Article 185 Initiatives

Setup, activities and purpose

Since 2003 the European Commission has supported so-called Article 185 initiatives. These initiatives are based on Article 185 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU, 2007, ex Article 169) of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC, 1992). This Treaty enables the EU to participate in research programmes undertaken jointly by several Member States. Article 185 initiatives are therefore Public-Public-Partnerships between Member States (and Associated States) and the EU. Its aim is to integrate national R&D activities across Europe, reduce fragmentation and create a critical mass in research and innovation. In the Article 185 configuration, EU funding is combined with national funds and, in some cases, co-funding by industry. The Commission supports the initiatives with funds from Horizon 2020 where these meet the criteria laid down in the Horizon 2020 proposal. Article 185 initiatives have a contractual relationship for a duration of around 10 years with 25-50% co-funding by the EU.

Article 185 Initiatives implement research, development and innovation activities that are implemented via shared-cost, transnational projects involving partners from different countries among the participating Member States. The projects address research, technological development, demonstration and dissemination activities and should demonstrate the capability to exploit the project results within a realistic time frame. To this end, Article 185 initiatives regularly issue centrally organised calls for proposals. Such calls usually fund projects which address the objectives of the running Strategic Research Agenda. The calls are targeting multi-partner and transnational projects and encourage participation of small and medium-sized enterprises and other end-users from the participating Member States (and Associate Countries). The calls include research, innovation, training and dissemination activities.

Furthermore Article 185 Initiatives entail consultation with relevant European stakeholders concerning the research priorities to be addressed and the implementation of the programme. Article 185 Initiatives will also be used to enhance the complementarity and synergy between the Framework Programmes and activities carried out under intergovernmental structures such as EUREKA and COST. Examples of activities under Article 185 Initiatives are:

  • Joint Calls with a broad variety of different grant types (for EDCTP e.g. Integrated Projects, Ethics and Regulatory projects, Networks of Excellence) Researcher Mobility Grants (EMRP), Senior Fellowships (EDCTP)
  • Bottom-up type of funding; in particular for SMEs (EUROSTARS)

Current Article 185 initiatives and initiatives in preparation

During FP7, five Article 185 Initiatives were launched and have been implemented. Four of these Initiatives continue under Horizon 2020. PRIMA is the sixth Article 185 Initiative that is prepared under Horizon2020. YES in the column FP7 means the initiative continues under H2020. YES in the column NL indicates The Netherlands is participating in this initiative. The PLATFORM-DB2_button.png-button in the DB column links to the PLATFORM database, where more information about those initiatives can be accessed.

ACRONYM FP7 DB NL ABOUT                        
AAL 2 YES   YES Quality of life of older people
BONUS NO   NO Baltic Sea
EDCTP 2 YES   YES HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis
EMPIR YES   YES Metrology
EUROSTARS 2 YES   YES SME innovation programme
PRIMA    PLATFORM-DB2_button.png NO Mediterrenean area






Active and Assisted Living (AAL)
This article 185 was originally founded in 2008 as 'Ambient Assisted Living' and extended until the end of Horizon 2020. It is the aim of the initiative to improve the quality of life of elderly people in particular with ICT services and systems. The overall buget for AAL is 700 million euro.

Joint Baltic Sea research programme (BONUS)
BONUS aims to strengthen the research in the thematic area of the Baltic Sea with regard to environment, sustainable development, aquaculture, traffic, tourism, and so on. The program will end in 2018. Its total budget is 100 million euro.

European and Developing Countries Clinical trial Partnership (EDCTP)
The EDCTP was implemented as a pilot during FP6 and aims to provide joint research between European member states and sub-Sahara African countries in the field of the three major poverty-driven diseases: HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. It was extended by EDCTP-2 during FP7 and Horizon 2020. From 2014 to 2020 the initiative has an overall budget of 1.37 billion euro. EDCTP is an action under H2020' Societal Challenge 1.

European Metrology Innovation Research Programme (EMPIR)
EMPIR, launched in 2009, is a programme to provide metrology technology to enhance competitiveness of European industry and to tackle societal challenges. The programme furthermore aims to create integrated European research on metrology. The global budget o EMPIR is around 300 million euro.

Eurostars started in 2008 and is a joint programme to strengthen the research in small and middle sized enterprises in Europe. Eurostars is implemented by EUREKA. The Eurostars budget is over 1.1 billion euro.

Partnership on Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA)
This partnership will develop solutions for sustainable management of water and agri-food systems and will improve water availability and sustainable agriculture production in the Mediterranean region. The initiative is planned to start in 2018 for the duration of 10 years. Its budget is currently close to 500million euro.