Support Aging Research in Horizon Europe program for 2025-2027

Please support the campaign to promote aging research in Europe!

Dear Colleagues,

We have discussed strategies to promote aging research in Europe. We believe that a joint effort of aging researchers in Europe could make an impact particularly with regards to fund basic research on aging. There are massive investments in the private sector especially in the US where they also have the dedicated NIA to promote this area. Would you be interested in supporting such an initiative?

If you would support our initiative, we would ask you to respond to the current online consultation that covers Horizon 2020 evaluation, Horizon Europe mid-term evaluation and Strategic Planning 2025-2027. The Strategic Plan part sets a direction for implementation of strategic and applied research parts of Horizon Europe in 2025-2027 by defining expected impacts and research orientations. 

Deadline is 23rd February 2023 and it should take around 20 minutes. You need a so called ECAS account to respond. If you don’t have it already you can make one in a few minutes. The account is personal.

We have attach a pdf version of consultation questionnaire that gives you overview of open and closed questions. We also attached the white paper that you need to upload. In this white paper, we have proposed ten points that we think are the most pressing ones and we believe that they could be fully supported by our colleagues in Europe. It is mostly multiple choice type of questions. Please make sure that you respond to these questions, though they seem rather closed, otherwise there is risk that our white paper is not taken seriously.

You should respond to the following parts of the consultation:

A) information about yourself, i.e. your country, background, name etc. NOTE that should tick the box that shows that your input is personal view (page 5 in pdf version).

D) Questionnaire targeting the Strategic Plan 2025-2027. It starts on page 43 in pdf version, and as mentioned you need to answer the questionnaire. It is mostly multiple choice assessment of various field and please just answer in accordance with your personal professional views and knowledge. Page 49-58 are tables focusing on each cluster in Horizon Europe. You may tick the ”no opinion” box under the clusters that you do not work with, i.e. ok that you just express your opinion under the health cluster table. Under the tables there is some opportunity to add text, you may use these fields to pitch elements of the attached white paper, i.e. pitch the aging biology topic.

E) Open questions with opportunity to write your own answers and upload input. There are three open questions that you can respond to, please draw on the points in the white paper. – key lessons learned on a) intervention modes and types of action, b) identification of funding priorities, c) implementation of the programme/projects and procedures and then you upload the white paper. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions.

Thanks in advance and best wishes,

Prof. Dr. Björn Schumacher, Prof. Dr. Folkert Kuipers, Prof. Dr. Lene Juel Rasmussen

The future of the ageing European society at stake: Tackling basic mechanisms of ageing to
halt the continuous rise in age-related chronic diseases

White paper by leading European Research Institutes for Ageing Research on perspectives of
the ageing European society

The doubling of life expectancy in the past 150 years can be seen as one of our civilization’s
greatest achievements. However, as life expectancy continues to rise, soon a third of the
population in the EU will be over 65 years old. Unfortunately, old age is inevitably associated
with chronic and invalidating diseases that hamper participation in society. More than half of
those over 65 suffer from multimorbidity, i.e., two or more chronic diseases are present at
the same time and this disproportionally affects people with low socio-economic status. A
significant and ever-increasing part of society’s resources must therefore be devoted to
treating and caring for older people. Already nowadays, half of the healthcare costs are spent
on the treatment of the elderly and by 2050 ageing-related social costs are estimated to
amount to the unsustainable level of 45% of the GDP. The risk of multimorbidity exponentially
increases at old age. For instance, around 40% of the 85-year olds suffer from dementia, so
almost every second person at that age is affected. It is therefore essential for the future of
our European society that age-related diseases are tamed. This is an enormous scientific and
medical challenge. It is evident that the current debate about pensions in relation to
demographic change will not offer the solution. Age-related diseases are the real powder keg
that needs to be defused. Only if the health problems of ageing are being solved, the period
of healthy aging and, thereby, social participation can be extended. Rapid advances in ageing
research give reasons for hope that healthy ageing, i.e., prolongation of the healthspan rather
than the lifespan, can be achieved and that age-related diseases can be effectively prevented.
In order to meet these challenges, massive investments in biomedical ageing research are
essential today in order to avert the unfathomable costs of a multimorbid society.

