The new Digitising European Industry Working Group on Future Partnerships aims to provide recommendations on how to increase the impact of European Research & Innovation (R&I) by improving synchronisation between public-private partnerships and national programmes.

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) have proven to be effective in developing the technology building blocks which underpin the digital revolution. They are successful in joining efforts at the European level for digital industrial innovations in different fields and in attracting investments by industry. They are one of the main European responses to achieve and maintain leadership in digital technologies by matching R&I investments.

Effective partnerships align well with national as well as European R&I programmes. However, nowadays there are variations in the contributions of partnerships to national strategies, and the impact of PPPs on national and regional policies is not always obvious.

The Digitising European Industry (DEI) Communication strives towards a reinforced role for the PPPs as coordinators of EU-wide Research and Innovation efforts, national initiatives and industrial strategies. Recent evaluations also stress the relation between EU partnerships and investments on the one hand and national programmes and national investments on the other hand. For instance, the Lamy report recommends limiting EU co-funding to partnerships that clearly deliver on EU missions, with a simplified and flexible co-funding mechanism, and ensuring EU contribution maximises the leverage of national and private investments. Another example is the mid-term review of the contractual Public Private Partnerships (cPPPs) under Horizon 2020, which recommends Member States to be represented in the cPPPs to enhance their impact on national and regional policies as a way to increase their EU value-added.

Within this context, a Working Group on Future Partnerships  has been launched under the DEI initiative. The aim is to explore how Member States and national programmes could influence and align with partnerships and, vice versa, how partnerships could influence and align with national research programmes.


  • The recommendations of the Working Group will focus on possible partnerships beyond Horizon 2020.
  • The Working Group will only consider public-private partnerships. Under H2020, these are the contractual Public-Private Partnerships (cPPPs) and Joint Undertakings (Article 187). Public-public partnerships (Article 185) and FET Flagships are excluded.
  • The Working Group will only consider partnerships that contribute significantly to the objectives of the DEI initiative.


The Working Group expects to publish by November 2018 a final report with concrete recommendations on how to increase impact of European R&I by improved synchronisation between partnerships and national programmes.

Interim versions of the report will be published after open workshops.

Open workshops

In 2018, the European Commission plans to organise 3-4 open workshops on Future Partnerships, where stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide their inputs. The first one will take place on 6 March, in Brussels.

Stakeholders are also welcome to share their views via the Futurium website or via email.