The European Commission wants member states to pool together their money and brains to conduct joint research on major societal challenges such as ageing and energy security, saying purely individual efforts on such vast topics waste resources.
Presenting a Communication on joint programming on 15 July, Research Commissioner Janez Poto?nik listed fighting climate change, securing energy supply, preventing major pandemics for diseases, preserving marine ecosystems and biodiversity, ensuring food quality and securing food supply as “the most shared challenges of our societies”.
These are challenges that “can be addressed through research and technological development” and require a response at European if not global level, he added.
The ambition of the Commission’s communication is to allow cross-border research on these strategic areas by setting common research agendas, he explained.
“Obviously national programming of research has a place when it addresses national needs and priorities, but for major societal challenges,” national level action is a waste of time, money and resources, the commissioner argued.
He explained that joint programming is about public cooperation in strategic research areas where member states voluntarily decide to bring money and people together. It will also be up to the committed partners to identify common objectives and develop and implement the research agenda.
Joint programming “does not require all member states to be involved. It can be à la carte, but such partnerships will be open to any member state or associated country to join whenever they want,” Poto?nik added.
According to the optimistic commissioner, joint programming “has the potential to become a mechanism at least as important as the Framework Programmes in the European research landscape and change the very way in which Europeans think about research”.