ERA-NET Actions and other public-to-public (P2P) networks in the bioeconomy

PLATFORM DB: Bioeconomy P2P networks information source

About P2P Networks


PLATFORM DB: Bioeconomy P2P networks information source


PLATFORM DB is an online repository with data from public-public partnerships in the area of food, agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, forestry, climate, biodiversity and biotechnologies. The built-in analysis and visualisation tools give insights on network, organisation, and country levels. By selecting within lists, description of calls and projects can be retrieved.

PLATFORM DB aims to serve bioeconomy policy makers, funders, programme managers, science community and other stakeholders, by providing accurate and actual information on networks, calls and projects. Good-quality data is a pre-requisite for analysing the bioeconomy funding landscape, impact assessment, monitoring, and illustrating trends. The comprehensiveness and near-completeness of PLATFORM DB are made possible through close collaboration with the networks.


The first steps towards this data repository were made under PLATFORM FP7 through the book 'Bioeconomy ERA-NET Actions - European Research Area Networks of the 6th and 7th Framework Programmes' published in 2014. The beta-version of the online database was released in September 2016. Sources of information are: the websites of the individual ERA-NETs, JPIs and Art. 185 initiatives, CORDIS website, ERA-LEARN website, and SCAR. The networks are involved to check and complete the information compiled by PLATFORM Office.


Data gathered for PLATFORM DB is shared with the ERA-LEARN 2020 project which supports the European Commission to monitor networks and joint calls on an ongoing basis and to provide input to their own internal analysis. Through this collaboration and through the pre-filling of the database, the networks are burdened less. The collaboration also proved a good basis for piloting a project-level impact assessment with a small set of ERA-NET actions from the bioeconomy area.

PLATFORM DB is built by the PLATFORM H2020 project in cooperation with the Wageningen University & Research (WUR) Library. PLATFORM DB uses the infrastructure of WUR Library.

The database showcases major achievements of the networks. You are invited to browse through the data, explore the functionalities to retrieve graphical overviews, and read about calls and projects. Visit  PLATFORM DB.

About P2P networks

The core message of the European Research Area is the need to overcome the traditional fragmentation of research efforts in the EU through better coordination and cooperation. To this end the ERA-NET instrument was developed; to allow coordination and cooperation of national and regional research programmes. National and regional authorities identify research programmes they wish to coordinate or open up mutually. Thus, the participants in these actions are either programme 'owners' (typically ministries or regional authorities defining research programmes) or programme 'managers' (such as research councils or other research funding agencies managing research programmes).

The ERA-NET instrument has a long history. It was first introduced under FP6 and has undergone changes since then. The amount of budget for ERA-NETs has increased from about 150 M€ in FP6 to over 250 M€ in the 2014-2015 Work Programme of H2020 alone.

ERA-NETs under Horizon 2020

The ERA-NET under Horizon 2020 merges the former ERA-NET and ERA-NET Plus into a single instrument ERA-NET Cofund with the central and compulsory element of implementing one substantial call with top-up funding from the 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.

In addition to the co-funded call, the consortia may implement other joint activities including other joint calls without Union co-funding. The duration of an ERA-NET Cofund is five years. During this time the consortium has to prepare and implement the call, select and negotiate the projects, finalise the projects including final payment to their beneficiaries. A shorter duration than 5 years is not feasible. The reimbursement rate is 33%, as for the ERA-NET+ actions under FP7. Financial contributions of Member States can be in-cash or in–kind. This way ERA-NETs can broaden their scope towards coordinating institutional funding of governmental research organisations.

Once an ERA-NET Cofund has been granted, it may take up to one year before the new Call will be put forward. This means the Call for the new ERA-NET 2016-2017 COFUNDs are expected earliest at the end of 2017.

