Council conclusions concerning joint programming of research in Europe in response to major societal challenges

The Council of the European Union has published in the Official Journal of the European Union, OJEU on January 30th 2009, a report with its conclusions concerning joint programming of research in Europe in response to major societal challenges. These conclusions recognize the need for a common response to certain issues within an ever more global framework.

It this report the Council recognizes that, in the context of globalisation and the intensification of global competition, there has been a growing awareness in Europe of the existence of common societal challenges which no Member State is capable of resolving alone.

Certain issues related to, for example, climate change, the ageing of the population, energy, water or food supplies, banking finances and security are now of such a magnitude that Europe needs to elaborate a stronger, better coordinated, more coherent and more global response to these challenges

The Council highlights the important role of the Community Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP) and the related instruments, such as ERA-NET, ERA-NET + and the initiatives under Article 169, in mobilising Member States' scientific and financial resources for implementing R & D initiatives of common interest, and encourages their continued use in the context of joint responses to tackle major societal challenges.

EU Joint Programming on Research

The Council considers that, in addition to the existing regional, national, intergovernmental and Community instruments to pool or coordinate national R & D efforts, there is an increasing need for a new and more strategic approach, based on the concept and objectives of joint programming as formulated in the communication of the Commission ‘Towards joint Programming research: Working together to tackle common challenges more effectively’, which calls for the implementation of a process led by the Member States to step up their cooperation in the R & D area

More specifically, the Council encourages Member States, with the support of the Commission, to consider how best to address the following issues during the development and implementation of joint programming:

  • A coherent approach on the peer review procedures.
  • A coherent approach for foresight activities and for evaluation of joint programmes.
  • A coherent approach to funding of cross-border research by national or regional authorities.
  • Effective measures to ensure the optimum dissemination and use of research findings, inter alia via common practices for the protection, management and sharing of intellectual property rights.
  • Involvement of the various scientific and, where appropriate, industry communities.

Joint programming will be a process led by Member States, where the Commission's role will be to facilitate the process of identification and provide support as necessary.

The Council also considers that all procedures concerning joint programming of European research must be examined within the framework of the general approach to optimise the governance of the European Research Area, as provided by the Ljubljana Process.

High Level Group on Joint Programming (GPC)

Member States will collaborate in a dedicated configuration of CREST, the “High Level Group for Joint Programming” (GPC) to identify the themes for joint programming chosen following broad public consultation of the different regional, national and European scientific communities, and of the private sector where appropriate.

GPC will contribute to the preparation of the debates and decisions of the Competitiveness Council on joint programming, within the mandate of CREST and without prejudice to the responsibilities of the Committee of Permanent Representatives.

The Member States will nominate their representatives at meetings of GPC before the end of January 2009.