Is there a fair allocation of healthcare research funds by the European Union?

Z. Kaló, Loek Hendrik Matheo van den Akker, Z. Vokó, Marcell Csanádi, János György Pitter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background This study aimed to investigate the distribution of European Union (EU) healthcare research grants across EU countries, and to study the effect of the potential influencing factors on grant allocation. Methods We analysed publicly available data on healthcare research grants from the 7th Framework Programme and the Horizon 2020 Programme allocated to beneficiaries between 2007 and 2016. Grant allocation was analysed at the beneficiary-, country-, and country group-level (EU-15 versus newer Member States, defined as EU-13). The investigated country-level explanatory variables included GDP per capita, population size, overall disease burden, and healthcare research excellence. Grant amounts per 100,000 inhabitants were used as an outcome variable in the regression analyses. Results Research funds were disproportionally allocated to EU-15 versus the EU-13, as 96.9% of total healthcare grants were assigned to EU-15 countries. At the beneficiary level, EU funding was positively influenced by participating in previous grants. The average grant amount per beneficiary was higher for EU-15 organizations. In the multiple regression analysis GDP per capita (p = 0.002) and research excellence (p<0.001) had a significant positive association with EU funding. Population size had an inverted U-shaped relationship with EU funding for healthcare research, having the largest per capita funding in second and the third quartiles (p = 0.03 and p = 0.02). Conclusion The uneven allocation of healthcare research funds across EU countries was influenced by GDP per capita, medical research excellence and population size. Wealthier countries with an average population size and strong research excellence in healthcare had more EU funding for healthcare research. Higher disease burden apparently was not associated with more EU research funding. While our findings are in line with analyses on previous periods, they suggest that the EU did not implement any effective policy measures to improve the unfair allocation of research grants.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0207046
JournalPloS one
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2019

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Health Services Research
Financial Management
European Union
health services
Organized Financing
funding
Population Density
population size
Research
burden of disease
Regression Analysis
Delivery of Health Care
research support
biomedical research
Regression analysis
Biomedical Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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Is there a fair allocation of healthcare research funds by the European Union? / Kaló, Z.; Matheo van den Akker, Loek Hendrik; Vokó, Z.; Csanádi, Marcell; Pitter, János György.

In: PloS one, Vol. 14, No. 4, e0207046, 01.04.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kaló, Z. ; Matheo van den Akker, Loek Hendrik ; Vokó, Z. ; Csanádi, Marcell ; Pitter, János György. / Is there a fair allocation of healthcare research funds by the European Union?. In: PloS one. 2019 ; Vol. 14, No. 4.
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abstract = "Background This study aimed to investigate the distribution of European Union (EU) healthcare research grants across EU countries, and to study the effect of the potential influencing factors on grant allocation. Methods We analysed publicly available data on healthcare research grants from the 7th Framework Programme and the Horizon 2020 Programme allocated to beneficiaries between 2007 and 2016. Grant allocation was analysed at the beneficiary-, country-, and country group-level (EU-15 versus newer Member States, defined as EU-13). The investigated country-level explanatory variables included GDP per capita, population size, overall disease burden, and healthcare research excellence. Grant amounts per 100,000 inhabitants were used as an outcome variable in the regression analyses. Results Research funds were disproportionally allocated to EU-15 versus the EU-13, as 96.9{\%} of total healthcare grants were assigned to EU-15 countries. At the beneficiary level, EU funding was positively influenced by participating in previous grants. The average grant amount per beneficiary was higher for EU-15 organizations. In the multiple regression analysis GDP per capita (p = 0.002) and research excellence (p<0.001) had a significant positive association with EU funding. Population size had an inverted U-shaped relationship with EU funding for healthcare research, having the largest per capita funding in second and the third quartiles (p = 0.03 and p = 0.02). Conclusion The uneven allocation of healthcare research funds across EU countries was influenced by GDP per capita, medical research excellence and population size. Wealthier countries with an average population size and strong research excellence in healthcare had more EU funding for healthcare research. Higher disease burden apparently was not associated with more EU research funding. While our findings are in line with analyses on previous periods, they suggest that the EU did not implement any effective policy measures to improve the unfair allocation of research grants.",
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AB - Background This study aimed to investigate the distribution of European Union (EU) healthcare research grants across EU countries, and to study the effect of the potential influencing factors on grant allocation. Methods We analysed publicly available data on healthcare research grants from the 7th Framework Programme and the Horizon 2020 Programme allocated to beneficiaries between 2007 and 2016. Grant allocation was analysed at the beneficiary-, country-, and country group-level (EU-15 versus newer Member States, defined as EU-13). The investigated country-level explanatory variables included GDP per capita, population size, overall disease burden, and healthcare research excellence. Grant amounts per 100,000 inhabitants were used as an outcome variable in the regression analyses. Results Research funds were disproportionally allocated to EU-15 versus the EU-13, as 96.9% of total healthcare grants were assigned to EU-15 countries. At the beneficiary level, EU funding was positively influenced by participating in previous grants. The average grant amount per beneficiary was higher for EU-15 organizations. In the multiple regression analysis GDP per capita (p = 0.002) and research excellence (p<0.001) had a significant positive association with EU funding. Population size had an inverted U-shaped relationship with EU funding for healthcare research, having the largest per capita funding in second and the third quartiles (p = 0.03 and p = 0.02). Conclusion The uneven allocation of healthcare research funds across EU countries was influenced by GDP per capita, medical research excellence and population size. Wealthier countries with an average population size and strong research excellence in healthcare had more EU funding for healthcare research. Higher disease burden apparently was not associated with more EU research funding. While our findings are in line with analyses on previous periods, they suggest that the EU did not implement any effective policy measures to improve the unfair allocation of research grants.

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