The potential benefits that personalized medicine approaches can bring to healthcare are discussed with much interest throughout the EU. This novel approach is based on a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of health and disease and it has now begun to show results. There is, however, a long way to go before the area is fully exploited. This special report reviews the European Commission's funding activities related to personalized medicine research. Although the specific focus on personalized medicine is relatively new, the European Commission has already committed significant funding to research in enabling technologies relevant to the field, as well as to specific disease areas for their application. A stocktaking exercise which started in 2010 has helped identify immediate and future challenges in personalized medicine research. The outcome of this exercise, summarized below, will contribute to developing a vision for future research funding at the EU level.