Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


FP7-COORDINATION - Support for the coordination of research activities of the European Research Area under the Seventh Framework Programme

Framework programme


Previous programme


Official Journal Reference

L 412 of 2006-12-30

Legislative Reference

1982/2006/EC of 2006-12-18

- To strengthen international research cooperation with a view to reaping the full benefits of internationalisation of research and development and to further integrate the Community into the world-wide research community.
- To increase and therefore invest at least 3% of European Union's gross domestic product (GDP) in research activities.
- To take full advantage of the enormous potential for scientific advancement and innovation.
- To mobilise resources allocated to research on a wider scale by joining forces and avoid duplication of effort by ensuring greater coherence between national programmes.
- To pave the way for a truly European research policy, integrating the positions of all Member States and the European institutions, in key areas of common interest.


In March 2002, after the European Union's ministers had recognised the importance of the mutual opening of national research programmes, CREST, the EU's scientific and technical research committee, launched five pilot actions for the mutual openings of national programmes which were then coordinated by the inception of ERA-NET. The objective of the ERA-NET scheme was to step up the cooperation and coordination of research activities carried out at national or regional level in the Member States and Associated States through:

- the networking of research activities conducted at national or regional level, and

- the mutual opening of national and regional research programmes.

A further tool proposed under FP6 for the coordination of national and regional research at programme level was the application of Article 169 of the Treaty establishing the European Union. The main objective of Article 169 was to initiate programmes by a relevant number of Member States and Associated countries to ensure a sufficient critical mass. In June 2003, under the first Article 169 action, the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) was set up as a joint programme to combat the three major communicable diseases linked to poverty: AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

The ERA-NET scheme is based on a bottom-up approach and is therefore open to all areas of research, even those not specifically covered by the Framework Programmes.

Examples of support for the coordination of national programmes is being achieved through the following actions:

- Achieving critical mass required to take on a task, by pooling both human and financial resources when resources in a single country are insufficient, for example in the treatment of rare diseases that affects relatively few people. Equally, health problems are common to all countries and it makes sense to tackle them together.

- Global issues affect humanity as a whole, not just Europe, and need to be addressed at a global level. Consequently, cooperation is required on a pan-European and an international scale. Research on climate change is often conducted at a local level because of localised effects. The Circle project, which started in summer 2004 will extend its activities within the ERA-Net frame for 2005-2009, and is currently preparing the ground for a coordinated information network on climate change which will serve as a base from which joint research activities can be proposed.

- Population ageing is among Europe's most pressing problems and is a huge challenge from the point of view of health, pension and social welfare systems. The ERA-AGE is bringing together the national research programmes from 14 European countries to help Europe address age-related problems in a concerted way.

- ERA-NET TRANSPORT seeks to promote closer cooperation between national transport research programmes, leading to economies of scale and greater overall effectiveness.

- Shared resources - marine, water, biological, or common environmental problems, such as flooding, are of common geographical concern and ERA-NET will promote the coordination of pooled resources and research. The BONUS network brings together 11 organisations involved in the funding and coordination of Baltic marine science and organise the use of infrastructures.

- International cooperation is an important element of European research policy to facilitate global cooperation and the exchange of information and resources. The CO-REACH ERA-NET is dedicated to developing coordination between programmes developed as a result of bilateral science cooperation programmes with China, creating a solid foundation for analysis of successes and problems in building transnational cooperation.

The ERA-NET scheme has proved to be an opportunity for the exchange of information and the development of collaborative research programmes. The projects funded cover all fields of science and technology including social science and the humanities. Partners from all Member States and Associated countries, as well as several third countries are involved in these projects, effectively networking the European Research Area.

Draft issue paper for 'Provisions for the preparation of ERA-NET actions and their practical implementation'. Version 2006-12-21.
Brochure 'Networking the European Research Area, Coordination of National Programmes. ERA-NET Article 169'.
Corrigendum to Council Decision 2006/971/EC of 19 December 2006 concerning the specific programme 'Cooperation' implementing the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007 to 2013) (Official Journal of the European Union L 54 of 22 February 2007).


Coordination of non-Community research programmes will be undertaken by two main tools, the ERA-NET scheme and the participation of the Community in jointly implemented national research programmes under Article 169 of the Treaty. The action may cover subjects not directly linked to the ten themes in so far as they have sufficient European added value. The action will also be used to enhance the complementarity and synergy between the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and activities carried out in the framework of intergovernmental structures. Examples of these are EUREKA (a pan-European research and development funding and coordination organisation), EIROforum and COST, where this action will include financial support for the administration and coordination activities of nationally funded research teams.

The ERA-NET scheme will develop and strengthen the coordination of national and regional activities by providing a framework for actors implementing public research programmes to step up the coordination of their activities. In order to achieve this, the ERA-NET scheme is implemented under the 'Cooperation' and 'Capacities' specific programmes of FP7. This will include support for new ERA-NETs, as well as deepening and broadening the scope of those that exist already. ERA-NETs could be used for programme coordination between European regions and Member States to enable their cooperation with large-scale initiatives.

Proposals for ERA-NET actions may be submitted for any topic relevant to the objectives of the Framework Programme through two alternative routes:
- The first requires proposals to refer to prescribed topics, singled out for ERA-NETs in the 'Cooperation' or 'Capacities' work programmes.
- For proposals not directly linked to the themes of FP7, but are linked horizontally and have sufficient European added value.

Research programmes carried out at national or regional level should be entire research programmes or parts of such programmes, with the following characteristics:

- a focus on a definite subject area:
- to run for a set time and have a coordinated management:
- they should be carried out at national or regional level:
- they should be financed or managed directly by national or regional public bodies, or structures closely related to, or mandated by, public authorities.

Funding will be allocated as in coordination actions. 'Coordination and support actions' (CSA) will be the funding scheme used. The Community contribution will be in the form of a grant consisting of reimbursement of eligible costs related to the action, and will be limited to the costs of the additional activities undertaken to implement the ERA-NET action.

The Commission services will monitor the project so as to ensure proper execution of the work. A project officer will be assigned to monitor each ERA-NET, who will arrange a review, if appropriate. The review will analyse the work performed against the contract established. The consortium shall provide the Commission with a general overview of the progress of the jointly funded projects.


Please visit the CORDIS site to check the latest calls for proposals and the official work programme under the FP7 'SIS' research theme
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