While malaria research has traditionally been strong in Europe, targeted and sustained support for cooperative malaria research at EU level, namely through the EU's 6th and 7th Framework Programmes for research and technological development, FP6 (2002-2006) and FP7 (2007-2013), has boosted both impact and visibility of European malaria research. Most of the European malaria research community is now organized under a number of comprehensive and complementary research networks and projects, assembled around four key areas: (1) fundamental research on the malaria parasite and the disease, (2) development of new malaria drugs, (3) research and development of a malaria vaccine, and (4) research to control the malaria-transmitting mosquito vector. Considerable efforts were undertaken to ensure adequate participation of research groups from disease-endemic countries, in particular from Africa, with the long-term aim to strengthen cooperative links and research capacities in these countries. The concept of organizing European research through major strategic projects to form a "European Research Area" (ERA) was originally developed in the preparation of FP6, and ERA formation has now turned into a major EU policy objective explicitly inscribed into the Lisbon Treaty. EU-funded malaria research may serve as a showcase to demonstrate how ERA formation can successfully be implemented in a given area of science when several surrounding parameters converge to support implementation of this strategic concept: timely coincidence of political stimuli, responsive programming, a clearly defined--and well confined--area of research, and the readiness of the targeted research community who is well familiar with transnational cooperation at EU level. Major EU-funded malaria projects have evolved into thematic and organizational platforms that can collaborate with other global players. Europe may thus contribute more, and better, to addressing the global research agenda for malaria.
2011. Vol. 10, 11- p.