Actors in the Joint Programming Process
Joint Programming is a shared process between the European Commission and its Member States and Associated Countries. Governance lies mainly with these players. However, there are a number of Committees and configurations that play an important role in the Joint Programming Process (JPP) and thus the development of European Research Area.
European Research Area and Innovation Committee
The European Research Area and Innovation Committee (ERAC) is a strategic policy advisory committee that advises the Council, the Commission and Member States on all issues regarding research and innovation. Its members are the European Commission and all Member States of the European Union. A number of non-EU countries that are associated to EU research and innovation programmes may participate as observers in its activities. ERAC provides strategic input on research and innovation issues where they are relevant for the development of the European Research Area. In addition to being the strategic policy advisory committee, the Council established two separate dedicated configurations for ERAC to meet in; the High Level Group on Joint Programming (GPC) and the Strategic Forum for International scientific and technological Cooperation (SFIC). ERAC, as well as the GCP and SFIC have their own responsibilities set out in separate work programmes.
Ad-hoc Working Group on Research & Innovation (R&I) Partnerships
Following several critical evaluations of the JPP, and in light of the upcoming Horizon Europe development, the Council Conclusions of 1 December 2017 called on Commission and Member States to jointly consider ways to rationalise the complex R&I partnership landscape. In addtition they were asked to establish a long-term strategic coordination process for R&I partnerships. The ad-hoc Working Group on R&I partnerships was set up to prepare this strategic coordination process. The working group prepared four reports in 2018 on the four goals they were tasked with:
- To propose criteria for selecting EU research & innovation partnerships;
- To sketch out a long-term strategic coordinating process for the selection, implementation, monitoring and phasing out of partnerships;
- To formulate recommendations for rationalising the EU R&I partnership landscape and optimising its coherence;
- To formulate recommendations on increasing the efficiency of implementation of partnerships.
The GPC (Groupe de haut niveau pour la Programmation Conjointe) was founded as a dedicated configuration of ERAC and tasked with developing guidelines (framework conditions) for the joint programming process and identify and substantiate a limited number of Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) themes. To date, the GPC has successfully initiated and accompanied the setting up of ten JPIs and delivered 'Voluntary Guidelines on Framework Conditions for Joint Programming'. After initiation of the current JPIs, the GPC continues its work in order to support JPI activities and to develop the Joint Programming Process further. Their main tasks include monitoring of the JPIs, improving the framework conditions for joint programming, promoting the alignment of research and innovation funding at national and European level, and the possible selection of new themes for further JPIs. The GPC contributed to the discussion on joint programming with the Opinion on the Future of Joint Programming to address societal challenges, prepared in the context of the interim review of Horizon 2020 and the preparation of the 9th EU Framework Programme for research and innovation (adopted at the June 2017 GPC plenary meeting). In September 2018, a special Task Force of the GPC publised an analysis of the long-term strategies of the ten JPIs.
During their years of existence, the JPIs have developed rather independently under general guidance and support of the GPC. However, growing urgency in delivering impact and an increasing pressure on national and European funding for research and coordination mechanisms have led to more structural cooperation between JPIs. The ten JPI chairs have been interacting on a regular basis since 2015, when they formulated a common statement for the Lund conference ‘Tackling Societal Challenges’ which urges for further alignment of national research activities and the international opening of JPI’s beyond Europe. Also following the critical JPI evaluation in 2016, the Chairs have released a joint statement including suggestions for improvement of the joint programming process. In 2018, at the ten year' anniverisary of the oldest JPIs , the Chairs presented a Joint Declaration for the future: 'Driving research and innovation to address global challenges'. The declaration aims at strengthening Europe's pioneering role in achieving the UN Agenda 2030 and its sustainable development goals.