European Partnership Process – Strategic Coordinating Process

Objectives

Horizon Europe introduces a more strategic, coherent and impact-driven approach to European Partnerships, and orients them towards the delivery of the EU priorities. Partnerships are a key component of the new European Research Area as they allow aligning research programmes in Europe.

With the Strategic Coordination Process, the European Commission has established a governance framework for the strategic implementation of the European Partnerships. The objective of the process is to support a coherent, evidence-based and strategic policy making process on European Partnerships, guided by a common set of criteria, and ensuring close cooperation with Member States. Concretely it aims to:

  • Support community building and mutual learning across partnerships,
  • increase visibility and strengthen communication among stakeholders,
  • provide policy-makers and partnerships with evidence-base through monitoring and foresight,
  • prepare strategic discussions on key policy issues,
  • ensure a feedback loop from member states and partnerships to develop, implement, monitor, and evaluate the partnership portfolio.

In line with the 2017 Council conclusions, the Commission together with the Member States and EEA countries in the context of the Transitional Forum for R&I Partnerships has prepared the different elements of the strategic coordinating process for the partnerships under Horizon Europe. The Commission proposal was endorsed by ERAC in September 2020.

Implementation

The strategic coordinating process consists of a number of well-coordinated elements to ensure delivery on its objectives:

  • At the core is the Partnership Knowledge Hub that allows working level interactions and meetings between the Commission, Member States (and Associated Countries), as well as partnership representatives and that drives the work along all the objectives of the strategic coordinating process:
  • A Partnership Stakeholder Forum, a regular (annual) event bringing together the whole community, provides a venue for networking, broadening engagement, sharing of experiences and discussing policy and practical dimensions related to partnerships. Topics relevant for all three partnership forms will be discussed and the thematic clusters will also be considered.
  • Strategic discussion at the level of the future ERA governance, prepared by the Partnership Knowledge Hub.
  • The strategic configuration of the Horizon Europe Programme Committee will be consulted on new European Partnerships under Horizon Europe. The selection of new and/or renewed European partnerships under Horizon Europe will be fully embedded in the strategic planning of Horizon Europe, with the Strategic Configuration of the Programme Committee as the single entry point for the structured and early consultation of Member States and Associated Countries, providing advice on the portfolio of partnership candidates.

These elements bring together the relevant stakeholders from Member States, the European Commission and the European Partnerships with the aim to jointly contribute to the successful implementation of the partnerships.

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Strategic Coordinating Process (Graphic: European Commission)

The biennial monitoring of partnerships will be a key element of the strategic coordination process. It will include the following issues:

  • provide an evidence base for strategic partnership policy discussions for effective and efficient implementation of partnerships throughout their life cycle,
  • increase transparency and visibility of the partnership portfolio and impact,
  • feed into Horizon Europe's monitoring and evaluation activities.

An independent expert group has been established to provide practical support in developing a framework for the biennial monitoring report on EU R&I partnerships (2021-2027). The first report of the expert group will provide a baseline and is foreseen to be published early 2022. A first interim report has been published in June 2021.

ERA-LEARN is part of the Strategic Partnership Process. The project supports the European Commission in the implementation of the process and the European Partnerships in the set-up and operation of the Partnership Initiatives.

Relevant links:

European Partnerships on the EC-Website

The strategic coordinating process builds on the active participation and input of Member States and Associated Countries in the context of ERAC (including its Ad-hoc working group for partnerships, 2018), and the Transitional Forum for R&I Partnerships (2019-2020).