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The Basics


What are Joint Technology Initiatives?

⇒ The EU's Seventh Research Framework Programme identifies Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) as a means to support trans-national cooperation in key areas where research and technological development can contribute to European competitiveness and quality of life. The Seventh Research Framework Programme foresees in particular that "in a very limited number of cases, the scope of an RTD objective and the scale of the resources involved could justify setting up long term public-private partnerships in the form of Joint Technology Initiatives".

The legal framework for the JTIs are Joint Undertakings set up under Article 187 TFEU (ex Article 171 TEC) as a new way of realising public-private partnerships at European level in the field of industrial research.

JTIs arose primarily from the work of European Technology Platforms. In a small number of cases, European Technology Platforms had achieved such an ambitious scale and scope that they required the mobilisation of high public and private investments as well as substantial research resources to implement important elements of their Strategic Research Agendas. JTIs were proposed as an effective means of meeting the needs of this small number of European Technology Platforms.

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Why are JTIs needed?

⇒ Research is becoming increasingly global, and increasingly competitive. To become world class and stay in the lead requires a concerted effort from Europe's research community, including both public and private players. In some areas, traditional instruments of the Framework Programme, which typically involve individual projects with a small number of partners, and national / regional programmes are not sufficient to meet the needs of European industry.

Increasing the scale and impact of research investment, improving the level of coordination and integration and raising the technological content of industrial activity are essential if Europe is to be a strong, technologically innovative economy. The rapid pace of technological change, the rising costs of research, the increasing complexity and interdependence of technologies, and the potential economies of scale to be gained by cooperation across Europe are all strong reasons for setting up long-term public-private partnerships. JTIs are a new way of doing this, by combining private sector investment with European public funding, including funds from the EU's Research Framework Programme and, in some cases, also national funding.

The Commission expects this new model of public-private partnership to stimulate additional European research investment, build critical mass by uniting currently fragmented efforts, and ensure effective and efficient programme management.

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What is the aim of these public-private partnerships?

⇒ JTIs support co-operative research across Europe in fields of key importance for industrial research, where there are clearly identified common technological and economic objectives. The idea is to boost European investment by providing a clear framework for research investment, which encourages both industry and Member States to increase their spending. They contribute considerably to raising European, national and regional as well as private R&D investment in the technological fields concerned and to improving the impact of this investment through concentrating efforts and resources and avoiding fragmentation.

Europe stands to gain massively from a focused approach to research which complements and integrates national research efforts, and leads to economies of scale and efficiency gains. Streamlining management overheads and reducing red tape would lead to shorter times to contract and project. This is attractive for companies that face ever-shrinking times to market and windows of opportunity.

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What does a JTI do?

⇒ A JTI implements a common Strategic Research Agenda. This details the research and development challenges that need to be addressed. Each JTI defines a detailed Work Programme and directly manages all aspects of the implementation of the JTI programme, including organising calls for proposals and tender, proposal evaluation, project selection, negotiation and signature of research grant agreements, project follow-up and reporting, all respecting the Framework Programme's principles of transparency, competition and excellence.

In addition, it deals with general aspects such as research infrastructure, education, support for SMEs and international collaboration.

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Identification process


How were JTIs identified?

⇒ JTIs were set up in fields of high industrial and policy significance. The potential areas were identified on the basis of a set of criteria which were laid out in the Seventh Framework Programme. These criteria are:

  • Inability of existing instruments to achieve the objective,
  • Scale of the impact on industrial competitiveness and growth,
  • Added value of European-level intervention,
  • Degree and clarity of definition of the objective and deliverables to be pursued,
  • Strength of the financial and resource commitment from industry,
  • Importance of the contribution to broader policy objectives including benefit to society,
  • Capacity to attract additional national support and leverage current and future industry funding.
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What areas do they cover?

⇒ In line with the 'Cooperation' Specific Programme five JTIs were set up:

  • Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (FCH)
  • Aeronautics and Air Transport (Clean Sky)
  • Innovative Medicines (IMI)
  • Nanoelectronics Technology 2020 (ENIAC)
  • Embedded Computing Systems (ARTEMIS)
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Set up


What is the legal basis of a JTI?

