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Flagships; Graphene and the Human Brain Project

Flagships; Graphene and the Human Brain Project

Flagships (Unit C.4)

Develop and promote Future and Emerging Technology (FET) Flagships, in particular "GRAPHENE" and "The Human Brain Project", as a novel approach for Europe to address grand scientific challenges and boost innovation.


To implement the two FET Flagships, "GRAPHENE" and HBP, in close synergy with the two Flagship Consortia and the Member States.


Flagships are multi-disciplinary research initiatives that aim to solve ambitious challenges in Future and Emerging technologies (FET), in particular, understanding the human brain and exploiting the potential of graphene, the newly discovered revolutionary material. Flagships are of the scale of one billion Euros and have a timeframe of 10 years.So far, the Flagships consist of two Framework Programme 7 (FP7) projects, one for GRAPHENE and one for the Human Brain Project (HBP). In addition, the Commission is funding an FP7 ERANET action bringing together many Member States to define and implement joint activities in support of the Flagships. There is a need now to establish the overall H2020 implementation framework to integrate all the stakeholders in the Flagships. Therefore, in the next two years, the Commission action will focus on putting in place such a framework, which will include: a partnership agreement linking the two Flagship Consortia and the Commission for the duration of H2020; an overall governance forum for creating synergies and coordinating the activities between all relevant European, national and regional actors.  The framework will also help monitor the progress that Flagships make in their research roadmaps, innovation and communication strategy, education and training and responsible research and innovation activities as well as their engagement with society at large.Media:Graphene Flagship: (c) Cambridge UniversityHBP Flagship - Video Overview (c) The Human Brain Project

The need to address grand scientific challenges through sufficiently long-term research initiatives was identified in April 2009, in the Commission Communication 'Moving the ICT frontiers – a strategy for research on future and emerging technologies in Europe', COM(2009)184: "Europe requires a sustained scientific effort at the boundaries between disciplines to address today’s socio-economic challenges and gain technologically competitive advantages." This effort must be "integrated around science-driven, goal-oriented, large–scale multidisciplinary flagship research initiatives." The Competitiveness Council, in its conclusions of December 2009, endorsed this Communication and invited the Commission to launch at least two of these initiatives by 2013. In October 2013, after a preparatory period of more than 3 years, the Commission launched under the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) branch of FP7 the first two Flagships, "GRAPHENE" (Graphene-based Revolutions in ICT and Beyond) and "The Human Brain Project" (HBP). The Commission will continue to support these two Flagships during the whole duration of Horizon 2020 (H2020).


Full-Time Equivalent: 
Collaboration with other DGs or agencies:
A budget of € 179.6 million is foreseen in the H2020 FET Workprogramme 2014/15, as follows: € 89 million for supporting the Graphene FET Flagship; € 89 million for supporting the Human Brain Project FET Flagship; € 1.6 million for supporting CSA actions

Personnel and external contribution:

  • Support from national and regional funding agencies and in particular through regional, national or transnational partnering projects that these agencies will be funding.
  • Contributions from the partners involved in the two Flagship projects.

Sources of input:

  1. Reporting from running Flagships and related national or regional programmes.
  2. Reporting from the ERANET project regarding the leverage of MS funding support and coordination of resources.
  3. External consultations (e.g. FET advisory board, dedicated Consultation meetings), and existing studies on research and innovation policy.
  4. Workshops, events, conferences.

International cooperation with the USA in the FET Flagship "HBP"

Establish S&T cooperation framework between the HBP and the US "Brain Initiative" in brain research, in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding between the EU and the USA.

Timeframe: 2014-2015



Signature of a Memorandum of Understanding in brain research with the USA

Target Signed Memorandum of Understanding with the USA (by end of 2015)
Baseline 0 (10/2013)
Current 0 (03/2014)

Engaging new Research & Innovation Partners

The FET Flagships initiatives are acting as 'centres of gravity' and are attracting new research partners from other European, national or regional projects. The close cooperation of such research projects and their partners and the linking of their activities to the objectives of the FET Flagships will help accelerate the implementation of the Flagships' research roadmaps, and increase the potential for innovation and impact of the Flagships.The indicator below represents the number of new research organisations participating in each Flagship through agreed partnering projects.

