The project M-ERA.NET (From materials science and engineering to innovation for Europe) created a flexible umbrella structure network with the ability to address societal challenges and technological needs. Efforts focused on promoting the convergence of funding programmes, streamlining of programme procedures and more efficient resource utilisation. Project partners successfully published four joint calls for transnational cooperative projects for the period 2012 to 2016. A total of 93 projects were funded (EUR 71.6 million) from the 357 proposals submitted in response to these calls. The funded projects have already reported successes in creating new results for further research and development and even commercialisation. In consultation with a Strategic Experts group involving national experts and representatives from selected initiatives (e.g. European Technology Platforms), M-ERA.NET helped with the systematic integration of the research and technological development (RTD) community. Cooperation with European stakeholders and international parties helped establish or strengthen contacts with funding organisations in Europe and beyond (e.g. Brazil, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States). This helped ensure international participation in all four joint calls, expanding from one non-European funding organisation in 2012 to four organisations in 2015. Specifically, over the 4-year duration of the project, another 10 partnerships (6 European and 4 non-European organisations) were added to the original 37 national and regional funding organisations. Partners presented project work and progress at various international events. These included industrial technologies conferences in 2012 and 2014 and the EuroNanoForum in 2013 and 2015. The network provides strong support for developing pan-European partnerships on RTD projects. It also facilitates long-term synergies between key actors from national and regional funding systems and players in materials science and engineering. Thanks to M-ERA.NET increased interdisciplinary cooperation in the materials science field is stimulating knowledge generation along the innovation chain. Specifically dedicated to covering the materials domain, M-ERA.NET involves European key players in national and regional funding of materials science and engineering, and ensures long-term synergies. Supporting cooperation at an international level, it can help develop a strong European RTD community on materials science and engineering and also afford it access to world leading knowledge.
Materials science, M-ERA.NET, science and engineering, funding programmes, international cooperation