EJP Cofund under H2020 - practical information

Regarding the preparation and implementation of EJP Cofund actions, ERA-LEARN has collected information from existing networks. The main findings are summarised below.

Long-term preparation required

  • The preparation of an EJP Cofund action entails significant lead times of about two years – provided that a well cooperating community across Europe is already in place.

Commitment is crucial

  • Due to the heavy administrative burden, a specialised coordination team is needed.
  • Because of the size and the policy orientation of the EJP Cofund actions, the needed efforts exceed substantially the requirements for ERA-NETs Cofund actions (yet still less than Art.185).
  • With the high commitment, true recognition and higher weight in policy/strategic negotiations (including sustainability) can be gained.

Consortium based on predecessor initiatives

  • EJP Cofund actions address mostly highly similar actors, and are based on predecessor initiatives/programmes.
  • Sometimes it can be difficult to find a balance between partners in the consortium and linked third parties. In particular, during open calls there might be a conflicting status of RPOs.

Governance and implementation are complex

  • Governance structures are usually complex in order to ensure that policy relevant programmes are established – they usually entail a policy level (often outside the consortium) and an operational level inside the consortium.
  • A complex structure involving DGs and agencies at EU level, and national agencies/ministries at national level, complemented by advisory structures to ensure the quality of funded actions are frequently used.
  • The implementation of joint actions is complex and entails a complex internal accounting system with different internal reimbursement rates taking into account the different types of activities carried out. Furthermore, depending on the choice of the financial approach (e.g. black box model) possible “sophisticated” financial arrangement approaches are in place.

Annual work plan required

  • While an annual work plan can be seen as an opportunity for flexibility in the implementation, the annual cycle was considered too short by those with a strong focus on direct R&G (based on internal calls), notably when considering the associated administrative efforts.
  • Reporting tools do not integrate the dynamic character of the programme leading to multiple amendments.


  • The design of an EJP Cofund action represents a challenge for an increased openness of actions towards actors outside the consortium. In particular the difficulties around the involvement of third parties and the difficulties in providing funding for organisations outside the consortium are perceived as a main barrier towards an increased openness.
  • EJP Cofund consortia should be open towards any Member State / Associated country who has a relevant national programme and is willing to join

Flexibility and Impact

  • There is a high level of flexibility; different type of activities are possible (with different reimbursement rates if agreed by the consortium).
  • The flexibility is allowing a better response and alignment with strategic objectives at national & EU level.
  • The activities lead to an increased efficiency, decreased overlaps and optimised budgets in the domain.
  • The currently applied KPIs concern mainly scientific objectives and are less impact oriented – however, the policy orientation of the EJP Cofund action should allow for the establishment of more outcome and impact oriented KPIs.
  • High impact for the community can be achieved.