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Energy Research Funding in the European Union

In European consortia, researchers from various member states work together to drive energy research forwards. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) funds applied energy research projects at the national, European, and international levels.
The “Strategic Energy Technology Plan” (SET Plan) is the basis for the transition to a climate-neutral energy system at the European level. It forms an overarching strategic structure for energy research in the European Union (EU). In order to achieve climate change targets, the SET plan focuses primarily on applied energy research. The goal of the plan is the short-term development of competitive carbon-free technologies so as to help shape the future energy supply of Europe.

ERA-NET Cofund actions call for transnational research projects

In one ERA-NET Cofund action within Horizon 2020, the interested EU member states and associated states form a consortium together with the EU concerning a particular subject. The goal of this is to strategically coordinate EU and national programmes. Calls for transnational research and innovation projects are jointly issued accordingly. Beginning in 2021, the new EU framework programme Horizon Europe intends to further expand the research cooperation agreements established in the ERA-NET actions at the European level with “co-funded partnerships”.

The states involved in the ERA-Net actions jointly determine the funding topics for the respective ERA-NET Cofunds in the field of energy together with the EU. The funding topics are published in the joint calls. The research consortia can then apply in response to the corresponding calls. An ERA-NET Cofund issues one or more calls for funding, the first of which receives about 33 % in co-funding from the European Commission. Beyond that, the projects are financed and administered at the national level. A similar procedure is also currently planned for the co-funded partnerships.

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