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. An interim evaluation of the Flagship instrument was carried out in 2016 by a panel of high-level experts (see conclusions in this report).

Member States’ support

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.

Running Flagships

  • Graphene aims at taking graphene and related two-dimensional materials from academic laboratories to European society.
  • Human Brain Project 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.
  • Quantum Technologies seeks to unlock the full potential of quantum technologies and accelerate their development and take-up into commercial products in Europe.

Battery 2030+, a large-scale initiative on future battery technologies

Logo of Battery 2030+
Future Battery Technologies large-scale initiative

Battery 2030+ aims to develop ultra-performing, safe and sustainable batteries. By taking a long-term perspective, this initiative should put Europe at the forefront of the race to develop the battery technologies of the future essential for mobility, energy and many other applications.

Battery technologies are key for reducing our CO2 emissions and for mitigating human impact on climate change. New high-performing battery technologies are necessary for a successful transition to clean mobility (electric vehicles), as well as for ensuring a greater share of renewable energy sources in our energy mix.

Preparing research initiatives for Horizon Europe

The European Commission launched in March 2019 six projects developing ambitious research agendas for possible large-scale research initiatives in the areas of ICT, health and energy. They will inform the first strategic planning exercise of Horizon Europe, the EU’s next research and innovation framework programme.

Main Flagship milestones

2009: The birth of a new instrument: the FET Flagship initiatives

  • 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

  • 2010-2013: Competitive selection of the two first Flagships: Graphene and Human Brain Project

  • Early 2010Open 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

  • January 2013: Announcement of the selection of the HBP and Graphene Flagships

2013-2023: Implementation of the two first Flagships: Graphene and Human Brain Project

  • October 2013: Start of the of the HBP and Graphene Flagship ramp-up phase under FP7

  • September 2014: Publication of the Staff Working Document on FET Flagships (SWD(2014) 283)
  • March 2015: Signature of the HBP and Graphene Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs) under Horizon 2020

  • April 2016: Start of the first HBP and Graphene Specific Grant Agreements (SGAs) “core 1” projects

  • February 2017: publication of the FET Flagships interim evaluation report  by high-level experts

  • January 2018: Launch of the Interactive Computing e-Infrastructure (ICEI) SGA for HBP, as part of the FENIX research infrastructure

  • April 2018: Launch of the second HBP and Graphene SGAs “core 2” projects

  • 2020 (TBC): Launch of the third HBP and Graphene SGAs “core 3” projects

  • October 2020: Launch of the Manufacturing Pilot Line project SGA for Graphene

From 2013: ERA-NET Co-funding with Member States and Associated Countries

For Quantum Technologies Flagship:

See a list of important milestones on the Quantum Technologies Flagship webpage.

Relevant publications about FET Flagships