The FET (Future and Emerging Technologies) programme under the “Excellent Research” pillar of Horizon 2020 supports the development of two flagship initiatives: the Graphene and Human Brain Projects.
Flagships are a means for the Commission to galvanise participation, knowledge and funding around topics of wide European interest and breakthrough RDI.
The current FET Flagships were selected out of six pilot projects under FP7. Their consortia involve around 200 research institutes from at least 15 Member States. The Graphene and Human Brain Projects are expected to raise €1 billion over a period of 10 years. As FET Flagships were established on a P2P model (Public-to-Public partnership), the EU committed to contribute half of the budget (i.e. around €50 million per year), while Member States, national and regional funding agency will provide the other half.
For now, both flagship initiatives are in their Ramp-up phase – since their selection in 2013 and up until the end of their FP7 agreement in 2016. Then the Operational phase will start under Horizon 2020 funding until 2023.
The whole FET Flagship programme will revolve around the two Core projects, formed by their respective consortium. Partner projects will also be able to participate in the initiatives through Partnering Project Agreements. Association to the Graphene and HBP consortia will be possible through Association Mechanisms – which modalities will be established in the last term of 2014. The first association of Partner projects are expected to be made in the first semester of 2015.
Actions to raise national funding for participation in the flagships will be carried out in part by FLAG-ERA, the ERA-Net specifically designed to support EU FET Flagships. An ERA-Net is a network of national and regional funding organisations (NRFOs) which aims at facilitating and better managing transnational research collaborations.
FLAG-ERA, which was implemented under FP7 as of October 2013, consists of 37 NRFOs from 26 countries. Apart from FET Flagships, they also support the development of four flagship pilots. This network will coordinate the national funding made available for projects overlapping with or complementing flagship activities.
In this context, they will launch various Joint Transnational Calls (JTCs) under the two flagship topics: Graphene and the Human Brain. The first JTC opened on 27 October 2014 and will close on 27 January 2015. Its budget amounts to €18.5 million. A consortium of various research groups must be formed, who will then jointly submit a proposal. Funding will however be granted separately by NFROs, depending on the participants’ country.
JTC consortia must include at least three participants from three H2020 eligible countries, all requesting funding; or, at least two participants from two countries requesting funding, with one Core project partner which will secure its own funding. In total, no more than half of the consortium must be formed by Core project partners.
Proposals will be evaluated by an independent international Science Evaluation Panel and external reviewers, on the basis of the proposals’ relevance to the Call, science and technical quality, implementation and impact.
Proposals that are evaluated positively will be recommended for funding to Core project, which will in turn approve their association contribution as Partnering projects.
FLAG-ERA’s FP7 mandate ends on September 2016. However, it will be renewed under Horizon 2020’s Work Programme 2016-2017.
Even though the FNR is an associated member of FLAG-ERA, no NRFO in Luxembourg participated in the first JTC. For this reason, Luxembourg candidates wishing to participate in a JTC consortium will not receive funding. However, this may change for the next Call.