In Europe, the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) has announced at its Annual Congress major successes in driving the public agenda for addressing the escalating burden of RMDs.
These advances include: Recognition for Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMDs) from major European Commission research initiative, Horizon 2020 'FOREUM', Foundation for Research in Rheumatology, grants research funding for four osteoarthritis projects in its first year.
"It is with great satisfaction that we have seen a progressive dedication of EU research funds for RMDs in recent times. This follows several years of intensive awareness raising activities by EULAR in Brussels," commented Professor Maurizio Cutolo, President of EULAR as well as Chairman of the International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR). "As a result of these activities (including exchanges with EU policy makers and stakeholders), there is now a much better understanding of the real impact of RMDs. There is also consensus about the need to further implement EU actions against these diseases, including in the research field, where EU funds for RMDs related projects have increased in recent years."
Following more than a decade of public affairs activity, EULAR's priority over the past 24 months has been to be recognised as a major condition in the new research framework programme, Horizon 2020, which was initiated on 1 January 2014.
Neil Betteridge, Liaison Officer, Public Affairs, EULAR commented, "I am delighted to report that after much hard work on the part of many people, including many EULAR members at a national level, the legislative text of the new research framework programme now lists RMDs as a major disease alongside a select number of others including cancer, cardiac disease, mental illness and diabetes. To this end, 2013-'14 has seen major successes for EULAR in its effort to influence the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council."
He continued, "The challenge now for EULAR is to ensure that as many calls for funding as possible relate to RMDs. We know that the vast majority of calls will not mention specific diseases by name so we must position RMDs as critical in cross-cutting areas such as prevention, innovation and healthy ageing in order to maximise the flow of research funds to our area."
'FOREUM', Foundation for Research in Rheumatology, grants research funding for four osteoarthritis projects in its first year The European Rheumatology Research Foundation (ERRF), established by EULAR in 2013, has been renamed FOREUM (pronounced [fo:rəm]), Foundation for Research in Rheumatology. Since its launch, FOREUM has awarded grant funding to four research projects in the field of osteoarthritis.
"EULAR has been the driving force in creating this important research foundation. FOREUM will not only support rheumatology research in Europe, it will also constitute a forum for deliberations on the future rheumatology research arena," commented Professor Josef Smolen, FOREUM President.
"We received 46 funding applications following our 2013 call for research proposals and were proud to select four projects following a peer review process. Osteoarthritis affects a substantial proportion of the European population and FOREUM would like to congratulate the successful teams focussing on this important area of research," he continued.