Funding opportunities from the Innovative Healthcare Initiative: fostering healthcare innovations with public-private partnerships”


1 December 2023
IHI fosters healthcare innovations with public-private partnerships. In this article you will read more about the 45% co-funding criteria, the importance of early engagement, the role of IHI Call Days and the upcoming deadlines for specific calls.
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) represent important drivers of the innovation process in the Health sector. By definition, Consortia taking on these cross-sectorial projects are mainly composed of academics and industrial partners, along with key stakeholders like patient advocacy organizations, learned societies and/or non-profit organizations. For the large majority of these projects, PPPs have a common goal: to further the scientific validation of emerging health and life science strategies towards their European and national implementation in the respective healthcare systems for their ultimate adoption by people and patients. Validation, implementation, adoption!

What is the Innovative Health Initiative?

To enable European PPPs, the Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) gathers the European Union and European life science industries, represented by the industry associations COCIR[1], EFPIA[2] (including Vaccines Europe), EuropaBio[3] and MedTech Europe[4]. IHI arguably offers one of the most attractive funding instruments on the European level. Flanked to the Horizon Europe Programme, the IHI launches approximately three to four calls a year, i) half being single stage, i.e., the Consortium coordinator needs to get Industrial partners onboard right from the beginning of grant preparation, which is a time-consuming and sometimes hard-negotiation process, and ii) half having two stages, which implies that the IHI already has formed a predefined Industry Consortium that will co-develop the project workplan only during stage two with the winning Consortium of stage one; in that case, the winner-takes-all rule applies, so two-stage call topics are very competitive. Given these facts and based on our experience, one may reasonably deduce that single-stage calls are a more complicated process and require more energy during grant preparation, but are slightly less competitive than two-stage calls.

“Time is of the essence! The 45% co-funding criterion means that a key mission of the Consortium coordinator is to find collaboration opportunities with Industrial partners and secure enough co-funding from them. […] The more co-funding the coordinator can secure, the more budget the Consortium can request until the indicative budget cap.”


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How much budget can an IHI Consortium request?

Depending on the IHI call, requested budgets per project range from 4 to 15 million euros. This funding instrument has one key requirement: the total project volume, so-called total eligible costs, must be covered by at least 45% of co-funding from Industrial Partners, either via in-kind or financial contribution. Based on these two facts, for instance, for a project with a maximum requested EU budget of 15 million euros, the coordinator and his/her Consortium can envisage a project of 27 million euros (total eligible costs), which includes 12 million euros coming from the Industrial partners.

During the grant preparation of single-stage calls specifically, what are the implications of this 45% co-funding criterion in practice?

This criterion means that a key mission of the Consortium coordinator is to find opportunities to collaborate and secure enough co-funding from Industrial Partners. These partners, mainly Members of the IHI Industry Associations, play a crucial role by adding their expert view and co-execute specific project tasks. The more co-funding the coordinator can secure, the more budget the coordinator can request until reaching the 15-million euro cap, in the case of the previous example, see previous question.

Where to start?

First, the IHI publishes the preliminary call information on the IHI webpage before the official call publication in the EU Tender portal, so potential Consortium coordinators can already i) get to know the content and requirements of the topic, ii) evaluate whether there is a match with their respective field of expertise and iii) start networking with relevant academic and Industrial Partners. In particular for single-stage calls, we strongly recommend starting networking with all potential partners as soon as this preliminary information is online.

Subsequently, the program managers and lawyers from the IHI Office organize Call Days that consist of Info sessions for each and every call topic in the form of webinars. There detailed recommendations, tips and tricks are provided for a smooth and competitive application. Specifically in single-stage calls, Consortium coordinators have the opportunity to give a five-minute pitch to showcase their project idea and approach, enabling networking with potential Industrial partners. Overall, these IHI Call Days are materialized by an online platform containing a matchmaking platform in order to facilitate the initial contact between proposal coordinators and Industrial partners.

Reminder: this only applies for single-stage calls; coordinators applying for two-stage calls are forbidden to reach out to Industrial partners during the first stage because of the predefined Industry Consortium that is already in place and that will only be involved in the second stage.

Main tips for Consortium coordinators targeting an IHI call topic

Tip 1. Time is of the essence! Study as soon as possible the information on the call topic, start to draft the backbone of your project idea and the key aspects of the workplan; the preliminary information on the call topic will already allow you to activate your network. Don’t wait for the IHI Info Sessions to reach out to potential Industrial partners; you will already have some information to activate your network.

Tip 2. Throughout the overall grant preparation, your Consortium will need to know how much requested budget it can apply for, so the sooner you negotiate with your potential Industrial partners and secure co-funding from them, the sooner you and your Consortium will be able to set the whole project volume, corresponding tasks, budget per beneficiary/Institution and thus, commitment from each partner.

Good luck!

Upcoming deadlines

Weblink to future opportunities

  • Call 4 – stage 2: April 23 2024
  • Call 5 – single stage: January 16 2024
  • Call 6 – stage 1: still to be determined
  • Call 7 – single stage: still to be determined


[1] European Trade Association representing the medical imaging, radiotherapy, health ICT and electromedical industries

[2] European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations

[3] European Association for Bioindustries, Europe’s largest and most influential biotech industry group, according to the EuropaBio website

[4] European trade Association representing medical technology industries, from diagnosis to cure

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