⇒ JUs were established on the basis of Article 187 TFEU (ex Article 171 TEC). This allows the European Union to set up Joint Undertakings for the "efficient execution of European Union research, technological development and demonstration programmes". Article 188 TFEU (ex Article 172 TEC) specifies that the Council, on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee, shall adopt the provisions referred to in Article 187 TFEU (ex Article 171 TEC).

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What is the difference between a Joint Undertaking and a JTI?

⇒ A Joint Undertaking is a legal entity established under the TFEU. The term can be used to describe any collaborative structure proposed for the "efficient execution of Union research, technological development and demonstration programmes". JTIs are one example of Joint Undertaking; more specifically, JTIs are a special funding scheme for the implementation of the Seventh Framework Programme, and which fulfill the identification criteria described above. The term "JTI" also describes the overall industrial initiative.

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When did they start?

⇒ The start date of each JTI depended on the timing of each Council Regulation. The first four JTIs were agreed on 20.12.2007 under the Portuguese Presidency. The FCH Regulation was adopted on 30.05.2008 under the Slovenian presidency. The first calls for proposals were launched for all JTIs soon after the adoption of their founding Regulation.

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JTIs in practice


Who is part of the Joint Undertaking?

⇒ As stated in the Commission report to the June 2005 European Council (SEC(2005) 800), JTIs should not be 'closed shops', but should be open structures. The founding members of the Joint Undertaking are typically the European Commission and a not-for-profit industry-led association. In the cases of ARTEMIS and ENIAC, some Member States are also founding members of these Joint Undertakings. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), research organisations (including universities) and corporate members are all welcome to join the industrial associations. In the case of FCH, the Research Grouping also became member of this Joint Undertaking. On the contrary, in the case of Clean Sky, 12 leading industry take part directly to the Joint undertaking and are funding members.

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Why industry participates?

⇒ By joining forces and pooling resources, industry, especially SMEs, can accomplish far more than by doing it alone. From a practical point of view, members can vote, participate in key decisions, and shape the policies and evolution of the Strategic Research Agenda. In addition, participation in the JTI JU provides access to an extensive network of respected research partners.

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What is the role of the Commission in the JTI JUs?

⇒ In all JTI JUs, the European Union (represented by the Commission) is a founding member and is involved in the decision-making process.

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How are the JTIs funded?

⇒ Financial resources are necessary to support the running costs of each Joint Undertaking as well as the costs of the R&D.

The Commission (and the Member States in those cases where they are part of the Joint Undertakings) annually commits funds from the research budget. Industry commits matching in-kind (i.e. non-monetary) contributions and funds, amounting to 50% or more of the total costs of the projects undertaken to carry out the research.

JUs may combine other sources of public funding, including, where appropriate, the Structural Funds and the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility.

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How are the research projects selected?

⇒ All calls for proposals organised by the JTI JUs are open and competitive. The proposals to be funded are selected on the basis of the over-riding criterion of scientific excellence.

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Can proposals with partners from non-EU member states get funding?

⇒ Organisations in countries associated to the Seventh Framework Programme are eligible for funding. Applications from organisations based in third countries are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

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How do JTIs help to increase investment in research in Europe?

⇒ JTIs facilitate the creation of critical mass in the areas concerned by developing a coordinated approach to research across Europe. In doing so, they strengthen the competitive position of European industry, thus making Europe a more attractive location for inward investment in research.

JTIs lead to the formation of wide partnerships that, in addition to the founding members of the JU, involve a large number of players from industry (and notably SMEs), the research community and wider society. By facilitating networking between large companies and SMEs, JTIs are expected to leverage greater investment in the SME sector.

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Are JTIs compatible with competition rules?

⇒ JTIs channel substantial amounts of public funds to selected undertakings that may give them a technological edge and therefore a competitive edge. Accordingly, in developing the JTIs, it has been ensured that their design is compatible with competition rules. Particular attention was paid to State Aid rules, antitrust issues and merger controls.

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Are there any examples of JTIs before FP7?

⇒ JUs are a novel mechanism. In the field of research there were no precedents for public-private partnerships set up under Article 187 TFEU (ex Article 171 TEC) before FP7.

In addition, by allowing funding from the Framework Programme to be combined with other public funding sources, JTIs are expected to have a significant leverage effect on private investment and related economic activity.

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