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ERA-NET Scheme

The ERA-NET scheme aims at developing and strengthening the coordination of national and regional research programmes. Under the ERA-NET scheme, national and regional authorities, represented by so-called 'programme owners' and/or 'programme managers', identify research programmes they wish to coordinate or open up mutually.


  • ERA-NET actions have had different roles during the framework programmes: 'ERA-NET actions' in FP6 provided support for actors implementing public research programmes ("programme owners") to coordinate their activities e.g. by developing joint activities; in particular, joint calls for trans-national proposals. 


  • 'ERA-NET Plus actions' in FP7 provided - in a limited number of cases with high European added value - additional EU financial support to top-up research funding of a single joint call for proposals between national and/or regional programmes.


  • The ERA-NET Cofund instrument under Horizon 2020 merges the former ERA-NET and ERA-NET Plus into a single instrument with the central and compulsory element of implementing one substantial call with top-up funding from the Commission. The focus of ERA-NETs is therefore shifting from the funding of networks to the top-up funding of single joint calls for transnational research and innovation in selected areas with high European added value and relevance for Horizon 2020.

The ERA-NET scheme aims at increasing substantially the share of funding that Member States dedicate jointly to challenge driven research and innovation agendas. The EU contribution is limited to a maximum of 33% of the total eligible costs of the action (i.e. costs for support to or implementation of transnational projects) and the duration of the actions should not be longer than 5 years. The EU contribution is limited to one call per grant agreement.  The EC funding may be used for financing transnational research projects but also as means to cover (partially) the preparation and management of additional joint activities to be performed by the consortium aiming to increase coordination of national/regional programmes.

In addition, ERA-NET Cofund allows, when justified by the research area addressed and the underlying national programmes, to target research performing organizations (RPOs) with the co-funded call for proposals being based on in-kind contributions from their institutional funding. This is accommodated within the so-called in-kind ERA-NET Cofund. In this case the beneficiaries carry out the transnational projects resulting from their call for proposals themselves and the Cofund grant reimburses the costs of trans-national projects, implemented by the beneficiaries, on the basis of Horizon 2020 rules for eligible direct and indirect costs.

The Commission has nominated an Expert Group on “Evaluation of ERA-NET Cofund actions under Horizon 2020”. The report of the group is expected in September 2016.


More information: ERA-NET Cofund: background & practical information

Publication: The ERA-NET scheme from FP6 to Horizon 2020