ERA-NETs - European Research Area Networks
The objective of the ERA-NET Cofund instrument is to support coordination and joint calls for proposals of national and regional funding programmes in priority areas of European research.
In an ERA-NET, research funding organisations and programme managers from EU-Member States and Associated Countries combine financial and human resources in order to implement joint activities. The goal is to deepen the European Research Area (ERA) and to boost the efficiency of European research and research funding.
Horizon 2020 ERA-NET Cofund combines the two former FP7 schemes ERA-NET and ERA-NET+. In Horizon 2020, ERA-NET is used to provide financial support to the implementation of transnational calls for proposals with a common thematic focus. The programme's main emphasis is laid on funding R&D. A precondition for joint calls is that they create a European added value. In some caeses, ERA-NETs can be used to facilitate the establishment of a Joint Programme under Art. 185 TFEU or to support a Joint Programming Initiative.
The ERA-NET funding scheme is addressed to programme owners (e.g. ministries) and programme managers (funding agencies such as the DFG and project management organisations/Projektträger) that manage and implement national and regional programmes.
Researchers, research organisations, universities and enterprises can apply to the ERA-NETs' joint calls. Potential applicants should contact the national funding organisation implementing the ERA-NET.
The ERA-NET consortia have to comprise three participants from at least three different Member States or Associated countries. In justified cases they can additionally include other legal entities (e.g. NGOs) which manage research programmes.
Sole legal entities might be eligible for participation if all general conditions are fulfilled and if the entity comprises different members.
All projects funded via the co-funded joint call for proposals have to be transnational (at least two participants from at least two different countries). Evaluation has to be carried out first on national, and then on international level by a peer-review. The ERA-NET consortium has to identify joint evaluation criteria (excellence, impact, quality and efficiency of implementation). [pagebreak]
All ERA-NETs in Horizon 2020 include an obligatory joint call for proposals for transnational research and innovation projects. The beneficiaries award grants to third parties such as universities or private entities; however the funding organisations and programme owners may also implement research projects or parts of projects themselves.
Besides implementing a co-funded call for proposals, the ERA-NET consortia can carry out further activities by using other sources of funding or own resources.
Calls for the establishement of ERA-NETs are launched top-down within the Societal Challenges and Leading and Industrial Technologies.
An ERA-NET can be funded by the European Commission for up to five years.
In order to launch an ERA-NET, all partners have to commit a financial contribution to a joint call. The sum provided for the call is "topped-up" by a Commission payment amounting to 33% of the national funding. ERA-NETs are implemented via "programme Cofund actions". Costs arising from the organisation and preparation of the "topped-up" joint call or costs occured after the call are not eligible for further funding.
Eligible costs are F&I costs incured by the project which arises from the joint call. For each ERA-NET-Grant Agreement, only one joint call will be cofinanced by the European Commission. Costs of coordinating further joint activities of the ERA-NET, such as additional joint calls without EU-top-up-funding, are also eligible. These costs will be reimbursed via unit costs. Beneficiairies which in the context of an ERA-NET implement transnational projects themselves, instead of awarding grants to other organisations via a call for proposal, cannot claim coordination costs for additional joint activities.
The Commission does not define the exact budget to be allocated to an ERA-NET. However, the thematic Work-Programmes set out the approximate amounts of the contributions.