Established as an instrument under the 6th Framework Programme (2002-2006), the goal of ERA-NETs is to promote cooperation among scientific research funding agencies, ministries and/or research institutes (as program managers) of European Union member-states as well as associated and third countries. As such, ERA-NETs aim at reversing ongoing fragmentation and fostering transnational collaboration among researchers. More information on the history of ERA-NETs.
ERA-NETs’ objectives are achieved through the implementation of such tasks as mapping, dissemination, evaluation and monitoring of activities developed under the auspices of consortia, launching of joint transnational calls, inter alia. Although ERA-NETs’ coordination is supported by the European Commission, funding of research projects is covered by each participating country.
In order to increase available funding for transnational research projects, the 7th Framework Programme (2007-2013) launched an alternative instrument to the ERA-NETs scheme: ERA-NETs Plus. ERA-NETs Plus differ from traditional ERA-NETs in the following aspect: under such scheme transnational calls the European Commission provides a topping up to 33% in addition to national funding. However, under ERA-NETs Plus management-related expenses have to be entirely covered by the consortium partners.
So far FCT has participated in 61 ERA-NETs; 31 are still ongoing. Most of these ERA-NETs are of specific thematic scope, and belong to four core research domains: Exact Sciences and Engineering; Life and Health Sciences; Natural and Environmental Sciences; and Social Sciences and Humanities. The sole ERA-NETs unattached to any of those domains are featured by their geostrategic relevance, and generate cooperation between the European Union member-states and associated countries with a third country or target-region in the world. FCT participates in such a type of ERA-NET with India, Latin America and Africa.