looks at identifying and engaging relevant health-related organisations and to foster the integration of funding structures and policy organisations in ICPerMed. It will as well focus on seeking synergies and align with activities of ongoing EU-Africa research programmes and other bi-regional policy actions.
During the next 4 years, EU-Africa PerMed project will be developed by 13 organisations from both Europe (6 partners) and Africa (7 partners). The lead role of National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) is to organize two stakeholders’ workshops in Nairobi, Kenya the 1st one being virtual in November, 2021 and the 2nd one in early 2022. The workshops envisage to engage relevant stakeholders to identify main challenges, needs, expectations and opportunities of Personalized Medicine in Africa, and the potential advantages of a closer collaboration with Europe, integrating local knowledge and practice. It will serve as a first opportunity to disseminate the project to African stakeholders, hence making them aware of the ICPerMed consortium and the ERA PerMed instrument. It will provide an indication of how activities planned for the project in years 2-4 could be best implemented considering the identified needs and expectations of stakeholders. From this workshop, a policy brief describing the main challenges for PM in Africa and options for a stronger EU-Africa collaboration in PM will be prepared by February 2022. NACOSTI will also be involved in the implementation of most of the project activities in a supportive role. This project has been licensed in Kenya, in line with the provisions of the STI Act.
The kick-off meeting allowed the participants to virtually share and plan the first steps to be taken for launching the action. The meeting was as well attended by the Project Officer from the European Commission and the members of the External Advisory Board, composed by 5 renowned experts that highlighted the opportunity this project brings to join forces, build on existing efforts at African level, and foster a dialogue between initiatives. They also underlined the importance of share common approaches to PM and demonstrate the added value PM may bring to health issues in the continent.
For more information, please visit https://www.euafrica-permed.eu/ and follow us on @EU_AfricaPerMed.