International funders to work hand in hand to improve global heart health

Leading cardiovascular research funders have joined forces in a new partnership to advance the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the world’s biggest killers, including heart attack and stroke.

The Global Cardiovascular Research Funders Forum (GCRFF) has been founded by uniting 11 leading independent cardiovascular research funders.

The new Forum aims to accelerate the pace of progress by creating opportunities for cross-border coordination and collaboration between world-leading cardiovascular researchers and organisations.

The founding members are:

  • The American Heart Association
  • The British Heart Foundation
  • The Danish Heart Foundation,
  • The Dutch Heart Foundation,
  • The German Centre for Cardiovascular Research,
  • The Leducq Foundation,
  • The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada,
  • The Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canada,
  • The National Heart Foundation of Australia,
  • The National Heart Foundation of New Zealand
  • The Swedish Heart Lung Foundation.

The Forum includes many of the biggest independent funders of cardiovascular research in the world, who together support more than US$600 million in research annually. The organisations have supported countless breakthroughs that have improved the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular diseases worldwide.

However, cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, still kill 19 million people each year worldwide and around 550 million people are living with them. They are the biggest cause of death and disability globally, meaning urgent progress is needed.

The Forum’s collective mission is to “advance global cardiovascular health by catalysing, supporting and promoting transformational international research efforts in heart, stroke and circulatory diseases.”

The Forum will initially collaborate by sharing information on research funding priorities, strategic initiatives, and clinical trials.

A sub-group of research funders has also been formed to facilitate the coordination of international clinical trials. The group will help researchers in different countries collaborate on plans and coordinate funding applications for ambitious global clinical trials that might not be feasible in a single country or with support from a single funder.

The initiative could see trials delivered faster, with more generalisable results and make them more affordable for national research funders. Ultimately this could lead to findings that save and improve the lives of people throughout the world.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chair of the Global Cardiovascular Research Funders Forum and Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation said: "Despite the astonishing progress that research has made in recent decades, heart disease remains the world’s biggest killer. Today 35 people will die every minute from a heart and circulatory disease.

“Putting an end to the suffering caused by these diseases requires an immense international effort. By coming together as the world’s leading funders in cardiovascular science, we can coordinate our research efforts and set a clear international agenda for cardiovascular science. By acting as one, we aim to accelerate the pace of research progress to save and improve lives worldwide.”