European Commission abandons billion-euro flagship concept
Six consortia are in the latest round of ambitious proposals for European flagships, billion-euro research projects intended to run for 10 years. The consortium, called LifeTime, is one of the six candidates and aims to use three emerging technologies-machine learning, the study of single cells, and lab-grown organlike tissues called organoids-to map how human cells change over time and develop diseases.
There is just one snag: The European Commission has decided that none of these will be launched. The European Union's new framework program for 2021 to 2027 includes no flagships and the six research consortia face an uncertain future.
The six teams were told in March. Each candidate was awarded €1 million earlier this year to develop a detailed proposal and had already lined up support from hundreds of scientists at dozens of institutions and industry partners.
Although none of the projects was ever guaranteed to win the flagship funding, changing the whole system in the middle of the competition is disconcerting. For now, the consortia are continuing to develop detailed road maps for their proposed projects, which are due in May 2020.