Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs)
The concept of Joint Programming was established following the analysis of the results of a public consultation on a Commission Green Paper issued in April 2007, and the consensus reached by the Council of Ministers in December 2008. Joint Programming was considered a crucial step towards strengthening joint European research and innovation, enabling European countries and Associated Countries to voluntarily work together, pool resources from national research programmes, and set up joint calls for proposals. The aim was for Joint Programming to support the implementation of the European Research Area and the means by which this would be achieved was through th creation of initiatives called Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs).
Member States commit to JPIs on a voluntary basis and use these initiatives to agree on common visions and Strategic Research Agendas (SRAs) to address major societal challenges. Apart from establishing SRAs, JPIs also serve to coordinate calls for trans- national research projects that are funded using a ‘virtual common pot’ approach, whereby participating states make a financial contribution towards a call that is then used to support activities at national level. Thus, JPIs serve as a vehicle to coordinate nationally-funded research at European level, building on the experience gained from existing schemes coordinating national programmes such as ERA-NETs.
The European Commission financially supports JPIs through two main types of instruments:
Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs) (which fund the general coordination activities of the JPI but not the research as such), and the ERANET instrument (which supports various activities of the JPI and provides top-up funding from the European Commission for not more than one joint call for proposals per year). It is important to note, however, that the main goal of JPIs is to coordinate national funding and that EU funding for research is only made available for a few of the calls for proposals launched by JPIs. Apart from the coordination of national and EU R&I funding, a core benefit of JPIs is the sharing of knowledge between R&I programme owners and managers in designing and implementing the joint calls addressing a specific challenge.
Following the launch of the Joint Programming Process in December 2008, ten JPIs were selected by the High Level Group on Joint programming (GPC) addressing different societal challenges or sub-challenges:
- Alzheimer and other Neurodegenerative Diseases (JPND)
- Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE)
- A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (HDHL)
- Cultural Heritage and Global Change: A New Challenge for Europe
- Urban Europe - Global Urban Challenges, Joint European Solutions
- Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe (CliK'EU)
- More Years, Better Lives (MYBL)- The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change
- Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)- The Microbial Challenge - An Emerging Threat to Human Health
- Water Challenges for a Changing World
- Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans)
JPIs have all evolved in slightly different ways and have matured to varying degrees over the last few years. JPND, the first JPI that was established, has gained most ground, although it has become apparent that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach for JPIs. There are currently no plans to launch new JPIs, and the focus is instead on providing further support for the implementation of existing JPIs, improving international cooperation of JPIs beyond Europe, and stimulating further Member State engagement and industry participation.
European countries commit to the JPIs on a variable geometry basis in accordance with their needs, capacities and resources. Countries may sign up to JPIs as full members or ‘observers’ without voting rights on the Management Boards (MB). Membership requires payment of an annual fee, which can vary from one initiative to the next, and this affords voting rights to the participating state.
Malta currently holds observer status on JPI Oceans and also attends MB meetings of JPND. To date, there has been no participation by Maltese entities in any of the JPIs’ calls for proposals. Apart from being represented on the different JPI Boards, Malta participates in the GPC, a forum dedicated to the oversight of the Joint Programming Process at EU-level.