Looking back, looking forward: European Union funded international research projects.


There are just 45 days to #EAPC2022! With live sessions on 18 to 20 May 2022, and lots of on-demand content before and after the congress, this is the place of meeting for all of us in palliative care research. Ahead of the congress, we’re delighted to give some highlights of what to expect at #EAPC2022. Today Sheila Payne and Richard Harding let us know more about a special session they are co-chairing at a pre-meeting on 17th May 2022 before the #EAPC2022 World Congress.

Sheila Payne and Richard Harding
Professor Sheila Payne and Professor Richard Harding.

Collaborative, international palliative care research funded by the European Union (EU) has increased rapidly. We are excited to welcome you to a pre-congress session at 14.00-16.00 CET on 17th May 2022 to hear about current and new EU-funded projects in palliative care.  You will hear about research on an impressive range of topics that cover service development, symptom management, adapting and testing novel interventions to improve the care and experience for patients and families. The populations of study increase with each funding round, and the potential impact of these studies is huge for European citizens, and for people living in associated countries involved in the research. The research projects are all international collaborations reaching across all European regions.  This means that the research can better take account of geopolitical differences, healthcare systems and economic drivers that impact on the implementation of palliative care.

The European Union, an alliance of 27 countries, founded in 1993, is a political and economic union that has promoted multinational research and development to benefit its citizens and to enable European society to tackle pressing challenges. With 24 official languages, it is certainly multicultural.  The EU have invested in research and innovation through a number of time limited ‘framework programmes’ with targeted priorities.  The current framework programme called Horizon Europe, runs from 2021-2027, and has a budget of 95 billion euros.  Currently there are five priorities (called missions) for research focused on cancer, carbon-neutral cities, climate change, oceans and waters, and soil health.  These funding programmes represent important opportunities for palliative care researchers to undertake innovative, world-leading studies.

The good news is that the palliative care research community in Europe have been increasingly successful in securing these highly competitive grants.  We are delighted to hear that 12 new multi-million-euro research grants were awarded in early 2022.  These allow international consortia of clinicians, academics, technical experts, international organisations (such as the European Association for Palliative Care), commercial companies and advocacy groups to work together to address cross-national challenges and to test and build sustainable, innovative solutions to improve palliative care. 

It has been our privilege to work on previous and current projects funded by the EU.  It is always a learning experience, navigating our differing understandings of conceptual issues, while finding and adapting solutions that take account of our different policy, economic, political, cultural and healthcare contexts.  Realising that taken-for-granted assumptions, for example, about how communication with patients and families is conducted and preferred disclosure practices (for example, how shared decision-making may or may not be regarded as desirable, and how patients and/or families are told of their life-limiting condition) or how medication is delivered, are country or region specific, is challenging and enlightening.

One of the key features of these large EU grants is that attention is paid to gender, ensuring that teams have a gender balance.  In addition, they seek to develop the next generation of researchers through mentorship and opportunities to complete PhD theses linked to funded projects.  There are now a number of very successful leaders with a strong track-record in EU projects such as Jeroen Hasselaar (the Netherlands), Lieve van den Block (Belgium), Agnes van der Heide (the Netherlands) and Stein Kassa (Norway) to name a few.  It is very heartening to see their success in developing programmes of research which build on their previous studies, and it is now essential that information is shared on strategies to optimise success.  Perhaps this is a topic for a future EAPC facilitated session?

Do join us at this pre-congress meeting on 17th May to find out more about the exciting EU research projects and collaborations that are underway and those that are about to begin!


Register for the #EAPC2022 Pre-congress session on EU funded research (14.00-16.00pm CET, 17th May 2022) here

About the authors

Sheila Payne is Emeritus Professor at the International Observatory on End of Life Care, Lancaster University, United Kingdom (UK).

Richard Harding is Herbert Dunhill Professor of Palliative Care & Rehabilitation, Director of the Cicely Saunders Institute and Vice Dean (International) of the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care, King’s College London, UK.


This entry was posted in EAPC 12th World Research Congresss, EAPC COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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