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Public health in the new European Union research programme
  1. M McCarthy
  1. M McCarthy, Public Health Research Group, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor M McCarthy;

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Lobbying is needed

On 23 September 2002, the European Council and the European Parliament agreed the sixth Framework Programme for Research 2003–2008 ( The new programme reflects the lobbying and interests of many interested parties, including national research councils, industry, professional organisations, and politicians. Over the past 20 years, EU research programmes have given increasing prominence to health. The new programme has health as its first “priority thematic area”, with a budget of 2.3 billion euro over six years. But almost all of this budget will be for biotechnology research: epidemiology and public health have not fared well in the programme.1

A positive development has been creation of a new broad field of research—to support policy ( The Commission’s research directorate took the innovative step of asking other policy directorates to propose areas for research. One of the three sections for policy research is entitled “Providing health, security and opportunity to the people of Europe”. The health directorate (Sanco) has a new public health action programme2 for the parallel period 2003–2008, addressing a broad range of issues. But the limited set of topics proposed …

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