ERA-LEARN Report on Challenges of Widening Countries in European Partnerships

This report presents the results of an ERA-LEARN survey on some of the early organisational and national experiences in the creation and implementation of the European Partnerships (EPs). The goal of the survey was to collect information about the challenges and opportunities facing national and regional stakeholders in EU Members States and Associated Countries, in the process of development and implementation of the partnerships.

The survey results demonstrate that the main challenge facing both Widening and non-Widening countries is the lack of personnel necessary to gain necessary knowledge and expertise to create and implement the European Partnerships. In addition, the novelty of the instrument, its administrative complexity and the large number of participating organisations representing different sectors is seen as an issue. The respondents see the need for clear guidelines, including on the roles of research performing organisations in the Co-funded Partnerships and administrative support from the EC, as well as necessity of coherent and stable rules.

The engagement of Widening countries in the European Partnerships, as in H2020 partnerships, is less active than that of non-Widening ones. The former do not appear as coordinators in any types of partnerships due to lack of sufficient capacity and personnel. Widening countries also acknowledge a lack of sufficient experience in selecting national priorities and organising national consultations in view of contributing to the development of the SRIAs, in the area tackled by a given partnership. Therefore, although according to the survey, Widening countries are invited to join the partnerships, this opportunity is not fully exploited due to the reasons listed above.

More efforts are needed at the national level, with the support of the EC, with regards to capacity building, training and employing staff who can enhance participation of this group of countries in the EPs. Perhaps more explicit EC prescriptions for involving Widening countries in the EPs can be included in the partnership application process. It can be considered by the EC to make the adoption of Widening measures, including those promoting Widening countries in calls for proposals, an obligatory requirement for the partnerships. These measures proved successful in the H2020 partnerships, such as ERA-NET Cofunds and EJPs. Indicators promoting the inclusion of Widening countries on the programme and funded project levels can also be introduced to the partnership monitoring and assessment process, to stimulate greater participation of this group in the EPs. Finally, training programmes for staff involved in developing and implementing partnerships on the national and European level can be organised by the Member States with support from the EC.

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Published : 05/05/2023