Category Archives: Nature Medicine

Straight talk with…Leonor Beleza

Portuguese businessman António Champalimaud surprised his family when his will, opened after his 2004 death, revealed that he was bequeathing euro500 million ($690 million), about a quarter of his estate, to establish a foundation for applied biomedical research. He also surprised law professor and one-time Portuguese Health Minister Leonor Beleza, whom he named to lead the foundation. Beleza, who met Champalimaud just once, agreed in principle to run his proposed foundation during a phone call in 2000 but did not hear any further until his death. She has now returned from a global tour of medical research institutions and foundations lasting over a year to determine how best to spend Champalimaud’s millions. Continue reading

New commissioner spells new direction for EU research funding

The EU’s €50.5 billion ($69.4 billion) research framework is the biggest such fund in the world. But it is not known for being nimble, and it is underused by European businesses. Now, as the seven-year program approaches its half-time review, a change in the political lineup could lead to shifts in funding priorities that favor ambitious pan-European ideas.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, a former member of the Irish parliament, took office last month as European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and will oversee a portfolio that combines for the first time all three areas. At her nomination hearing in January, she promised to make funding more accessible to business and to seek new backing for research. Continue reading