Communications Networks, Content and Technology
European Commission Directorate General

Flagships: Policy and Strategy

Flagships: Policy and Strategy

Flagships (Unit C.4)

To establish an overall policy framework which supports large scale transformational science and research initiatives (FET Flagships), targeting grand scientific & technological challenges with high potential economic & societal impact for up to 10 years, through coordinated initiatives among European, and national programmes.


Policy and strategy on FET Flagships


There are a number of challenges that require a strong science investment over a long period of time that cannot be carried out by the EC or single Member States alone. For example:

  • To empower the European leadership in innovation-enabling and industrial technologies, where e.g. novel materials based ICT or neuro-morphic ICT are expected to be key.
  • To address the Horizon 2020 societal challenge "secure, clean and efficient energy", e.g. novel and intelligent materials & systems for energy production and electrical energy storage.
  • To address the Horizon 2020 societal challenge "health, demographic change and well-being" with ICT and health instruments by e.g. mapping & understanding brain functions leading to the creation of novel neuro-inspired ICT networks.

We need a coherent policy framework to support such endeavours. Moreover, a winning strategy is required to stimulate Member-States (MS) to engage with such Flagships in the form of coherent programmes, e.g. national programmes of activities alignment, funding/in-kind support and governance.The Flagship concept was elaborated in the recent years with the Flagship ramp-up phase proceeding now, but with still the policy framework to be refined. Regarding more industrial and other societal topic areas, other large-scale initiatives world-wide, such as PPPs, in other parts of FP7 and mainly of H2020, have some similar features. Related policies should be analysed for comparison and for selecting options for other future initiatives on grand scientific & societal challenges.


Full-Time Equivalent: 
2.50 full-time equivalent (FTE)
Collaboration with other DGs or agencies:

Personnel and external contribution:

  • Consulting external experts, e.g., the FET advisory board.
  • Member states & funding agencies support, e.g. by ERA-NET members.

Sources of input:

  • The objective of reinforcing research in future and emerging technologies (FET) was expressed in the EC communication COM (2009) 184 ‘Moving the ICT frontiers’ with the launch of at least two FET Flagship Initiatives by 2013.
  • Reporting (via Deliverables) from running Flagships and other national alignment support will make it easier to understand effectiveness and difficulties of the Flagship instrument towards solving societal challenges.
  • Reporting from the ERA-NET and Flagship projects will help to better tune policy strategies regarding the leverage of MS funding support and programs alignment.
  • External consultations (e.g. FET advisory board, MS funding agencies, possibly new studies).

MS research agendas better aligned

MS research agendas better aligned in the specific grand challenges domains covered by the first two FET Flagships initiatives.The Composite Indicator KPI.1.2i is a 'Lead Indicator'. It presents the total number of MS having a share on at least one of the flagship instruments (the two flagships 'HBP' & 'Graphene' and the ERA-NET 'FLAG-ERA').

Timeframe: 2013-2014



I.1.6i: # of MS in total with project partners within the two FET-Flagships programmes

Target I.1.6i >= 24 MS (end of 2014)
Baseline 20 MS (2012)

I.1.5i: # of MS involved in the new 'FLAG-ERA' ERA-NET

Target I.1.5i >= 20 (end of 2013)
Baseline 0 (9/2013)

Increased stakeholders engagement

Increased stakeholders engagement (e.g. industry partners, policy makers) in the specific grand challenges domains covered by the first two FET Flagships initiatives. The Composite Indicator KPI.1.1i presents a weighted sum of the individual Indicators.

Timeframe: 2013-2016



KPI.1.1i - Increased stakeholders engagement

Target KPI.1.1i: % increase (by mid 2016)
Baseline Value from I.1.1i, I.1.2i, I.1.3i and I.1.4i (end of 2012)

I.1.3i: # of new organizations added during the ramp-up phase of the flagship (competitive calls)

Target I.1.3i: % increase (mid 2016)
Baseline Partners in the proposals of the first two Flagships.

I.1.2i: # of new formal agreements between FFs consortia and non-EU organizations. In order to build this indicator the Unit needs support from its projects (included the Flagships)

Target I.1.2i: % increase (by mid 2016)
Baseline Situation before FET Flagships/Pilots launch

I.1.1i: # of new formal agreements between FFs consortia and other organizations in the EU. In order to build this indicator the Unit needs support from its projects (included the Flagships)

Target I.1.1i: % increase (by mid 2016)
Baseline Situation before FET Flagships/Pilots launch

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
  • EIP AHA - Increase healthy life for everyone in Europe by an average of two years
  • 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
  • DG CONNECT is a lean, modern, effective and efficient public administration

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

(H2020) Priority "Excellence Science"

(DAE) Pillar 5 – Research and Innovation

  • Action 50: Leverage more private investment for ICT research and innovation.
  • Action 51: Reinforce the coordination and pooling of resources.

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