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What you need to know about EU Partnerships

European Partnerships bring the European Commission and private and/or public partners together to address some of Europe’s most pressing challenges through concerted research and innovation initiatives. They are a key implementation tool of Horizon Europe, and contribute significantly to achieving the EU’s political priorities.

By bringing private and public partners together, European Partnerships help to avoid the duplication of investments and contribute to reducing the fragmentation of the research and innovation landscape in the EU.

Find out more about European Partnerships.
European Partnerships in Horizon Europe infographics

Types of partnership

The aim of European Partnerships with EU and associated countries, the private sector, foundations and other stakeholders is to deliver on global challenges and modernise industry.

The Horizon Europe proposal lays down the conditions and principles for establishing European Partnerships. There are 3 types.

Co-Programmed European Partnerships

These are partnerships between the Commission and mostly private (and sometimes public) partners.

A memorandum of understanding is the basis for the cooperation in these partnerships, as it specifies the partnership’s objectives, the commitments from both sides and the governance structure.

On 14 June 2021, the Commission adopted Commission Decision C(2021)4113 on the approval and signature of the memoranda of understanding for 11 Co-Programmed Partnerships. You will find the approved and signed MoU for each co-programmed partnership in the partnership’s Candidate details.

With over €8 billion from Horizon Europe, the Partnerships will run from 2021 to 2030, allowing them to provide input into the last calls of Horizon Europe and wrap up their final activities afterwards.

The decision allows the Commission to work together with industry to boost investments in research and innovation and to overcome major climate and sustainability challenges, towards making Europe the first climate neutral economy and delivering on the European Green Deal.

The partnerships will also deliver on the EU’s digital ambitions for the next decade, Europe’s Digital Decade, in line with the goals of the “twin”  green and digital transitions.

Implementing the partnerships

Implementation runs first and foremost through the Horizon Europe work programmes and their calls for proposals. Each partnership provides the Commission with input on relevant call topics to be included in the work programmes. The grants resulting from these calls are fully funded by Horizon Europe.

The private partners also develop additional activities, which are not funded through Horizon Europe, but which are included in the Partnership’s Strategic Research and Innovation Agendas.

These additional activities typically focus on issues such as market deployment, skills development or regulatory aspects.

Co-funded European Partnerships using a programme co-fund action

These are partnerships involving EU countries, with research funders and other public authorities at the core of the consortium.

Institutionalised European Partnerships

These are partnerships in the field of research and innovation between the Union, EU member states and/or industry.

These partnerships require legislative proposals from the Commission and are based on a Council Regulation (Article 187) or a Decision by the European Parliament and Council (Article 185). They are implemented by dedicated structures created for that purpose.

Institutionalised partnerships will only be implemented where other parts of the Horizon Europe P     rogramme, including other types of partnership, would not achieve the desired objectives or expected impacts.

EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) are also institutionalised partnerships. EIT KICs aim to address skills shortages and      are already established under Horizon 2020. Key partners in EIT KICs are higher education institutions, research organisations, companies and other stakeholders.

Identifying partnerships

Identifying European Partnerships is an integral part of Horizon Europe’s strategic planning process. This will ensure alignment with the programme’s priorities.

In line with the better regulation agenda, the Commission carried out impact assessments that helped identify the current Partnerships under Horizon Europe.

The portfolio of European Partnerships under the first Strategic Plan includes 49 candidates, out of which most have started operations.

For institutionalised partnerships, the Commission carried out an open public consultation covering all institutionalised partnerships candidates based on Articles 185 and 187 between September and November 2019. The Impact Assessment Study for institutionalised European Partnerships under Horizon Europe was published in 2020.

Source of information:
Web site of the European Commission