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Partnerships complement Horizon Europe. They aim at developing the European Research Area and gather representatives from different entities.

European partnerships are initiatives where the European Union together with private and/or public partners commit to jointly support the development and implementation of a programme of research and innovation activities.

The partners could represent industry, universities, research organisations, bodies with a public service remit at local, regional, national or international level or civil society organisations including foundations and NGOs.

Three different types of partnerships

Co-programmed European Partnerships

Co-programmed European Partnerships are public-private partnerships between the European Commission and associations representing the large stakeholders involved in specific fields. They are based on an arrangement between the Commission and private and/or public partners.

This type of contractual arrangement specifies the objectives, the commitments from all sides involved regarding financial and/or in-kind contributions, the key performance and impact indicators, the outputs to be delivered and the reporting modalities.

The agreements also include the identification of complementary research and innovation activities, detailed in Strategic Research and Innovation Agendas that are implemented separately by the partners and by the EU through work programmes, where they are allocated ring-fenced budgets.

Co-funded European Partnerships

Co-funded European Partnerships are public-to-public partnerships, based on a grant agreement between the Commission and the consortium of partners in which national and regional funding programmes on a common thematic are pooled together, normally with an EC top-up, to launch joint trans-national calls for proposals. This type of partnership is best suited to partnerships involving public authorities, but it is possible also to include foundations and international partners.

The programmes need to specify the objectives, key performance and impact indicators, and outputs to be delivered, based on the commitment of the partners for financial and/or in-kind contributions and the integration of their relevant activities.

Institutionalised European Partnerships

Institutionalised European Partnerships cover research and innovation programmes undertaken by several Member States. This type of partnerships are based on a Decision by the Council and European Parliament, in accordance with different legal sources. They are often referenced to as “Article 185” for partnerships executing national programmes, and ”Article 187” for what in Horizon 2020 was called Joint Undertakings. This category now also includes the EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities, in compliance with the EIT Regulation and the EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA).
Such partnerships will be implemented only where other forms of European Partnerships would not achieve the objectives or generate the expected impacts, and if they are justified by a long-term perspective and high degree of integration. In fact, they normally cover very specific value chains, where a significant integration of private and public research and innovation efforts are needed to achieve the results of ambitious Strategic Research and Innovation Agendas.

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