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Lead Market European research Area network

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Supporting lead markets

An EU project supported six 'lead markets' through a programme of multi-regional research. The work funded 30 projects with a combined total of EUR 22 million – considerably more than planned.

Industrial Technologies

The EU has identified six lead markets that straddle several scientific fields. The markets are difficult for any single European region to tackle, thus warranting a combined effort. With EU funding, the LEAD ERA (Lead market European Research Area network) project aimed to foster the necessary coordination. The consortium sought to unite the lead markets and ERANET by adding a research dimension. Goals included raising awareness of lead markets, sharing knowledge among regional players, defining opportunities for collaboration, and developing a joint scientific and technological strategy. In particular, the group planned to establish a transnational fund of at least EUR 10 million of public funding. Research areas concerned e-health, protective textiles, sustainable construction, recycling, bio-based products and renewable energies. The 13-member undertaking ran for 60 months, concluding in early 2014. One of the project's first milestones was a common strategy for dissemination and communication. Such work connected research and development stakeholders, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), from numerous countries and regions. The connections helped to foster knowledge exchange. Subsequently, the team also prepared a joint strategy for the proposed research. The consortium launched four calls for research proposals. Responses included 87 pre-proposals and 52 full proposals, representing 356 organisations, of which 209 were SMEs, and a total funding request of EUR 87 million. Over 30 % of applications addressed e-health themes. LEAD ERA raised awareness of six European lead markets, while also funding more projects than originally expected, particularly in e-health. Hence, the consortium helped to improve the European health care sector, and established lasting relationships among various regional research players.


Lead markets, multi-regional research, scientific fields, European Research Area, transnational fund

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