Monday, 5 July 2010

EC: Joint Programming

At the same conference we heard about the EC's move towards Joint Programming. Joint Programming might be something some of you have heard about before: it's slowly rising to the top of the European funding agenda.

The thinking behind it is that research funding is spread thinly across Europe and, if we want to attract and retain the best researchers globally we need to act more collectively. They gave an example of public funding in EU27 compared with that in the USA: each EU country has some pot of money (with the Germans having the most, at around €170m). However, none come close to the US total of €100bn. But when you add all the EU funding together it comes to €90bn, which is much more respectable.

So you can see the logic: act together, and we're greater the sum of our parts. So how does it work in practice? Well of course, this being Europe, a committee has been formed: the High Level Group for Joint Programming (or GPC for short, from the French “Groupe de haut niveau pour la Programmation Conjointe"). The GPC maps out the current funding coverage for research at the moment and identifies areas of shortage. The first area, which became a Joint Programming Initiative (JPI), was on Alzheimer's - see the link below. After this, the Phase 1 JPIs were confirmed in December 2009 as:
  • Agriculture, food security and climate change
  • A healthy diet for a healthy life (formerly known as "Health, food and prevention of diet-related diseases")
  • Cultural heritage & global change (formerly known as "Cultural heritage, climate change and security")

In May the GPC identified the Phase 2 themes as:

  • Urban Europe
  • Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe
  • More years, better lives
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Water challenges for a Chaning World
  • Healthy & productive seas and oceans
How will these actually feed through into funding? Well, being Europe, these things take time and many, many committee meetings: the next steps are for further drafts of the proposal for JPIs in July, followed by a conference in Octover, and a Council meeting in November, so it will be next year at the earliest. But if you work in one of these areas it's worth noting that substantial, cross-European funding is on the horizon, so do some background reading on what they've got planned. Here are some links:

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