EU life science PPPs face less budget in Horizon Europe

The European Commission is set to fund ten "European Partnerships" partnered with different industries with €10bn.


The EU’s Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), which have been under fire by the European Parliament and were renamed into ‘European Partnerships‘, are starting with a significantly lower budget into the Horizon Europe innovation programme (2021-2021) than into the last research framework programme. The reason is not that the European Commission would give less money than under Horizon 2020 (2013-2020) but that the industry has massively reduced its share. Instead of €2.7bn under Horizon 2020, companies attributable to the bioeconomy are mobilizing only €1bn in the next seven years. The result: instead of €3.7bn, the budget for the coming years for the JU BBI, now called Circular bio-based Europe, is only €2bn. The budget for the IMI2 pharmaceutical PPP will also fall from €3.7bn to €2bn, with the EU share remaining constant. At first glance, it therefore remains an open question how the EC intends to achieve its goal of accelerating the transition to a green, climate-neutral and digital Europe and making European industry more resilient and competitive.

"In fact, the operational budget of CBE JU (€1bn) is bigger than the one of BBI JU (€820m). In addition, there are other funding sources available now, such as the European Circular Bioeconomy Facility (ECBF) and more and more venture capitalists (VCs)," Philippe Mengal, BBI JU’s Executive Director, told European Biotechnology. However, "the contribution from the private partner BIC remains equal to the one of the EU – 50%."

However, he adds, "the eligibility criteria of the private contribution to the CBE JU’s operational programme have changed, therefore both programmes cannot be compared. The Single Basic Act is now common to all Joint Undertakings under the new framework programme, which is why the eligibility conditions of CBE JU had to be aligned to the other JUs. Lastly, a new body was added to the CBE JU governance – a Deployment Group, which will advise on the participation of the primary sector, the regional dimension and the access to additional sources of funding. This will be particularly useful to facilitate the replication of the flagship projects funded by the partnership. Replication is very capital-intensive – we estimate it to be over €10 billion during the CBE JU period – and it will considerably facilitate total investments made in the EU, with a huge socio-economic impact.

Overall, the EU will provide nearly €10bn for ten European Partnerships, which are building on existing joint undertakings, that the partners will match with at least an equivalent amount of investment, the Commission said in a press release:

  1. Global Health EDCTP3: This partnership will deliver new solutions for reducing the burden of infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, and strengthen research capacities to prepare and respond to re-emerging infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa and across the world. By 2030, it aims to develop and deploy at least two new technologies tackling infectious diseases, and support at least 100 research institutes in 30 countries to develop additional health technologies against re-emerging epidemics.
  2. Innovative Health Initiative: This initiative will help create an EU-wide health research and innovation ecosystem that facilitates the translation of scientific knowledge into tangible innovations. It will cover prevention, diagnostics, treatment and disease management. The initiative will contribute to reaching the objectives of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the new Industrial Strategy for Europe and the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe.
  3. Key Digital Technologies: They encompass electronic components, their design, manufacture and integration in systems and the software that defines how they work. The overarching objective of this partnership is to support the digital transformation of all economic and societal sectors and the European Green Deal, as well as support research and innovation towards the next generation of microprocessors. Together with the Declaration on a European Initiative on processors and semiconductor technologies signed by 20 Member States, an upcoming Alliance on microelectronics, and a possible new Important Project of Common European Interest under discussion by Member States to foster breakthrough innovation, this new partnership will help boost competitiveness and Europe’s technological sovereignty. More information is available here.
  4. Circular Bio-based Europe: This partnership will contribute significantly to the 2030 climate targets, paving the way for climate neutrality by 2050, and will increase the sustainability and circularity of production and consumption systems, in line with the European Green Deal. It aims to develop and expand the sustainable sourcing and conversion of biomass into bio-based products as well as to support the deployment of bio-based innovation at regional level with the active involvement of local actors and with a view to reviving rural, coastal and peripheral regions.
  5. Clean Hydrogen: This partnership will accelerate the development and deployment of a European value chain for clean hydrogen technologies, contributing to sustainable, decarbonised and fully integrated energy systems. Together with the Hydrogen Alliance, it will contribute to the achievement of the Union’s objectives put forward in the EU hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe. It will focus on producing, distributing and storing clean hydrogen and, on supplying sectors that are hard to decarbonise, such as heavy industries and heavy-duty transport applications.
  6. Clean Aviation: This partnership puts aviation en route to climate neutrality, by accelerating the development and deployment of disruptive research and innovation solutions. It aims to develop the next generation of ultra-efficient low-carbon aircraft, with novel power sources, engines, and systems, improving competitiveness and employment in the aviation sector that will be especially important for the recovery.
  7. Europe’s Rail: This partnership will speed up the development and deployment of innovative technologies, especially digital and automation ones, to achieve the radical transformation of the rail system and deliver on the European Green Deal objectives. By improving competitiveness, it will support European technological leadership in rail.
  8. Single European Sky ATM Research 3: The initiative aims to accelerate the technological transformation of air traffic management in Europe, aligning it to the digital age, to make the European airspace the most efficient and environmentally friendly sky to fly in the world and to support the competitiveness and recovery of Europe’s aviation sector following the coronavirus crisis.
  9. Smart Networks and Services: This partnership will support technological sovereignty for smart networks and services in line with the new industrial strategy for Europe, the new EU Cybersecurity Strategy and the 5G Toolbox. It aims to help resolve societal challenges and to enable the digital and green transition, as well as support technologies that will contribute to the economic recovery. It will also enable European players to develop the technology capacities for 6G systems as a basis for future digital services towards 2030. More information is available here.
  10. Metrology: This partnership aims to accelerate Europe’s global lead in metrology research, establishing self-sustaining European metrology networks aimed at supporting and stimulating new innovative products, responding to societal challenges and enabling effective design and implementation of regulation and standards underpinning public policies.


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