Message from the Executive Director

Prof. Charles MgoneBy the end of 2012, nine years after its launch, EDCTP had awarded 241 grants of which 106 were still active and 135 completed. Among the awarded grants 88 are clinical trials; 31 on HIV/AIDS, 25 on tuberculosis and 32 on malaria. Although no new calls for proposals were launched in 2012, it was a very busy bridging period between the current and the coming EDCTP programme planned to start in January 2014 under Horizon 2020. Preparations to ensure a smooth transition included the publishing of the EDCTP Strategic Business Plan for 2014-2024 in May and meetings with various stakeholders. The EDCTP Strategic Business Plan for 2014-2024 highlights the expanded scope of EDCTP to include neglected infectious disease and all phases (I-IV) of clinical trials. The business plan is very ambitious with a significantly increased budget, underpinning the European Union’s and Participating States’ commitment to the programme.

Among the meetings that took place in 2012 to prepare for the second EDCTP programme was an information meeting hosted by the Danish EU Presidency in Copenhagen in May. The goal of this meeting was to introduce the programme to the EU non-EDCTP members and invite them to join. Another important milestone of 2012 was the high-level conference on the second EDCTP programme that took place in November in Cape Town hosted by the Department of Science and Technology of South Africa. Participants of the conference, who included the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science; African Ministers of Health, Science and Technology; members of the European Parliament; the President of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program; heads of pharmaceutical companies, representatives of patient groups and members of the research community, reaffirmed their commitment to partner with EDCTP. Furthermore, to enhance synergy with other health product development partners, EDCTP had a series of meetings with pharmaceutical companies and Product Development Partnerships, and hosted an EDCTP-Industry workshop to discuss how this could be facilitated. Recommendations from this workshop will be taken up in the second phase of EDCTP.

In order to maintain the momentum of the EDCTP programme and in preparation for the next phase, the European Union awarded EDCTP a Coordination and Support Action Grant. Activities that are supported under this grant include landscape analysis and mapping of the new areas that EDCTP plans to venture into such as neglected infectious diseases and implementation research on optimisation of health services. The grant is also used to continue supporting networking and capacity building activities.

In 2012, EDCTP also awarded Strategic Primer Grants following a call for proposals that was launched in December 2011. The aim of this grant scheme is to support innovative projects that could generate results to inform future clinical trials, strengthen capacity and increase networking. This grant scheme generated a lot of interest.

Finally, the Partnership Board (PB) and Development Countries Coordinating Committee (DCCC) were dissolved to prepare for the formation of an interim Strategic Advisory Committee. The PB and DCCC jointly held their last meeting in October 2012. On behalf of EDCTP, I would like to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the members of these two bodies that over the years have served EDCTP tirelessly and unreservedly. It is our sincere hope that EDCTP can continue to count on their support.

Let me conclude by thanking all of you who continue to make this programme the success that it is. Thank you.

Charles S. Mgone
Executive Director