The aim of the Federal Government's health research policy is that everyone should be able to profit from the results of research. New and improved diagnostic procedures and therapies are being developed to help sick people more effectively. And new approaches to and ways of prevention are being sought which can contribute to stopping illnesses from even occurring. Medical progress will also help to reduce costs. New operational techniques will enable less invasive treatment and, at the same time, shorten the patient's stay in hospital. The BMBF is providing health research with funds of about 5.5 billion euros between 2011 and 2014.
BMBF-funded health research has contributed to many medical breakthroughs in the recent years. The aim of health research is to provide improved medical treatment in order to enhance people's quality of life. With its "Health Research Framework Programme", which was adopted on 8 December 2010, the Federal Government is re-orienting its health research and focusing on studying the most common diseases. Six German Health Research Centres are being established for this purpose.
The new government programme focuses on the following fields of action
A growing number of people are suffering from common diseases such as cancer, cardio-vascular diseases, metabolic diseases, infectious diseases, lung diseases or neurodegenerative diseases. In many cases, it still takes too long for the results of research into these diseases to become part of regular medical care and thus benefit patients. Making this process, which is known as translation, faster and more effective is one of the key principles behind the framework programme. The Federal Government is establishing German Centres for Health Research to pool research into a number of particularly important common diseases. read more: Pooling research into common diseases
Individualized medicine is a highly relevant topic; medicine that is more strongly tailored to individual needs and conditions is almost within reach. This has been made possible through recent major advancements in our understanding of basic disease mechanisms as well as the technological achievements of research in life sciences. With more specific diagnostic tests, treatment can be better customized for individual patients. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has launched an action plan for funding research in individualized medicine. read more: New Prospects in Individualized Medicine - Treating Illness More Effectively
Insight into how nutrition, physical exercise, other behaviour and the environment affect gene activity provides new opportunities to better understand and prevent the development of common diseases such as diabetes or cardio-vascular diseases. We need to know more about whether and how prevention works. As part of the National Prevention Strategy, the BMBF is developing an action plan which brings together research funding for all approaches that are relevant to prevention and nutrition research - from epigenetics to epidemiology - in an interdisciplinary effort. read more: Prevention and nutrition research
The ambition to provide everyone with an optimal and safe treatment continues to be of central importance in health care. At the same time, there is growing pressure to cut costs in the health care system. It is important to balance good health care and economic considerations. The Federal Government supports the establishment of an efficient German health care research system and health economy, with a special focus on patient orientation and patient safety. read more: Health care research
The health industry is one the major growth areas in industrialized nations. It includes the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology and medical technology as well as the provision of medical services. The Federal Government is helping to increase the innovativeness of the health industry and accelerate the translation of research results into practical applications. New ways of knowledge and technology transfer are being tested and efforts are being made to ensure that the legal framework conditions facilitate research and innovation. read more: Health industry
Life sciences will play an important role in addressing the challenges of the 21st century. Research into common diseases and individualized medicine, or sustainable agricultural production and preparation of alternative fuels - these things require many new approaches, methods and technologies. Basic research in the life sciences enables the development of the procedures and applications needed in the fields of health research and bioeconomy. read more: Basic Research in the Life Sciences
International cooperation generates synergies for medical progress. Research infrastructures can be established and used jointly. At the same time, health research must also contribute to global health care. The Federal Government is strengthening the internationalization of health research through the establishment of joint research infrastructures and is promoting the international coordination of research programmes. A special focus is being placed on the study of neglected and poverty-related diseases in cooperation with developing countries. read more: Global cooperation in health research