FET Flagships are long term and large scale research initiatives driven by an ambitious vision. They tackle major science and technology challenges expected to result in 'game changing' impacts that benefit economy and society and pave the way to the technological and industrial leadership of the EU.

What are the FET Flagships?

FET Flagships are part of the Future & Emerging Technologies (FET) programme, which invests in transformative frontier research and innovation with a high potential impact on technology, to benefit our economy and society.

FET Flagships can only be realised through a long-term and sustained effort at European level by:

  • building on large scale research cooperation across academia, industry and national research programmes and;

  • mobilising Europe's best researchers around an ambitious research and development roadmap.

The FET Flagships run typically for a period of 10 years and mobilise hundreds of researchers across Europe with an overall support of around EUR 1 billion. They are financed by the EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation and by the Member States, through a specific partnering model. The FET Flagships Staff Working document provides a detailed description of the FET Flagships and their implementation. The first three years of activity were evaluated by a panel of high-level experts in the FET Flagships interim evaluation report.

The ERA-NETs

The coordination of the Member States and Associated Countries support to the FET Flagships is organised in dedicated networks of regional and national research funding organisations in Europe (ERA-NETs):

The Board of Funders is a platform gathering the European Commission and Member States and Associated Countries representatives. It aims at facilitating the European cooperation on FET Flagships.

Current FET Flagships

Logos and images of the current FET Flagships

  • The Graphene Flagship aims at taking graphene and related two-dimensional materials from academic laboratories to European society.
  • The Human Brain Project Flagship aims at a better understanding of the brain, its diseases and its capabilities by providing researchers worldwide with digital tools and platforms for sharing and analysing large brain data sets.
  • The Quantum Flagship seeks to unlock the full potential of quantum technologies and accelerate their development and take-up into commercial products in Europe.

Future FET Flagships

Early 2016 the European Commission, in collaboration with the Member States, held a public consultation of the research community to gather ideas on science and technology challenges that could be addressed through future FET Flagships

As a next step, on 15 December 2016 Commissioner Oettinger hosted a round-table with high-level representatives from the Member States, industry and academia. They discussed the main priorities for forthcoming FET Flagships and identified three major areas where promising grand science and technology challenges could be addressed by FET Flagships:

  • ICT for connected society;

  • health and life science;

  • environment, climate and energy.

As outcome of these consultations, a call for preparatory actions for future FET Flagships was launched as part of the Horizon 2020 FET Work Programme 2018-2020. These preparatory actions will include activities to help candidate Flagships form and develop their consortia, governance and science and technology roadmap. They also need to build large public support and secure industry endorsement and participation. This may lead to up to two new Flagships to be launched in the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

Relevant publications

Background information

These are some of the milestones in the process that led to the launch of the two first FET Flagships - Graphene and the Human Brain Project:

  • April 2009: EC Communication ‘Moving the ICT frontiers’, COM(2009) 184

  • December 2009: Endorsement of the FET Flagship Initiatives by the Competitiveness Council of the European Union

  • Early 2010: Open consultation with the scientific community on initial ideas

  • July 2010: Launch of a competitive call to support comprehensive FET-Flagship Pilots (6 preparatory actions, each focusing on a Flagship challenge)

  • July 2012: Launch of a competitive call for the selection

  • October 2013: Launch of the HBP and Graphene Flagships and of FLAG-ERA

Published: 
15 December 2014
Last update: 
14 December 2017
Team responsible