Brussels   |     |   By invitation only

Accelerated development: A new era for health and life science cooperation with the Global South?

A Science|Business Network Roundtable (14:00 – 17:00 CEST) followed by networking drinks 

Among the issues that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the surface, global cooperation in health research emerged as an essential requirement to prevent and tackle future outbreaks from concerted surveillance of emerging infectious diseases to drug manufacturing, knowledge transfer, data sharing and biodiversity protection. Beyond pandemic preparedness, the need for a broader, structural and sustainable North-South partnership has now become obvious. While some partnerships in the sector, such as the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), have thrived for decades, the number of parties at play and partnerships have multiplied throughout the COVID crisis. In addition, the health sector's digitalisation rush and the growing importance of AI offer enormous opportunities to deepen North-South partnerships. Moving forward, to ensure a coordinated approach, several questions need clearer answers.

The realms in which the EU can prove to be a reliable partner in health research are multiple, ranging from vaccine development to fighting antimicrobial resistance and gene editing for next-generation medicine. But to address unmet medical needs and market failure, what kind of partnerships is the EU willing to sign with partners around the world? Do the research partnerships in place envision sufficiently proactive roles for the Global South parties, both as providers and receivers of information, skills and best practices? How to proceed to ensure that research collaboration goes hand-in-hand with sustainable funding, access to medical evaluation and commercialisation of products that come out of research? Belgium, currently holding the Presidency of the EU, ambitions to strengthen Africa-EU cooperation in health. Before Belgium, the Spanish and the French presidencies also included cooperation with the Global South on their strategic agendas. To what extent can EU member states pull together their initiatives and ties with Latin America, Africa and Asia? And within EU institutions, what needs to happen to ensure synergies between the various DGs and international bodies at play? Finally, what should partners from policy, research and industry aim for: a global approach in health research or an agile mechanism focused on delivering solutions of local utility?

On 25 June 2024, Science|Business will bring together key representatives from the North and the South, international bodies, EU institutions, national governments, leading research organisations and companies to discuss the steps needed to crystallise a new era for health and life science cooperation with the Global South.

Michael Makanga
Executive Director, European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP)
Nienke Buisman
Head of Unit - International Cooperation (Asia, Africa, Middle East & External Relations), DG RTD, European Commission
Ole Petter Ottersen
Acting Secretary General, The Guild; former President, Karolinska Institutet; Visiting Professor at Charité
Marleen Temmerman
Director 'Women's Health', Faculty of Health Sciences - Aga Khan University Hospital
William Warr
Senior Vice President for Global Health Strategy, BioNTech
Srini Kaveri
Director of India Office, CNRS
Hillary Hanahoe
Secretary General, Research Data Alliance
Jutta Reinhard-Rupp
Head of Global Health Institute, Merck
Glaudina Loots
Director: Health Innovation, South Africa Department of Science and Innovation
Rajendra Pratap Gupta
Chairman - Dynamic Coalition on Digital Health, United Nations' Internet Governance Forum
Line Gordon
Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre
Mario Reale
Senior Research Engagement Officer, GÉANT
Esther Orozco
Professor, Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (Mexico)
Benoit Miribel
Secretary General, One Sustainable Health
Maria Montoya
Researcher and Group Leader, CSIC Biological Research Center
Carine Mukamakuza
Instructor and Researcher, Carnegie Mellon University Africa
Draft Programme

14.00 Welcome and introductory remarks

14.10 Striking a balance: re-thinking international partnerships for a shared impact

In the context of previous efforts in international partnerships, with best practices and lessons learned, what should be the blueprint for equitable collaboration between Global South partners and the EU? How do we ensure that North-South cooperation agreements are fair, that circulation of knowledge and talent goes both ways, reflecting each partner’s specific strengths, and that those partnerships deliver an impact locally?

15.00 Coffee Break

15.30 Health research in a digitalised world: addressing global data concerns

The doors opened by digitalisation in health are countless, and researchers are only now scratching the surface of what will be possible in the future to combat diseases globally. However, to make sure that research organisations globally have access to patients’ and research data, barriers need to be broken and checks need to be put in place. How do we reconcile these needs in the context of international health research?

16.15 Long-term thinking: How to ensure sustainable partnerships through finance and institutions

The recent multiplication of partnerships, whether bilateral or multilateral, carries the risk of fragmenting available resources. Health threats require agile solutions, and a whole-of-government approach, in the EU institutions, among EU member states, and in Global South countries. What is needed to implement stable and flexible financing mechanisms, and ensure sufficient levels of funding? What should be the role of international organisations? How to reinforce South-South cooperation in the long run? 

17.00 Closing Remarks & Networking Reception

Practical Information
Practical Information

For questions and information, please contact Raffaele Guerini