Timeframe: 2014-2015



# of new partners that will be associated to the FET Flagships

Target >= 10 new organisations cooperating with each Flagship (end 2015)
Baseline 0 (10/2013)
Current 0 (03/2014)

Engaging the Member States

A collaboration framework in the form of a governance forum of the Flagships will be put in place aiming at creating synergies and coordinating planning between European, national and regional activities for best supporting the implementation of the flagships' research roadmaps. The governance forum will involve as many Member States as possible, the European Commission and the Flagship Consortia. The FP7 ERANET FLAG-ERA and its H2020 follow-up actions will serve as the platforms for the interested Member States to define together and support transnational projects relevant for the Flagships.

Timeframe: 2014-2016



# of Member States participating in the Flagships Governance Forum

Target Establishment of the Flagships Governance Forum (early 2015) with participation of at least 20 Member States & H2020 Associated Countries (end of 2015) (2015)
Baseline 0
Current 0 (03/2014)

Establishing Partnership Agreements with the Flagships

For each of the two FET Flagships, Graphene and the HBP, the Commission will establish a partnership with the Consortium which will be selected in 2014, through a Horizon 2020 competitive call, to implement the Flagship's research roadmap. Such partnerships will be set up through a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) which will cover the full initiative in order to enable the completion of the research roadmap within the context of the agreement. The signature of the FPAs will make it possible to invite in 2015 the selected Consortia to submit a proposal for implementing the first 2,5 to 3 years of the flagship's research roadmap.

Timeframe: 2014 - 2015



Signature of the Framework Partnership Agreement

Target Signature of two Framework Partnership Agreements (end of 2014) and launch of the first two FET Flagship projects in Horizon 2020 (end of 2015) (2014-2015)
Baseline 0 (2013)
Current 0 (03/2014)

Publication of a Commission policy document on FET Flagships

The policy document will aim at presenting the implementation framework of the FET Flagships which was presented under 'Situation' above. It will also describe the lessons learnt so far from the implementation of the Flagships and will serve as background for the preparation of potential future new FET Flagships.

Timeframe: September 2014



Publication of a policy document on FET Flagships

Target 1 policy document (September 2014)
Baseline 0 (2013)
Current 1 (09/2014)

Impact on media

Make visible the grand challenges and the key S&T achievements of the FET Flagships to all stakeholders, including the society at large.

Timeframe: 2014-2016



# of appearances of FET Flagships in public media including exhibitions in science museums, publications in popular science magazines and newspapers and dedicated press releases per 100 Mio. € of EU funding

Target >= 50 (04/2016)
Baseline 0 (2013)
Current 30 (03/2014)

Enhanced human capital

Through their investments in advanced education and training activities, FET Flagships can contribute to creating a broad and sustainable knowledge and competitiveness advantage for Europe.

Timeframe: 2014 - 2016



Per flagship, # of PhDs engaged by the partners and number of industry people trained through dedicated training courses organised by the Flagships

Target >= 100 (03/2016)
Baseline 0 (2013)
Current 0 (10/2013)

Enhanced Innovation Capability

Innovation capability is at the heart of Europe's industrial competitiveness and technology excellence. The innovation potential of the Flagships can be measured by the number of IPR activities that they will undertake, notably in terms of patents filed and awarded (such indicator is defined as a Key Performance Indicator for FET in Horizon 2020).

Timeframe: 2014 - 2020



# of patent applications filed and patents awarded per 10 Mio. € of EU funding

Target >= 0.3 (03/2016)
Baseline 0 (10/2013)
Current 0 (02/2014)

Enhanced Excellence in Science

FET Flagships are driven by Excellent Science. Their launch will increase the quantity and quality of the scientific production in the S&T areas covered by the Flagships, making Excellence in Science a visible and driving element of the Flagships. (The number of publications in peer-reviewed journals was defined as a KPI for FET in Horizon 2020).

Timeframe: 2014 - 2016



# of publications in peer-reviewed high-impact journals per 10 Mio. € of EU funding (lead indicator)

Target >= 25 (03/2016)
Baseline 0 (09/2013)
Current Intermediate value t.b.d. [numbers to be updated every 6 months] (04/2014)

Link to DG CONNECT's Top Level Targets

  • Europe 2020 - 3% of the EU's GDP should be invested in R&D, complemented by a future EU 2020 Headline Innovation Indicator
  • H2020 - By 2020, one third of all Europe's ICT business investment in ICT R&D in the EU should come from companies created within the last two decades
  • DAE - To double public investment in ICT R&D to € 11 bn by 2020

In addition to top level goals the following priorities are also targeted:

(Horizon 2020) Priority "Excellence Science"

(DAE) Pillar 5 – Research and Innovation

  • Action 51: Reinforce the coordination and pooling of resources.

(DAE) Pillar 7 – ICT-enabled benefits for EU society