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Public-private investments in research in Horizon 2020

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The European Union, through Horizon 2020, will invest more than € 28 billion in innovative research to contrast the economic stagnation. This investment will be divided into four general bunch of programs, namely the contractual Public Private Partnerships (cPPPs), the Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI), the Public-Public Initiatives and the SESAR - Joint Undertaking program. Each of these programs are different, both in funding and in aims, but they are all designed to one general goal: transferring as soon as possible scientific and technological research into the industrial/manufacturing sector. This will create high skilled, competitive and cutting-hedge future economy, and new jobs. This four bunches of programs cover a wide range of research areas, such as photonics, robotics, medicine, energy efficiency or air traffic.


The contractual Public Private Partnerships

The contractual Public Private Partnerships (cPPPs) are contractual arrangements between the European Commission and representative industrial associations, fully integrated in H2020. In practice, they are co-funded projects that will be selected through open and competitive calls following the H2020 rules and procedure.

It is important to underline that, while the Strategic Research Agenda (that has defined the cPPPs initiatives) has been developed by the industrial associations, the cPPPs calls are open to all, especially research institutions or innovative small or medium enterprises. This means that the cPPPs do not organize their own calls but funding is awarded by the Commission through open calls under the Horizon 2020 Work Program.

The European Union foresaw that “each euro of public funding is expected to trigger additional investments of between three and 10 euro to develop new technologies, products and services which will give European industry a leading position on world markets”.

The cPPPs are 8 in total:

- Factories of the Future: the main two goal of the FoF is to underpin European industrial competitiveness through both reinforcing the role of the manufacturing and adapting it to a smart and green economy.

- Energy efficient Buildings: the EeB is meant to develop innovative construction and retrofitting technologies, while redefining new research priorities together with the construction sector.

- Green Vehicles Initiatives: EGVI is designed to strengthen the future competitiveness of the automotive industry using alternative powertrains to reduce CO2 emissions.

- Sustainable Process Industry: the SPIRE program is aimed to increase efficiency in using resource and energy into the industrial processes.

- Photonics: Europe is pushing a lot on photonic technologies for energy efficient lighting, fast communication, sustainable manufacturing and safety.

- Robotics: this is considered “a key driver of industrial competitiveness and essential to address key societal challenges in areas such as demographic change, health and well-being, food production, transport and security”

-High Performance Computing: The HPC programme is meant to have a pivotal role both for industrial growth and for the advancement of science.  

- 5G Internet: This program aims to leverage 5G research to improve competitiveness and innovation with the ultimate aim of stimulating economic growth and more job creation.


Indicative budgets for cPPPs in the period 2014-2020 in € millions (Source)


The Joint Technology Initiatives

The cPPPs are not opposite or integrated into the Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI). They are complement. But, in contrast to the cPPPs, JTI will be launched completely under the Horizon 2020. Industry will finance the activities of the JTI either through funding all or part of its own costs in participating in the projects selected through calls for proposals, or by financing additional activities outside the calls for proposals, or by contributing to the budgets of the calls for proposals. In all cases, the partners will also contribute half of the costs of running the Joint Undertaking which will manage the Partnership.

Another difference between cPPPs and JTI is about the past experience. Most of the JTI started during the previous Seventh Framework Program (Fp7), and are renewed in their structures by correcting and simplifying the Fp7 procedures.

Moreover, JTI differ from cPPPs about the challenges they want to address. Specifically, JTI deal with:

- Clean Sky: through the CS2 initiative Europe invests in developing greener and quieter aircraft. This will underpin the European international aviation competitiveness.

- Innovative Medicine: through the IMI2 Europe supports the continental pharmaceutical competitiveness, by funding research about new vaccines, medicines and treatments. One specific goal is to leverage public and private research funding to lower investment barriers.

- Fuel cells: the FCH2 program is meant to boost the fuel cells and hydrogen sector, in order to create more growth and jobs in the downstream industries.

- Biobased industries: the aim of the BBI is to use renewable natural resources and innovative technologies for greener everyday products.

- Electronics (see links in the factsheet): the ECSEL (yes, the acronym had been clearly inspired by geeks) program is meant to boost the electronics design and manufacturing capabilities.


Indicative budgets for JTI in the period 2014-2020 in € millions (Source)


Public- public initiatives

JTI and cPPPs are based on the cooperation between private and public funding to research. Alongside with this, the European Commission wants to help Member States to integrate and coordinate national research programs. This is made while looking at the general principle of efficient use of public financial resources. In particular, there are four joint programs with Member States:

- Clinical Trials Partnerships: the EDCTP is direct to both the European and the developing countries. It focuses on poverty related diseases, in order to reduce their social and economic burden.

- The metrology program: the EMPIR is designed to provide new measurement technologies.

- Eurostars: the Eurostars program supports research performing small-medium enterprises.

- Elderly: the AAL program aims “to create better condition of life for the older adults and to strengthen the industrial opportunities in Europe through the use of information and communication technology (ICT)”.


Indicative budgets for Public-Public programs in the period 2014-2020 in € millions (Source)


SESAR – Joint Undertaking

Air traffic in the European skies is one of the highest in the world. But this clash with a sky “ruled” by national laws. Through the SESAR program the European Union is trying to increase the overall efficiency of the air traffic management system.


Indicative budgets for SESAR program in the period 2014-2020 in € millions (Source)

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