Research efforts can be essential to address major societal challenges. In some cases these are so great that national research programmes cannot tackle them effectively on their own. Yet, the vast bulk of research programmes in Europe are run in an isolated way, leading to unwanted fragmentation or ineffectiveness. Joint programming aims to remedy this situation.
European national research programmes are amongst the first and best in the world, but they cannot tackle some of today's major societal challenges alone. Such challenges include, for example, addressing climate change, ensuring energy and food supply or a healthy ageing of citizens.
The following Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) have been identified to date (please see Timetable below for more details):
- Neurodegenerative Diseases/Alzheimer's - website
- Agriculture, food security and climate change - website
- A healthy diet for a healthy life - website
- Cultural heritage & global change - website
- Urban Europe - website
- CliK'EU - website
- More years, better lives - website
- Antimicrobial resistance
- Water challenges
- Healthy & productive seas and oceans - website
The European Council of March 2008 called on the Commission and Member States to explore the potential of Joint Programming, asking for joint activities to be launched by 2010.
The Commission made proposals to launch such a process in July 2008 in a Communication entitled Towards Joint Programming in Research: Working together to tackle common challenges more effectively. These proposals were based notably on the results of the public consultation following the Commission Green Paper of April 2007 and on the work of a dedicated expert group mandated by the Commission.
The Council of Ministers endorsed these proposals and agreed to launch the process in December 2008.
In March 2010, the European Commission launched its initiative Europe 2020 – A European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and Europe 2020 paper. As part of the Flagship Initiative: "Innovation Union" the Commission will work towards completing the European Research Area, including seeking to enhance joint programming with Member States and regions.
What is Joint Programming?
The overall aim of Joint Programming is to pool national research efforts in order to make better use of Europe's precious public R&D resources and to tackle common European challenges more effectively in a few key areas.
It will follow a structured strategic process whereby Member States agree common visions and strategic research agendas to address major societal challenges.
- November 2010: The Council welcomes the Biennial Report on the process of the high-level group on Joint Programming (the GPC) and the Guidelines for Framework Conditions on Joint Programming that the GPC has developed with other ERA stakeholders.
- October 2010: Council adopts the launching of three new JPIs on:
- Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change
- A Healthy diet for a Healthy life; and
- Cultural Heritage and Global change.
- May 2010: The council identified six more themes for which the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, will provide proposals for Council consideration as of 2011:
- The microbial challenge - An emerging threat to human health
- Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe (Clik'EU)
- More Years, Better Lives - The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change
- Urban Europe - Global Challenges, Local Solutions
- Water Challenges for a Changing World
- Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans.
- April 2010: The Commission adopted Recommendations to launch the new JPIs on Agriculture, Food security and Climate Change, Cultural Heritage and Global Change, A healthy diet for a healthy life:
- Agriculture, Food security and Climate Change
- Cultural Heritage and Global Change
- A healthy diet for a healthy life.
- 3rd December 2009: Areas for Joint Programming are identified by the GPC and selected by the Council.
- 22nd July 2009: The Commission adopted a Proposal for a Council Recommendation on launching a Joint Programming initiative on Neurodegenerative Diseases (including Alzheimer). Implementation, in a variable geometry mode, should follow adoption by the Council – foreseen on 3rd December 2009.
- 16th January 2009: CREST adopted the structure for The High Level Group that will identify areas for Joint Programming (the Groupe de Progammation Conjointe or GPC). The first meeting took place in Brussels on 13 February 2009.
- 2nd December 2008: The Council adopted conclusions, defining the way forward.
- 26th September 2008: The Commission invited the Council to endorse this Communication.
- 15th July 2008: Adoption of the Communication Towards Joint Programming in research: Working together to tackle common challenges more effectively.
How does it work?
Joint Programming is a new process combining a strategic framework, a bottom-up approach and high-level commitment from Member States. It builds on the experience gained from existing schemes coordinating national programmes.
Suitable Joint Programming areas are identified by a High Level Group on Joint Programming (GPC from the French "Groupe de Programmation Conjointe") consisting of nominees from Member States and the Commission, following a thorough consultation of stakeholders.
Based on the result of the GPC, the Council, upon a proposal by the Commission, recommends a limited number of areas in which to implement Joint Programming in priority.
From there on, participation of Member States in each initiative is "à la carte", based on voluntary commitments leading to partnerships composed of variable groups of countries. For each initiative, participating countries will start with:
- Developing a shared vision for the area;
- Defining a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) and SMART objectives (Specific,
Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound); and
- Preparing for implementation of the SRA by analysing the options, assessing expected impacts and defining the best mix of instruments to be used.
The Commission facilitates the identification process and, if they so wish support Member States for Joint Programming as necessary.
On 3rd December 2009 the Council of Ministers adopted a pilot Joint Programming Initiative on Neurodegenerative diseases (including Alzheimer's disease). In these same Conclusions, the Council asked the Commission to develop proposals in three new areas identified by the GPC.
In April 2010 the Commission responded to the above demand putting forward Commission recommendations inviting Member States to launch Joint Programming Initiatives in these three areas, accompanying each of them with full States of Play for research in Europe in these areas:
- Agriculture, Food security and Climate Change
- Cultural Heritage and Global Change: a new challenge for Europe
- A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life.
The Commission will facilitate these efforts by:
- Financing support actions to their management
- Launching possible complementary measures to actions undertaken jointly by participating countries as identified in each JPI Strategic Research Agenda
- Linking the JPIs to international actions and bodies where the Commission represents the EU
- Reporting on the JPI progress to the Council and informing the European Parliament.
During 2010 the Council launched officially the three above-mentioned JPIs and asked the Commission to consider possible JPIs in six new areas.
At the end of 2010, the GPC produced a report on the first two years of the Joint Programming process and adopted Guidelines on for Framework Conditions on Joint Programming. The Guidelines should facilitate the implementation of JPIs by providing advice on administrative, normative and regulatory factors considered essential for the effective implementation of Joint Programming in Research such as:
- Peer Review Procedures
- Foresight Activities
- Evaluation of Joint Programmes
- Funding of Cross-border Research by National or Regional Authorities
- Optimum Dissemination and Use of Research Findings
- Protection, Management and Sharing of Intellectual Property Rights.