Commission and industry invest €22 billion in new European Partnerships to deliver solutions to major societal challenges

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today, the Commission launched 11 new European Partnerships together with industry, to boost investments in research and innovation and to overcome major climate and sustainability challenges, towards making Europe the first climate neutral economy and delivering on the European Green Deal. In line with the goals of the ‘twin’ green and digital transition, the Partnerships will also deliver on the EU’s digital ambitions for the next decade, Europe’s Digital Decade. They will receive over €8 billion from Horizon Europe, the new EU research and innovation programme for 2021-2027. The total commitments, including those from private partners and from Member States, amount to around €22 billion.

This critical mass of funding allows the Partnerships to pursue innovative solutions on a large scale, for example to tackle emissions from energy-intensive industries and hard-to-decarbonise sectors, such as shipping and steel-making, as well as to develop and deploy high-performance batteries, sustainable fuels, artificial intelligence tools, data technologies, robotics, and more. Pooling in efforts, resources and investments jointly and on a large scale under the Partnerships will also generate long-term positive impacts, boost European competitiveness and technological sovereignty and create jobs and growth.

The eleven European Partnerships are:

  1. European Partnership for the European Open Science Cloud. It aims to deploy and consolidate by 2030 an open, trusted virtual environment to enable the estimated 2 million European researchers to store, share and reuse research data across borders and disciplines.
  2. European Partnership for Artificial Intelligence, Data and Robotics. To deliver the greatest benefit to Europe from Artificial Intelligence (AI), data and robotics, this Partnership will drive innovation, acceptance and uptake of these technologies, for the benefit of citizens and businesses.
  3. European Partnership for Photonics (light-based technologies). It aims to speed up photonic innovations, securing Europe’s technological sovereignty, raising the competitiveness of Europe’s economy and promoting long-term job creation and prosperity.
  4. European Partnership for Clean Steel – Low Carbon Steelmaking. It supports EU leadership in transforming the steel industry into a carbon-neutral one, serving as a catalyser for other strategic sectors.
  5. European Partnership Made in Europe. It will be the driving force for European leadership in sustainable manufacturing in Europe, by applying the principles of the circular economy (zero-waste and others), digital transformation and climate neutral manufacturing.
  6. European Partnership Processes4Planet. Its vision is that European process industries are globally leading on the 2050 climate neutrality goal with a strong focus on low-carbon technologies, circularities, such as circularity hubs and competitiveness.
  7. European Partnership for People-centric Sustainable Built Environment (Built4People). Its vision is high-quality, low-carbon, energy and resource-efficient built environments, like buildings, infrastructure, and more, which drive the transition towards sustainability.
  8. European Partnership towards Zero-emission Road Transport (2Zero). It aims to accelerate the development of zero-emission transport with a systems approach, supporting a climate neutral and clean road transport system.
  9. European Partnership for Connected, Cooperative and Automated Mobility. Its goal is to accelerate the implementation of innovative, connected, cooperative and automated mobility technologies and services.
  10. European Partnership for Batteries: Towards a competitive European industrial battery value chain. It aims to support the development of a world-class European research and innovation ecosystem on batteries, and to foster European industrial leadership in the design and production of batteries for the next generation of both stationary and mobile applications.
  11. European Partnership for Zero Emission Waterborne Transport. It aims for the EU to lead and accelerate the transformation of maritime and inland waterborne transport to eliminate all harmful environmental emissions, including greenhouse gas, air and water pollutants, through innovative technologies and operation.

The Commission adopted today Memoranda of Understanding to launch the Partnerships, which will start their operations immediately. A signature ceremony for the Memoranda of Understanding will take place at the European Research and Innovation Days on 23 June.

Members of the College said:

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said: “Cooperation is key when it comes to overcoming the challenges in Europe’s green and digital transition. And digital technologies are driving this transition towards a climate-neutral, circular and more resilient economy. The eleven partnerships, that the Commission and the industry has proposed together today, will mobilise significant resources, around €22 billion, so that we can jointly identify trustworthy artificial intelligence, data, robotics and many more technological tools to reach our environmental and climate goals, for a cleaner and healthier future.”

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “These Partnerships are all about pooling research and innovation resources and ensuring that research results are turned into useful innovations for the citizens. With Horizon Europe we are committed to emerge from the climate crisis, provide sustainable solutions to major environmental challenges and accelerate a sustainable recovery. This will benefit all Europeans.”

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said: With the new Partnerships Europe is coming at the forefront of global technological developments, building key industrial capacities and accelerating its twin green and digital transitions. This will help put Europe on a path towards climate-neutrality by 2050 and a circular economy. Through their work, the Partnerships will also put an emphasis on developing the digital technologies needed for supporting Europe’s industrial leadership.

Background

The eleven Partnerships for which Memoranda of Understanding have been adopted today are so-called ‘co-programmed’ European Partnerships – partnerships between the Commission and mostly private, but sometimes also public, partners. They will run from 2021 to 2030, allowing them to provide input into the last calls of Horizon Europe and wrap up their final activities afterwards.

The Memorandum of Understanding is the basis for the cooperation in a Partnership, as it specifies its objectives, the commitments from both sides and the governance structure. The Partnerships also provide the Commission with input on relevant topics to be included in the Horizon Europe Work Programmes. Implementation runs first and foremost through the Horizon Europe Work Programmes and their calls for proposals. Private partners develop additional activities, which are not funded through Horizon Europe, but which are included in the Partnership’s Strategic Research and Innovation Agendas and focus on issues such as market deployment, skills development or regulatory aspects.

These ‘co-programmed’ European Partnerships are different, but also complementary to the more complex so-called ‘institutionalised’ European Partnerships, which are based on a legislative proposal from the Commission and have a ‘Dedicated Implementing Structure’. Earlier this year, in February the Commission proposed to set up 10 new ‘institutionalised’ European Partnerships between the European Union, Member States and/or the industry. With an investment of nearly €10 billion, which the partners will match with at least an equivalent amount, they aim to speed up the transition towards a green, climate neutral and digital Europe, and to make European industry more resilient and competitive.

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