One of the most important new features of Horizon Europe, the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation (2021–2027), are research and innovation partnerships between European funding agencies. The Commission’s aim is to build a simpler, more strategic partnership portfolio based on longer-term planning. The new research and innovation partnerships are hoped to have a bigger impact and produce results that are easier for policymakers to leverage. Another goal is to increase synergy between EU policies and various EU programmes. The partnerships will be partially funded through national sources and partially through existing EU programmes.
The strategic Horizon Europe framework programming document included 49 candidates for partnerships that are designed to build on the current ERA-Nets, Joint Programming and European Joint Programme networks and incorporate more scientific disciplines. Member States’ relevant government departments, private-sector operators, non-governmental organisations and key operators in other sectors are also encouraged to get actively involved in the partnerships. The new partnerships are due to be launched in two waves (2021–2022 and 2023–2024) as part of the first Work Programmes for Horizon Europe. The first new partnership calls are expected to open to researchers towards the end of 2021.
There are three types of partnerships: institutionalised, co-programmed and co-funded. Co-funded partnerships will largely replace and/or merge existing networks in which the Academy of Finland has played an active part. Some of the current networks are also likely to continue operating alongside the new partnerships. The Academy of Finland will participate in certain co-funded partnerships and the associated research funding calls. More information will be published later in 2020 as planning progresses and the Commission’s timelines for the partnerships are confirmed.