The European Nursing Research Foundation (ENRF) has been invited to attend the Scientific Panel for Health (SPH) forum titled “Enabling health equality in Europe – the role of health research”, with the objective to explore the current situation, barriers in participation and engagement with health research, and ways forward, tackling the following question: Can increased engagement with health research inform and support more effective prevention measures and improve access to appropriate healthcare, and thereby reduce inequalities, knowing that health inequalities within Europe and across regions are significant and remain present?

Being the European Commission’s science-led expert group based on the provisions of the Horizon 2020 Specific Programme, and tasked with helping to achieve better health and wellbeing for all, the SPH has published several consensus documents (e.g.: “Building the Future of Health Research”, 2018) setting out a vision for the future of health research, building on input from the EU stakeholders. With this event it aims to sketch important elements of inequality in access to appropriate care from different perspectives, formulate the status and the challenges that need to be addressed; To analyse the aspects of inequality from a perspective of health care & research organization: workforce, research policies, funding sources, as well as the approaches that provide elements of success in improving health equality (with examples from the areas of infectious diseases & vaccination, rare diseases, public-private partnerships and digital solutions).

In the last ENRF newsletter, the ENRF President expressed that “evidence-based nursing and EU policy-making have to go hand in hand, mainly when we see how health, and in particular nursing, fits into the overall research agenda”. Disruption is all around us, and the research ecosystem is undergoing rapid and profound changes, due to a wide range of factors, from advances in technology and funding pressures to political uncertainty and population shifts. Research base, mainly in nursing, is essential not just for nurses but also for funders of health services and health policy makers. Within a context of the increasing austerity measures and disruptive models to reform healthcare systems throughout the EU, it is therefore key that Nursing Research becomes an imperative component in building a healthier and competitive Europe.

Speakers: Karin Sipido (SPH), Irene Norstedt & Henriette van Ejil (Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, EU Commission), Stefan Schreck (Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, EU Commission), and Marco Marsella (Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, EU Commission).