14. Expected Strategic Impact
The first fundamental direct impact contributed by IPROVE is the opportunity it provided for very different sets of stakeholders to sit together and improve the mutual understanding of their different perspectives, needs and priorities, thus breaking down silos. The expectation is that this in turn will encourage the development of formal and informal networks of collaboration, fostering a truly cooperative, cross-functional and more effective translational approach to vaccines R&D. The roadmap provides stakeholders operating across the policy, research, programming, and financing domains with evidence of Europe’s research gaps and needs with the aim of informing how best to allocate existing resources within both EU and national funding programmes. This will help improve the efficacy and efficiency of research funding and likewise increase the drive to develop innovative vaccines through novel cooperative approaches, risk sharing and venture capital attraction. This is in line with the driving rationale underpinning the Horizon 2020 strategy on the need to create a science environment encompassing a ‘research to market product’ approach. The development of a global and more coordinated vision should also help aligning the activities of the major stakeholders from public and private sectors, including industry, national bodies and academia, with the aim of promoting synergies between centres of excellence in different disciplines making up the meta-discipline of vaccines and minimise competition and unnecessary duplication.
Additionally, by providing a set of medium to long term priorities and recommendations for funding, IPROVE indirectly also provides a set of indications that could be used in the future to inform evaluations and follow-up on progress in terms of topics and funding allocated to specific priorities along the value chain. As noted in the earlier chapters, however, research funding is not the only solution to boost innovation. There is a need for more engagement and inclusive dialogue to understand how to facilitate the translation of the priorities agreed upon by the relevant stakeholders into programmes, through the appropriate partnership models but also through establishing a supportive environment with appropriate instruments, framework conditions, management and technical capabilities.
Clearly, achieving all of the intended objectives and the short and long term expected impact, will largely depend on the political leadership and willingness to take up the recommendations provided, along with the invitation for further long term reflection on what will truly drive innovation. At both EU and national level, this should translate into good dissemination and cross-sector dialogue across the Health, Research, and Industry and Enterprise portfolios, as this would be the first step towards a more coherent vaccine life science strategy and towards building understanding of how the policies of each impact the other, as well as the entire vaccine landscape. At EU level it is expected that the findings of the roadmap inform strategic priority setting for the Directorate-General (DG) for RESEARCH through the Horizon 2020 programme and beyond, but also the DG SANTE’s public health approach to the area of prevention and the support it provides to help Member States implement effective vaccination programmes as well as its Health Programme. The investment in health IT and the appropriate technology infrastructure to support meeting R&D and public health goals will also continue to stay key, under the responsibility of DG CONNECT and its investments in the eHealth sphere. Finally, and more broadly the industrial sector’s competitiveness and the understanding of how market dynamics in the vaccine sector impact its role and capacity to address public health needs are of fundamental importance to create an enabling environment, and the engagement with and of DG GROW is essential.
Ultimately, IPROVE aims to:
(i) Contribute to healthcare systems sustainability (ii) Improve EU citizens’ quality of life and
(iii) Boost the sector’s competitiveness in the EU
all of which will be based on understanding, vision, feasibility and overcoming resistance to change, which will all be essential for fostering a climate of trans- border, truly European-wide collaboration.