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European Research Area Partnerships

European Research Area Partnerships (ERA) are initiatives through which the European Commission and public and/or private partners commit to support the development and implementation of a research and innovation program.

Created in 2000 as a follow-up to the Lisbon Strategy, the partnerships contribute significantly to achieving European Union (EU) policy priorities such as the European Green Deal, the EU's digital strategy, or post-pandemic recovery.

Benefits of Partnerships for the scientific community

The participation of FCT in the Partnerships allows the national scientific community to obtain funding to develop its research in international consortia, through the projects supported following the joint transnational Calls launched.

The National System of Science and Technology finds in these partnerships a wide range of opportunities, since the possibility of Portugal influencing strategic agendas of research and innovation, European and international.

Among the most relevant benefits we highlight:

  • effective international collaboration, through the coordination and participation of national researchers in international projects (such as, among others, the exchange of scientists and students, training, and the initiation of new lines of research);
  • the participation of the national scientific community in international scale projects with access to state-of-the-art R&I infrastructures that Portugal does not have;
  • the affirmation of the national community in an international context through the coordination of joint transnational projects;
  • the promotion of the national scientific community through its integration in international evaluation panels, scientific advisory boards, thematic workshops, among others;
  • o networkingnetworking, knowledge sharing, and creation/consolidation of international networks with the participation of national scientists;
  • increasing the impact of the research produced.

Check each Partnership's page for more information, such as the scientific areas that can be funded or whether there are open applications:

Partnerships in the Horizon2020 and Horizon Europe framework programs

The previous Framework Programme, Horizon 2020 (H2020), proposed an inclusive and open approach to excellence in R&I in Europe's regions and stronger support for partnerships with the public and private sectors to pool resources and build more effective programmes. A broad partnership model has been proposed, with Public-Public Partnerships (P2Ps) and Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), among others, being launched.

Following the evaluation of H2020, the European Commission decided to deepen the strategic dimension of the partnerships, to improve their openness and transparency and to link them to EU policy priorities. This approach, formalized in the new Horizon Europe (HE) Framework Programme, focuses on fewer and bigger partnerships, now called European Partnerships, able to make a strong impact in the area they address.

Results-oriented, European Partnerships pursue a more ambitious strategic scope, aligned with the HE Strategic Plan, more coherent, with common criteria for the life cycle of partnerships, and more synergistic, with links to other relevant EU initiatives (including European Missions).

ransition from Horizon 2020 partnerships to Horizon Europe European Partnerships


FCT's participation in the Partnerships and the funding allocated to Portuguese institutions participating in joint transnational projects under these partnerships fits in with the principles and purposes outlined in the Council of Ministers Resolution No. 78/2016, which stresses the urgency of consolidating and deepening Portugal 's integration in the ERA, and is aligned with FCT's Thematic Agendas for Research and Innovation.


FCT's participation in Partnerships

FCT represents Portugal, alone and/or in association with other national institutions, in the following types of partnerships:

Co-funded partnerships: these are a combination of national and EU public and/or other R&I funding sources. These consortia involve Member States, research funders and other public entities. Consortia draw up joint research agendas which are implemented through joint transnational Calls and other joint activities.

Co-financed partnerships in which FCT participates:

Institutionalized partnerships: based on articles 185 or 187 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) regulation for the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KIC).

The preparation of institutionalized partnerships requires new EU legislation and the creation of specific legal structures (funding bodies) based on articles 185 and 187 of the TFEU. As such, each institutionalized partnership must be justified with an impact assessment prior to the preparation of legislative proposals.

Institutionalized partnerships in which the FCT participates:

Partnerships without co-financing: they are based on financing by the member states without financial participation by the European Commission, although with its support.

Partnerships without co-funding in which the FCT participates:

You can check out the funding opportunities on the list of Calls .

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