Research and Innovation Partnerships were introduced into the European research and innovation landscape as a result of the Lisbon Strategy with the aim of developing the European Research Area (ERA). These partnerships were originally designed and have been further developed to overcome fragmentation in the research and innovation landscape, avoid duplication of efforts, address economic crises, increase competitiveness and support innovation.
In recent years, however, there has been a proliferation of tools and initiatives dedicated to coordinating, collaborating, and aligning national strategies and programs, as the approach has been to launch new partnership tools while maintaining existing ones. This has led to a rather complex landscape of sometimes overlapping instruments, ranging from member state-led initiatives to instruments strongly supported by the European Commission and Horizon 2020, to partnerships between public agencies to alliances between the public and private sectors.
As part of Horizon Europe's strategic planning, the European Commission has implemented a process of reviewing and streamlining existing European Partnerships with the aim of reducing their number and improving their impact and effectiveness.
With Horizon Europe, the concept of European Partnerships has been transformed into a set of structured tools with a clear strategic vision, on which about 25% of the resources of the new European Framework Programme will be channelled.
Horizon Europe therefore strongly supports, with an innovative vision, European partnerships to address global challenges and industrial modernization through joint research and innovation efforts with Member States, the private sector, foundations and other stakeholders. Partnerships represent, in fact, effective mechanisms to aggregate research and innovation efforts in a coherent way and provide functional responses to EU policy needs, developing close synergies with national and regional programs, bringing together a wide range of actors around a common goal and transforming research and innovation into concrete socio-economic outcomes.
There are a total of 49 partnerships and they are divided into three types:
Established between the Commission and private and/or public partners. They are based on memoranda of understanding and/or contractual agreements, in which the objectives of the European partnership are specified, as well as the relative commitments of the Union and other partners in terms of financial or in-kind contributions, key performance and impact indicators, results to be achieved and reporting methods. They stand in continuity with the Horizon 2020 contractual public-private partnerships (cPPPs).
Calls launched by these partnerships are published directly in the thematic sections of the Horizon Europe Work Program.
Established between the Commission and primarily public partners, placing national research funding agencies and other member state authorities at the center of the consortium. They are based on a research and innovation agenda agreed by the partners - specifying objectives, key performance and impact indicators, results to be achieved, based on the partners' commitment to their financial and/or in-kind contributions and the integration of their relevant activities - and are triggered by a Horizon Europe co-funding action. They stand in continuity with the ERA-NETs and EJP Cofunds of Horizon 2020.
Established between the Union and public and/or private entities, characterized by a long-term perspective and a high level of integration, implemented by structures created ad hoc.
It is the legislative acts establishing these partnerships that establish the objectives, key performance and impact indicators and results to be achieved, as well as the related commitments of the partners to make financial and/or in-kind contributions. They can be based:
They stand in continuity with the Joint Technologies Initiatives and Public-Public Partnerships (P2P) based on Article 185 of the TFEU. The calls launched by these partnerships are published in separate work programs, usually on an annual basis.