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Brussels, 21 September 2011

Research & Innovation: Commission calls for partnerships – frequently asked questions

An invitation to public and private actors to join forces at European level to apply research and innovation solutions to major challenges facing society has been issued by the European Commission in a Communication published on 21 September (see IP/11/1059). This MEMO gives some additional information on the role of partnering in research and innovation.

What is partnering?

Partnering brings together the public sector at European, national and regional levels in public-public partnerships ("P2Ps") as well as the public and private sector in public-private partnerships ("PPPs"). Partnering can help to maximise the contribution of Research and Innovation to achieving smart and sustainable growth in the EU, by making the research and innovation ("R&I") cycle more efficient and shorten the time from research to market. This is essential to achieve the European Research Area (ERA) by 2014 and to deliver on the Innovation Union, the Digital Agenda and other EU 2020 Flagships.

What types of partnering approaches exist at the European level?

P2Ps align national strategies, helping to overcome fragmentation of the public research effort. They also offer the potential of more efficient interaction with strategic international partners.




100 projects since 2002

Coordinate national research programmes in a selected area


9 projects since 2007

Enhance joint funding by MS and EU in a selected area

Article 185 Initiatives

5 initiatives since 2003

Integrate national and European research programmes in a selected area


10 initiatives since 2008

Coordinate / integrate national research programmes to address a societal challenge

SET (Strategic Energy Technology) Plan

since 2007

Accelerate development of low-carbon energy technologies and streamline national research programmes in strategic technology areas at EU level


since 2008

Joint policy learning and development of better innovation support

PPPs at European level are undertaken jointly by the EU and other public entities together with private partners to achieve shared objectives. PPPs in R&I aim at strengthening European industrial leadership and are used to leverage R&I investments in a specific area.




5 initiatives since 2007

Strengthen European industrial leadership in well defined areas


Modernise European Air Traffic Management (ATM)

Recovery Plan PPPs

3 PPPs since 2008

Future Internet

since 2011


since 2009

Recovery Plan PPPs: Maintain and strengthen industry sectors hit by economic crisis

FI-PPP: Ensure future Internet development at the service of society

COLIPA: Help industry comply with EU legislation

European Industrial Initiatives (EIIs) under the SET Plan

7 EIIs since 2010

Address the demonstration/market rollout bottleneck in the innovation chain of low carbon energy technologies

Are there any concrete examples of partnering?

Examples of Public-Public Partnerships:

Information & Communication technologies: The Ambient Assisted Living Initiative (AAL), which gathers 20 Member States and 3 Associated States, is one example of Public-Public Partnerships. It focuses on innovation in support of polices to address demographic change. A total investment of more than €600 million has been mobilised to provide new ICT- based products and services and sustainable care systems for active and independent living of an ageing population. Small and medium sized enterprises constitute more than 40% of the participating entities in this partnership.

Fighting rare diseases: There are at least 6000 known rare diseases, affecting some 20 million European citizens. The ERA-NET E-Rare has developed a common European programme on rare disease research and launched three joint calls of € 10 million. This, together with FP7 rare diseases related calls, means that up to 40% of public research in this area is now carried out on a coordinated basis. Visit

Environmental protection (Baltic Sea): The Baltic Sea's capacity to provide the goods and services on which people depend has been significantly reduced due to natural and human pressures. To address this, nine countries are contributing to the ERA-NET Plus - BONUS Plus, through a joint call of € 22 million. This action also addresses wider policy aims under the Commission's Marine Strategy and Maritime Policy. Visit

Metrology: Since 2007, the science of measurement has been framed within the multiannual joint programme of the Article 185 Initiative on Metrology (EMRP). With a value of over €400 million, it has significantly reduced the duplication of research effort by pooling 44% of overall metrology resources in one initiative. Visit

Research into Alzheimer's disease: Neurodegenerative diseases are recognised by the MS as a major societal challenge. 23 countries have engaged in the pilot Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) on Neurodegenerative Diseases, including Alzheimer's. The JPI has launched its pilot call with a total budget of € 14 million. Visit

Examples of Public-Private Partnerships:

Environmental protection (Air traffic): A good example of Public-Private Partnerships is the Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) which brings together 86 organisations in 16 countries, among which 54 industries, 15 Research Centres and 17 Universities as well as the European Union. It aims to reduce the environmental impact of aviation while safeguarding competitiveness in Europe's aeronautical sector. The long-term nature and inherent high risk of the research involved necessitate public funding and cooperation among key industrial players. To date, investment amounts to almost € 300 million and the first flight tests involving resulting innovative technologies have been carried out. Visit:

Computing & Nanotech research: With public contributions from the EU and participating MS, the ARTEMIS (embedded computing systems) and ENIAC (nanoelectronics) JTIs aim to implement a research agenda defined by industry and academic/research organisations. Up to now, the EU and MS have committed more than € 700 million to innovative collaborative research projects targeting application fields such as health, manufacturing, automotive and energy efficiency. and

Sustainable manufacturing: Under the European Recovery Plan, the Factories of the Future PPP involves a research programme of € 1.2 billion to support the development of new and sustainable manufacturing technologies. It brings together a broad range of industrial stakeholders and aims to transform industrial processes to ensure global competitiveness and leadership.

What is the role of European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs)?

European Innovation Partnerships are a new approach to EU research and innovation to speed up innovations addressing the major challenges facing our society today. They are neither a P2P nor a PPP but provide a framework bringing together stakeholders across policy areas, sectors and borders. The goal is to pool resources from EU, national and regional, public and private sources in a way never possible before, directing larger resources towards addressing common problems.

Each EIP will tackle a specific societal challenge that is shared across the EU such as energy security, climate change and resource efficiency or health and ageing, and where there is a large new market potential for EU businesses.

The pilot EIP on Active & Healthy Ageing (AHA) is intended to test the concept and assess how it can best be implemented. Its target is to increase the average healthy lifespan in the EU by two years by 2020. It seeks to improve the health status and quality of life of European citizens, to support the long-term sustainability and efficiency of health and social care systems; and to enhance the competitiveness of EU industry through business and expansion of new markets. It will focus on applying innovative solutions in areas such as health promotion and prevention; care and cure and independent living and assistive technologies for older people.

What are the next steps for partnering at the European level?

The Commission's proposals for Horizon 2020, which are due to be adopted by the end of this year, will build on the steps set out in this Communication. The aim is to provide a common set of rules for future EU P2Ps and PPPs in order to simplify participation, cover the full cycle of research and innovation, while leaving the necessary flexibility for individual initiatives to achieve their objectives.

In the light of a more extensive experience with the partnering approach in research and innovation, the intention is to launch a strategic exercise to determine where and how the partnering approach can be applied most successfully and the types of initiatives to which the instruments are best suited.

See IP/11/1059

For more information on Innovation Union, go to:

For more information on Digital Agenda, go to:

For more information on Europe 2020, go to:

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