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TOPIC : Joint programming actions to foster innovative energy solutions

Topic identifier: LC-SC3-JA-1-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC)

Types of action: ERA-NET-Cofund ERA-NET Cofund
Opening date:
15 May 2018
Deadline: 11 September 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Work Programme Part: Secure, clean and efficient energy
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The EU needs to accelerate the transformation of its energy system by bridging the gap between research and commercial deployment with innovative solutions. Bridging this gap often requires substantial volumes of investment which cannot be allocated by individual countries or by the European Commission on their own. Mobilising the necessary investment can only be achieved by pooling together financial resources from multiple countries, the Commission, and the private sector. This is a challenge because the funding landscape is complex.

One of the objectives of the SET Plan is to create funding synergies on such a big scale by organising joint programming actions between the entities responsible for public funding programmes and the Commission. ERA-NETs are a key instrument for joint programming actions within the SET Plan, and they also contribute to achieving the objectives of the European Research Area (ERA). In addition, they can play a key role in achieving the goal of the Energy Union of moving away from a fragmented system characterised by uncoordinated national policies and towards an integrated European R&I approach which accelerates the transformation of the energy system.

Areas suitable for ERA-NETs will be identified by Member States' / Associated Countries' representatives in the SET Plan governance bodies (in particular the Joint Actions Working Group). They will then be developed from the early stages in close collaboration with the European Commission and with input from the Programme Committee as needed. This collaboration will ensure that proposed ERA-NETs are in line with energy R&I and SET Plan policy objectives.


Actions should aim at coordinating the efforts of participating Member States, Associated Countries and Regions towards achieving SET Plan objectives and, where they exist, executing the Implementation Plans jointly developed by SET Plan countries' representatives, industry and research organisations within the SET Plan priority areas numbers 1 to 9 [1]. In establishing their thematic scope, proposals will also take into due consideration support already provided through other topics in this work programme part. As for their technology development scope, proposals can support projects addressing any stage of the innovation chain through joint calls.

Proposals should pool the necessary financial resources from participating national or regional research programmes with a view to implementing a joint call for proposals resulting in grants to third parties with EU co-funding. Proposers are requested to also implement other joint activities, including additional joint calls without EU co-funding.

Proposals shall include provision for at least one joint call without EU funding on top of the compulsory co-funded joint call.

Proposals shall specify which additional activities will be carried out as part of the action in accordance with the definition given in General Annex D.

It is expected that actions funded through this topic will bring together national and regional programme owners and programme managers who represent diverse conditions and approaches from the EU.

Participation of legal entities from third countries is also encouraged in the joint calls and in additional joint activities, on the basis of common interest and mutual benefit. Participants from these countries may request a Union contribution (on the basis of the ERA-NET unit cost) for the coordination costs of additional activities.

Expected Impact:

It is expected that actions will help to:

  • Establish long-lasting joint programming research efforts between Member States/Associated Countries/Regions in areas of common interest;
  • Accelerate the time to commercial deployment of affordable, cost-effective and resource-efficient technology solutions which decarbonise the energy system in a sustainable way;
  • Reduce the environmental impact of the energy system;
  • Make a measurable contribution to the objectives of the Energy Union, the SET Plan, and the European Research Area;
  • Achieve a funding leverage effect of at least 5:1 between national, regional and private sector contributions, on the one hand, and EU contributions on the other.
Delegation Exception Footnote:

This activity directly aimed at supporting public-public partnerships with Member States and Associated Countries, and technology platforms with industrial partners is excluded from the delegation to the Innovation & Networks Executive Agency (INEA) and will be implemented by the Commission services. In the case of energy efficiency, the activity is not excluded from the delegation to the Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME).

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Clean Energy
Blue Growth

[1]C(2015)6317, pp.10-13: SET Plan Priorities no.1 to no.9 C(2015)6317, pp.10-13: SET Plan Priorities no.1 to no.9

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme. SME instrument: described in the Work Programme part "European Innovation Council (EIC)".


Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme.  
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

ERA-NET Cofund:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
MGA ERA-NET Cofund - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement
Thematic clusters of previous ERA-NET projects
Practical guidance how to organise ERA-NET joint calls

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
10. Secure, clean and efficient energy WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


Additional documents

  • H2020-LC-SC3-2018-Joint-Actions-2_Flash Call Info en

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