From August 16-19 international experts, politicians and decision makers met at the Tyrolean village Alpbach for this year´s Health Symposium, which focused on the question “Who Decides Health?” CeMM´s Scientific Director Giulio Superti-Furga was invited chair of the discussion “Fair Society, Healthy Lives” following the keynote presentation by Sir Michael Marmot and led a plenary interview with John Ioannidids on “How Reliable is Evidence in Medicine”. Together with Jochen Taupitz, Giulio Superti-Furga co-moderated the breakout working group “Creating Knowledge: Which Freedoms Should Clinical Research Have“. In his opening keynote he stressed that freedom in medically-oriented research means to have the financial freedom and possibility of performing a clinically oriented research program. Without reducing in any possible way basic research funding, the challenges society faces, in light of the demographic development and increase in mobility, would require a dedicated research health program. He pointed out the areas of infections (viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic), cardiovascular and metabolic disorders (obesity, atherosclerosis etc), as well as cognitive, psychiatric and neurological disorders as three possible priorities that are both of strategic value for the country and areas of existing scientific competence in Austria. To this effect Giulio Superti-Furga presented the hypothesis of a dedicated and coordinated research effort in medicine and health sciences, to complement the basic research funding programs, in the shape of an Austrian “National Institute of Health (NIH)”.