  1. Increasing life expectancy is associated with a sharp increase in age-related diseases
    such as neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes,
    immunodeficiency, chronic kidney disease, cancer and osteoporosis, severely
    affecting quality of life.
  2. The common cause of age-related diseases lies above all in the ageing process itself.
    Preventive treatments must therefore focus first and foremost to ageing in order to
    be able to successfully extend the healthspan.
  3. Hence, biomedical ageing research is the key qualification for healthy ageing and for
    an extended social participation in old age.
  4. Ageing research has demonstrated that healthy ageing without serious diseases is
    quite possible. Prolonged healthspan can be induced in all organisms studied, ranging
    from yeast and worms to mammals, implicating the existence of common biological
  5. Lifestyle and diet can significantly improve health in old age and delay age-related
    diseases – and they are still effective in old age. Demographic studies have shown that
    poorer sections of the population develop age-related diseases and die earlier than
    those in more privileged sections, which is a societally unacceptable situation. Here in
    particular, a healthier lifestyle to reduce risk factors and delay diseases can have an
    enormous effect on health in old age.
  6. Modern ageing research has now discovered genetic programs and pharmacological
    interventions that can control and thus delay the ageing process. Damage to various
    body cells drives the ageing process. Repair systems can alleviate such damage and
    longevity mechanisms can preserve vital bodily functions.
  7. The biological programs that regulate the ageing process provide targets for
    preventive therapies. Combating age-related diseases must be a central concern of
    biomedical and pharmaceutical research. Various types of therapy must work
    together in order to achieve long-term preservation of health in old age. The
    prevention of multimorbidity must be the clinical goal of therapy.
  8. Biological ageing research is younger than demographic change. Significant
    investments in biomedical aging research are essential to enable healthy ageing at a
    global scale. It is absolutely clear that the logistical and financial requirements of a
    chronically ill, ageing society exceed the necessary and overdue research investments
    many times.
  9. The US government (amongst others via the National Institute of Aging (NIA)) and
    large US-based companies (Google, Amazon) as well as several Asian (Singapore,
    China) and Arabic (Hevolution, KSA) governments have recently invested considerable
    sums in fundamental and applied ageing research. If the EU does not do the same
    soon, we will fall behind and this will make Europe less competitive and ill-prepared
    for the future. As a consequence, IP that is being generated during the process will be
    localized outside the EU. This will have unpredictable negative consequences for EU
    citizens far into the future. Therefore, it is necessary and urgent for the EU to prioritize
    funding for biomedical ageing research.
  10. In order to generate sufficient critical mass, the EU can build on established ageing
    research centers that have been initiated around Europe, particularly during the past
    two decades. A dedicated EU funding agency for research into the fundaments of
    ageing and age-related diseases should enable competitive ageing research for the
    future of a healthy ageing society in Europe.

Prof. Dr. Björn Schumacher, CECAD Excellence Cluster for Aging Research, University of
Cologne, Germany
Prof. Dr. Lene Juel Rasmussen, Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen, Denmark,
Prof. Dr. Folkert Kuipers, European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing (ERIBA),
University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands
Prof. Dr. Nektarios Tavernarakis, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Foundation for
Research and Technology-Hellas, and Research Director, Institute of Molecular Biology and
Biotechnology, Heraklion, Greece
Prof. Dr. Jan H.J. Hoeijmakers, Department of Molecular Genetics, ErasmusMC, Rotterdam,
The Netherlands
Prof. Dr. Cláudia Cavadas, Vice-rector for Research, Multidisciplinary Institute of Ageing
(MIA)-Portugal, University of Coimbra, Portugal

White paper

Horizon Europe program consultation