In the Work Programme 2014-2015 of Horizon 2020, more than 20 ERA-NET Cofund actions and a number of CSAs (including those in support to JPIs) were planned. The budget dedicated to ERA-NET Cofund actions amounts to close to 93 M€ in 2014 and more than 163 M€ in 2015. The 2016-2017 Work Programme includes 27 ERA-NET Cofunds, with a total budget close to 260 M€, of which about 170 M€ is reserved for the ERA-NET Cofunds in the bioeconomy.

Joint Programming Initiatives

Joint Programming Initiatives were set up to pool national research efforts in order to make better use of Europe's public R&D resources and to tackle common European challenges more effectively in a few key areas.

Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) bring together committed Member States and Associated Countries to develop and implement a joint Strategic Research Agenda on a specific theme. JPIs are linked to the European Societal Challenges . The Societal Challenges are considered too vast for one country to tackle solely and pooling of national resources allows larger capacity for research and innovation. JPIs are designed to overcome the fragmentation of national research programmes to address global challenges.

In order to enable Member States to participate in line with their national priorities, JPI actions are voluntary, and on a variable geometry basis – for each activity the set of participating countries can vary. JPI's can decide to implement a wide array of actions, ranging from organising a joint research Call or proposing topics for ERA-NET Cofunds to the EC to longer-term joint programming of national research policy. A JPI action therefor does not automatically result in research funding on the short term.

The JPIs aim to add value by:

  • Alignment of National Research Policies & Programmes
  • Planning common and flexible initiatives
  • Facilitating cooperation and foresighting
  • Establishing efficient mechanisms for interaction and knowledge transfer between the scientific community, industry & services, and policy makers at high level to more effectively solve the grand challenges.
Article 185 initiatives

Since 2003 the European Commission has supported so-called Article 185 initiatives. Five of these joint research and innovation programmes with Member and Associated States are active or in preparation under Horizon 2020, three of these are active in the area of the bioeconomy.

Article 185 initiatives are based on Article 185 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU (TFEU, 2007) (ex Article 169 ) of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC, 1992), enabling the European Union to participate in research programmes undertaken jointly by several Member States. Article 185 initiatives are therefore Public-Public Partnerships between Member States (and Associated States) and the EU. In this configuration EU funding is combined with national funds and – in some cases - co-funding by industry. The Commission supports the initiatives with funds from Horizon 2020 where these meet the criteria laid down in the Horizon 2020 proposal. Article 185 initiatives have contractual relationship for a duration of around 10 years with 25-50% co-funding by the EU.

The Article 185 instrument aims at integrating national R&D activities across Europe, reduce fragmentation and create a critical mass in research and innovation. The main activity in the Article 185 initiatives consists of research, development and innovation activities. These are to be implemented via shared-cost transnational projects involving partners from different countries among the participating Member States addressing research, technological development, demonstration and dissemination activities. These should demonstrate the capability to exploit the project results within a realistic time frame. Article 185 initiatives issue regularly centrally organised calls for proposals. Furthermore Article 185 Initiatives entail consultation with relevant European stakeholders concerning the research priorities to be addressed and the implementation of the programme.

Art. 185 initiatives have undertaken for example the following activities:

Joint Calls with a broad variety of different grant types (for EDCTP e.g. Integrated Projects, Ethics and Regulatory projects, Networks of Excellence) Researcher Mobility Grants (EMRP), Senior Fellowships (EDCTP)
Bottom-up type funding; in particular for SMEs (EUROSTARS)

Article 185 Initiatives will also be used to enhance the complementarity and synergy between the FP and activities carried out under intergovernmental structures such as EUREKA and COST.

Article 185 Initiatives launch calls that fund projects which address the objectives of the running strategic research agenda. The calls are targeting multi-partner and transnational projects, encouraging participation of small and medium-sized enterprises and other end-users from partner states of the Article 185 Initiative. The calls include research, innovation, training and dissemination activities.

During FP7, five Article 185 Initiatives were launched and have been implemented. Four of these Initiatives continue under Horizon 2020. Furthermore a sixth Article 185 Initiative is in preparation under Horizon 2020.