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36 European Technology Platforms (ETPs) are committed to developing, updating and implementing their long-term Strategic Research Agendas (SRAs) in key industrial areas. Their aim is to contribute to creating the European Research Area by overcoming fragmentation and by concentrating research effort, both at European and national level.

In the years to come the ETPs will have to go beyond addressing scientific and technological challenges and put a greater focus on the take up and application of research results. Cooperation with the public sector putting societal needs at the core of research, cross-thematic research and openness to international cooperation will help tackle Grand Challenges. Tighter collaboration between ETPs will put them in a better position to make an effective contribution to emerging and future initiatives.

ETP evaluation

The European Commission expert group made recommendations on how ETPs could further collaborate and contribute to existing and future initiatives. The emphasis was on going beyond current assumptions about the role and operation of ETPs.
The concept of ETPs was evaluated in the first half of 2008 and the results of the ETP evaluation study show that:

  • ETPs have developed Strategic Research Agendas, which encourage better coordination of research effort and articulate the views of industry, academia, civil society and other stakeholders on the needs and challenges in key technology areas at the European level;
  • ETPs have contributed to the design of some of the main priorities of the Seventh Framework Programme and continue to add to the development of the annual Work Programmes;
  • Some have developed into or spun off Public Private Partnerships such as Joint Technology Initiatives and Industrial Initiatives in the context of the Strategic Energy Technology Plan.
  • ETPs have provided a good basis for the interaction between the Commission and national and regional research initiatives through the operation of mirror groups and national platforms;
  • In a number of cases, ETPs have come together and coordinated their efforts to develop a common approach to joint challenges, such as the Strategic Research Agenda for Urban Mobility.
  • A number have actually gone beyond research and contributed to the design of the Lead Market Initiative, the production of standards, reviews of regulatory frameworks, the strengthening of international research cooperation.

The study has also identified some areas for improvement of the ETPs' work underlining the importance of transparency, openness and inclusiveness.

Research and development objectives

ETPs bring together stakeholders, led by industry, to define medium to long-term research and development priorities that will contribute to Europe's future growth. They focus on areas where progress depends on major technological and research advances. European Technology Platforms were designed to better align EU research priorities to industry’s needs and to ensure the transformation of achieved results into innovative technologies and processes and hence into marketable products and services.

The rationale for ETPs was first outlined in 2002, in the Commission Communication Industrial Policy in an enlarged Europe. They now cover 36 diverse research areas, including e.g. construction, road transport, wind energy, food, mobile and wireless communications, etc.

For more information, contact the European Commission's ETP coordination unit.