The ERA-NET scheme
The ERA-NET scheme aims at developing and strengthening the coordination of national and regional research programmes in two ways :
- providing a framework for actors implementing public research programmes to coordinate their activities e.g. by developing joint activities or by mutually supporting joint calls for trans-national proposals (' ERA-NET ').
- providing additional EU financial support to participants who create a common fund for the purpose of joint calls for proposals among national and regional programmes (‘ ERA-NET PLUS ', or ' ERA-NET+ ’).
Under the ERA-NET scheme, national and regional authorities identify research programmes they wish to coordinate or open up mutually. The participants in these actions are therefore 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).
While the 'Classic' ERA-NET instrument was already introduced in the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), the ERA-NET Plus came on the scene in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The Plus instrument is designed to further enhance trans-national funding of research by adding a new dimension: the Commission provides an incentive for the organisation of one joint call by 'topping up' joint transnational funding with Community funds (i.e. 1/3rd of total funding).
The Photonics Unit is currently funding one ERA-NET+ action resulting from FP7-ICT-Call 4: PIANO+
More ERA-NET and ERA-NET+ actions in the OLAE and Photonics area are called for in the forthcoming calls FP7-ICT-Call 7 and Call 8 under objectives 3.5 and 3.6.