What is IMI?

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IMI stands for Innovative Medicine Initiative and is an European project. More precisely, it is a joint initiative (public-private partnership) of the DG Research of the European Commission, representing the European Communities, and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). IMI is built as a Joint Technology Initiative, one of the specific project type / instrument available to the EU and meant to be implemented as a Joint Undertaking. The main goal of the IMI is, to quote the IMI site, "to improve health by speeding up the development of, and patient access to, innovative medicines, particularly in areas where there is an unmet medical or social need".

How is IMI funded?

IMI has been running since 2008, with a first round covering the years 2008 – 2014, with a budget of 2 billion euros, making it the largest public private partnership in the world at that time. IMI has now entered a new phase, called IMI2, which will span 2014-2022 and will focus on a new set of priorities, such as to develop next generation vaccines, medicines and treatments, such as new antibiotics, and has a budget brought to 3.26 billion euros.

  • €1.638 billion (half the budget) comes from the Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing Societal Challenge of Horizon 2020, the EU's framework programme for research and innovation;
  • €1.425 billion is committed to the programme by EFPIA companies;
  • up to €213 million can be committed by other life science industries or organisations that decide to contribute to IMI2 as members or Associated Partners in individual projects.

What are IMI main priorities?

In particular, IMI2 projects aim to:

  • improve the current drug development process by providing support for the development of tools, standards and approaches to assess efficacy, safety and quality of regulated health products;
  • develop diagnostic and treatment biomarkers for diseases clearly linked to clinical relevance and approved by regulators;
  • where possible, reduce the time to reach clinical proof of concept in medicine development, such as for cancer, immunological, respiratory, neurological and neurodegenerative diseases;
  • increase the success rate in clinical trials of priority medicines identified by the World Health Organisation;
  • develop new therapies for diseases for which there is a high unmet need, such as Alzheimer’s disease and limited market incentives, such as antimicrobial resistance;
  • reduce the failure rate of vaccine candidates in phase III clinical trials through new biomarkers for initial efficacy and safety checks.

How is IMI organized?

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is a public-private partnership (PPP) between the European Union, represented by the European Commission, and the European Federation for Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).

IMI governance structure includes the following:

  • The IMI Governing Board is our highest decision-making body. It is composed of an equal number of representatives from our two founding members, namely the European Commission and EFPIA.
  • The IMI Scientific Committee is made up of scientific experts from diverse fields and provides us with high-level recommendations.
  • The IMI States Representatives Group consists of representatives of the EU Member States and the countries associated to the EU's research programmes. It provides opinions on scientific, administrative and financial matters.
  • The Strategic Governing Groups comprise representatives of pharmaceutical companies as well as people from the European Commission and the IMI Scientific Committee. They develop our Call topics, and ensure coordination of our projects in key areas with each other and with the European Commission's wider research programmes.
  • The IMI Executive Director is responsible for our day-to-day management and heads up our Programme Office.
  • Held annually, the IMI Stakeholder Forum brings together our stakeholders to learn about our latest activities and plans, and provide us with their feedback.


Taking part in IMI project

All information about IMI Call organization and application is available from the following IMI official pages



This piece mirrors information available from IMI and has been included in the IMI FAIRplus Cookbook as background information to ensure a complete overview in a self contained resource.

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Name Affiliation orcid CrediT role
Philippe Rocca-Serra University of Oxford, Data Readiness Group 0000-0001-9853-5668 Writing - Original Draft
Susanna Assunta Sansone University of Oxford, Data Readiness Group 0000-0001-5306-5690 Writing - Original Draft