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All EU countries highly involved in fostering public transnational R&D collaboration
All EU Member States are highly involved in the ERA-NET scheme, the EU main initiative for fostering public transnational R&D collaboration. This is the main finding of the report "Mapping ERA-NETs across Europe: overview of the ERA-NET scheme and its results", published today by the JRC's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS). ERA-NET facilitates ministries and public research agencies working together to coordinate research policies and to develop joint calls and research programmes.
ERA-NET can be divided into 'ERA-NET actions' that provide a framework for actors implementing public research programmes to coordinate their activities and 'ERA-NET Plus actions,' providing, in a limited number of cases with high European added value, additional EU financial support to facilitate joint calls for proposals between national and/or regional programmes.
A total of 51 countries, EU Member States, associated countries to the EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development and third countries, currently participate. This represents a 27% increase compared to 2008. France and Germany are the leading participants, although the report highlights the significant involvement of a group of smaller countries: Austria, Finland, The Netherlands and Belgium. Among associated countries, the most active are Turkey, Norway, Switzerland and Israel.
In terms of topics, the JRC report found that the most relevant thematic priorities for the ERA-NETs are "nanosciences and nanotechnologies" (15% of the total), "food, agriculture and fisheries" (13%). "Health" and "environment" represent around 10% each.
The JRC study also found that the main target groups eligible for funding of the joint calls defined by the networks are higher education institutions and public research organisations. Although industry involvement in research is essential for the exploitation and commercialisation of research results, it appears to be less predominant as a beneficiary target group of the joint activities defined by the ERA-NETs.
The ERA-NET scheme was created during the Sixth EU Framework Programme Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, and it is one of the most important factors stimulating transnational coordination of national programmes and joint R&D-related initiatives.
The report has been produced in the frame of NETWATCH, the European Commission's information platform on transnational R&D programme collaboration. NETWATCH aims at supporting policy makers and researchers in the field by providing up-to-date information and evidence-based analysis of the active networks and the development and application of an impact assessment framework for R&D transnational collaboration at European level.
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