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France’s action for research to fight Covid-19

Funding and calls for projects

Emergency funds: 50 million €

On 19 March, the President of the Republic announced the establishment of an emergency fund of 50 million euros to fight the epidemic and the reinvestment of 5 billion euros in research over the next ten years.

This fund covers various financing schemes.

  • REACTing: 8 millions €

The Alliance for Life and Health Sciences (Aviesan) has been mobilized by the government to accelerate the research on the virus and on the COVID-19 disease through the action of the REACTing consortium (REsearch and ACTion targeting emerging infectious diseases), coordinated by INSERM (the National Institute for Health and Medical Research).

With 8 million € support from the Ministry of Solidarity and Health and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI), 20 scientific initiatives were selected on 11 March by the REACTing scientific council. They cover topics as diverse as epidemic modelling, treatment research or prevention. Only one project will be carried out abroad, in Cambodia, by the local Pasteur Institute (whose French director is paid by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs for technical assistance).

  • National Research Agency (ANR) initial budget of 3 million €

In addition to the actions carried out by the REACTing consortium, the ANR launched on 6 March 2020 the Flash Covid-19 call to mobilize the scientific communities on priorities identified by the World Health Organisation around 4 axes defined in coordination with REACTing and MESRI.

The total amount of the budget allocated and the number of projects selected will be defined at the end of the evaluation phase, expected in early April, and funding will be effective in the following days. The budget will therefore adapt to the needs of the scientific teams involved.

  • National Agency for HIV and Viral Hepatitis Research (ANRS): 4 million €

To support research on COVID-19 in resource-limited countries, the ANRS has launched a call for exceptional COVID-19 'South' projects starting Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

4 million € will be available for research projects led in resource-limited countries. The projects must be submitted by Monday 13 April evening.

Submitted projects must be submitted by at least one Southern-based research team associated with at least one French-based research team.

  • Ministry of Solidarity and Health: 4 million €

Call for clinical research projects on COVID-19 via the Innovarc-3 project repository platform, which identifies research projects that are particularly urgent to implement and whose impact could be crucial in the crisis management.

This call is in addition to the usual Ministry of Health research programs, and is open until April 6.

  • Public Investment Bank France (BPI France) - Call for projects to develop therapeutic solutions against Covid-19 (funded by the General Secretariat for the Investment (SGPI), operated by BPI France)

Support for companies and public partners that offer therapeutic solutions against Covid-19, by funding clinical trials in France soil, up to 50 million euros per project.

The call for projects, launched under the "Structuring research and development projects for competitiveness" action of the Investment for the Future Program, will be carried out by BPI France.

  • Ministry of the Armed Forces: 10 million €

The Ministry of Armed Forces is playing his part of the government plan to combat COVID-19 with a call for projects, launched by the Defence Innovation Agency (AID)

This call focuses on the search for innovative solutions, whether technological, organizational, managerial or industrial process adaptation, that could be directly mobilized to: protect the population, support the care of patients, testing the population, monitoring the evolution of the disease at the individual level and the evolution of the pandemic, or helping to limit constraints during the crisis period.

A budget of 10 million € is allocated for this call for projects (call closed on 12 April).

  • European Union

Finally, French research is also funded at the European level:

In the light of the current crisis, the European Commission has stepped up its financing with an emergency call for projects worth 47.5 million €. 18 research projects were selected as part of a specific Horizon 2020 call. French teams are involved in 8 of the funded projects and France coordinates one of them, I-MOVE-COVID-19.

INSERM participates in the European clinical trial “Discovery” which started on March 22, to test several experimental treatments against COVID-19. This trial will include 3,200 European patients, including 800 in France. The results should be available mid-April or late April.

French teams will also be able to participate in other European Union calls:

  • EDCTP COVID-19 call (ongoing): with a budget of 4.75 million € (including 1 million € provided by France) in support of research capacity development in sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Calls from the Public-Private Partnership for Innovative Medicine Initiatives COVID-19 (90 Million €, half of which is funded by the EU) for which 144 projects have been submitted and the results will be available in early May.

Overview of current initiatives and projects: all disciplines involved in the fight against the virus

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic, and without waiting for the availability of emergency funding, all French research is mobilized, from the life sciences to the humanities and social sciences through mathematics, to contain the spread of the virus, to test treatments, to try to find a vaccine and assess the social impact of this crisis.

This MESRI web page identifies all of these initiatives (in French):

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