European Coordination Initiatives

The establishment of a competitive European Research Area is the declared aim of the European Commission. In order to realize this aim, so-called ERA-NET projects were introduced as a new instrument in the Sixth Research Programme.

The goal of the ERA-NETs is to promote cooperation in various thematic areas by coordinating research funding by the member states and in so doing, to implement the European Research Area strategically and conceptually. The aim is to establish a network for research funding in the European member states as efficiently as possible.

In order to coordinate research programmes throughout Europe, the concept calls for research funding institutions of the member states to join together and undertake joint strategic cooperation, even issuing joint calls for proposals. Before this can be undertaken, an analysis must be made of the national funding programmes and procedures, the respective programme objectives must be evaluated, and a common strategic funding concept drawn up.

In the Seventh Research Programme, the European Commission has refined the ERA-NET instrument and supplemented the "bottom-up" approach to finding topics for the ERA-NETs established in the Sixth Research Programme with a "top-down" approach for issuing calls for proposals for specific ERA-NET themes in the work programmes. With this top-down approach, the European Commission intends to introduce stronger strategic control of the ERA-NET portfolio.

In consultation with its clients, Project Management Jülich is involved in numerous ERA-NET projects in the Sixth and Seventh Research Programmes.