Public Release:  EULAR driving research and innovation in rheumatic and RMDs in Europe

European League Against Rheumatism

The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) has announced today at its Annual Congress major successes in driving the public agenda for addressing the escalating burden of RMDs in Europe. 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."

EULAR achieves recognition for Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases from major European Commission research initiative, Horizon 2020

EULAR announces momentous success after achieving recognition for RMDs as one of the five major chronic diseases to be addressed by Horizon 2020, Europe's largest ever EU Research and Innovation programme.

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.

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Funding for the four projects will come from a starting donation from EULAR. FOREUM seeks to initiate research of the highest quality oriented towards a broad range of RMDs and will be announcing the call for 2015 projects in the Autumn of this year. Further information can be found at http://www.foreum.org.

NOTES TO EDITORS: For further information, or to request an interview with spokespeople, please contact: EULAR congress Press Office: Room 104, Palais des congrès de Paris Email: eularpressoffice@cohnwolfe.com Onsite tel: +44 (0) 7880 173209 Twitter: @EULAR_Press

About EULAR

The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) is an umbrella organisation which represents scientific societies, health professional associations and organisations for people with rheumatic diseases throughout Europe.

EULAR aims to promote, stimulate and support the research, prevention, and treatment of rheumatic diseases and the rehabilitation of those it affects. With 45 scientific member societies, 35 People with Arthritis and Rheumatism in Europe (PARE) organisations, 17 health professionals associations and 26 corporate members, EULAR highlights the importance of combating rheumatic diseases through both medical means and patient care.

EULAR 2014 is set to be the biggest rheumatology event in Europe with almost 14,000 scientists, physicians, allied health professionals and related audiences in attendance from 130 countries. Over the course of the congress there will be 302 oral and 1,806 poster abstract presentations, 155 sessions, 725 lectures, 33 poster tours with 421 invited speakers.

To find out more about the activities of EULAR, visit: http://www.eular.org

About Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the largest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020). It is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. In addition to the private investment that this money will attract, it promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en

About FOREUM

FOREUM Foundation for Research in Rheumatology is devoted to promote research in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). It seeks to raise funds from interested commercial and non-commercial donors that share FOREUM's vision and goals: recognising that research and innovation in our field are crucial for improving both the prevention and the management of rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders (RMDs) and, hence, the living, working and socio-economic conditions of the more than 120 million people in Europe variously afflicted by RMDs.

Whereas FOREUM will define its strategic goals and operations independently, the intention is that it will coordinate its research activities with EULAR in order to avoid unnecessary overlap or otherwise inefficient deployment of precious research resources.

FOREUM is recognised by the Swiss authorities according to Swiss law and foundation regulations as a not-for-profit organisation. Interested potential donors may contact the FOREUM secretariat for more information at info@foreum.org or call +41 43 31 55 66.

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