Research and innovation partnerships have been introduced into the European R&I landscape with the aim to develop the European Research Area (ERA). Partnerships were originally designed and have been further developed to overcome the fragmentation in the R&I landscape, to avoid duplication of efforts, to address economic crisis, competitiveness and innovation. In practice, European Partnerships are initiatives where the European Union (EU) 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

  1. Co-programmed European Partnerships

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

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

They 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.

  1. 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 programme needs 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 integration of their relevant activities.

  1. Institutionalised European Partnerships

Institutionalised European Partnerships cover research and innovation programmes undertaken by several Member States. These type of partnerships are based on a Decision by the Council and European Parliament, in accordance with different legal sources. Indeed they are often also referenced to as “Article 185” for partnerships executing national programmes, and ”Article 187” for what in Horizon 2020 was called Joint Undertakings. In addition, under this category it is also possible to find now 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.

Areas of partnership candidates

The partnership candidates are collected across 5 areas:

The latest updates on partnerships can be checked here:

Open consultation on the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda

Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda of the different partnerships are or will be open soon for public consultation. If you are interested in giving your opinion, and contributing to shape the future of Europe RDI programmes, you can find them on the webpage of the different partnerships, or by asking advise to your National Contact Points.

For further information, we are happy to discuss with you, feel free to contact Benjamin Questier, Strategic Advisor, Head of European R&D and Innovation Support.

Luxinnovation is the National Contact Point for Horizon 2020, the European framework programme for research and innovation. Building on our decade-long experience of EU funding programmes, we are able to respond to questions on where to get up-to-date information on programmes and calls for project proposals, what programmes are the most suitable for you or where and how to find European partners.


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