The ERA-NET scheme performs a pivotal role in the structure of research in Europe, via the improved coordination and cooperation of national and regional research programmes. ERA-NET under Horizon 2020 merges the former ERA-NET and ERA-NET Plus into a single instrument with the central and compulsory element of implementing one substantial call with top-up funding from the European Commission. The focus of ERA-NETs is therefore shifting from the funding of networks to the top-up funding of single joint calls for transnational research and innovation in selected areas with high European added value and relevance for Horizon 2020. This aims at increasing substantially the share of funding that Member States dedicate jointly to challenge driven research and innovation agendas.
Objectives for the ERA-NET instrument under Horizon 2020 are:
- Concentrate resources on areas with high impact and relevance and reduce unnecessary duplication.
- Produce substantial leverage effect of EU funding on national and regional public funding and private resources.
- Ensure significant level of financial commitments to the joint calls and actions.
- Establish an effective process to identify and select topics for intervention and establish flexible governance that allows effective steering and monitoring of the entire process.
- Strengthen participation of all Member States to support them in linking their research and innovation capacities towards cross border cooperation.
- Ensure high and common standards for proposal evaluation and selection for the calls launched by ERA-NET and support harmonisation of funding rules and implementation modalities for the selected projects.
- Optimise the management and limit administrative costs for the implementation at EU level while simplifying participation of national and regional research funders.
The participation of programme managers including governmental research organisations has to be mandated by the national or regional authorities in charge. ERA-NET allows for programme collaboration if the three priorities of Horizon 2020 are fulfilled:
- Excellent science
- Industrial leadership
- Societal challenges.