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Joint programming actions to foster innovative energy solutions


Actions should aim at coordinating the efforts of participating Member States, Associated Countries and Regions towards achieving SET Plan objectives and, where they exist, executing the Implementation Plans jointly developed by SET Plan countries' representatives, industry and research organisations within the SET Plan priority areas numbers 1 to 9 [[C(2015)6317, pp.10-13: SET Plan Priorities no.1 to no.9 C(2015)6317, pp.10-13: SET Plan Priorities no.1 to no.9]]. In establishing their thematic scope, proposals will also take into due consideration support already provided through other topics in this work programme part. As for their technology development scope, proposals can support projects addressing any stage of the innovation chain through joint calls.

Proposals should pool the necessary financial resources from participating national or regional research programmes with a view to implementing a joint call for proposals resulting in grants to third parties with EU co-funding. Proposers are requested to also implement other joint activities, including additional joint calls without EU co-funding.

Proposals shall include provision for at least one joint call without EU funding on top of the compulsory co-funded joint call.

Proposals shall specify which additional activities will be carried out as part of the action in accordance with the definition given in General Annex D.

It is expected that actions funded through this topic will bring together national and regional programme owners and programme managers who represent diverse conditions and approaches from the EU.

Participation of legal entities from third countries is also encouraged in the joint calls and in additional joint activities, on the basis of common interest and mutual benefit. Participants from these countries may request a Union contribution (on the basis of the ERA-NET unit cost) for the coordination costs of additional activities.

The EU needs to accelerate the transformation of its energy system by bridging the gap between research and commercial deployment with innovative solutions. Bridging this gap often requires substantial volumes of investment which cannot be allocated by individual countries or by the European Commission on their own. Mobilising the necessary investment can only be achieved by pooling together financial resources from multiple countries, the Commission, and the private sector. This is a challenge because the funding landscape is complex.

One of the objectives of the SET Plan is to create funding synergies on such a big scale by organising joint programming actions between the entities responsible for public funding programmes and the Commission. ERA-NETs are a key instrument for joint programming actions within the SET Plan, and they also contribute to achieving the objectives of the European Research Area (ERA). In addition, they can play a key role in achieving the goal of the Energy Union of moving away from a fragmented system characterised by uncoordinated national policies and towards an integrated European R&I approach which accelerates the transformation of the energy system.

Areas suitable for ERA-NETs will be identified by Member States' / Associated Countries' representatives in the SET Plan governance bodies (in particular the Joint Actions Working Group). They will then be developed from the early stages in close collaboration with the European Commission and with input from the Programme Committee as needed. This collaboration will ensure that proposed ERA-NETs are in line with energy R&I and SET Plan policy objectives.

It is expected that actions will help to:

  • Establish long-lasting joint programming research efforts between Member States/Associated Countries/Regions in areas of common interest;
  • Accelerate the time to commercial deployment of affordable, cost-effective and resource-efficient technology solutions which decarbonise the energy system in a sustainable way;
  • Reduce the environmental impact of the energy system;
  • Make a measurable contribution to the objectives of the Energy Union, the SET Plan, and the European Research Area;
  • Achieve a funding leverage effect of at least 5:1 between national, regional and private sector contributions, on the one hand, and EU contributions on the other.