Member States and EC discussed concept of alignment in the context of Joint Programming
On 12 March 2014, representatives of the 10 Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs), members of the High Level Group on Joint Programming (GPC) and representatives of the European Commission gathered in Brussels to discuss the concept of alignment of national and European strategies and funding activities in the context of Joint Programming. The workshop was hosted by the EC and chaired by the new chairmen of the GPC, Fulvio Esposito and the GPC’s rapporteur on “alignment”, Mogens Horder.
The point of departure was the common understanding that Joint Programming is about achieving structuring effects in the European research landscape in order to increase efficiency and impact of public research funding in Europe. It was also understood that such effects cannot be achieved by joint calls of a limited size alone, but require a substantial alignment of national and European strategies and funding activities within a certain area or societal challenge.
The workshop showed that substantial alignment activities are already ongoing in various JPIs. The experience gathered can be built upon to promote the use of best practice, such as the concept of the “knowledge hub” or the “thematic programming” of several countries. One essential message from the workshop was the call to Member States to show clear commitment towards Joint Programming, not only in financial terms but also especially by engaging actively in the alignment exercise with their national activities and strategies. Another important message was that Joint Programming is about to change the way countries cooperate in the European Research Area fundamentally, and that such a change requires time and patience as well as commitment and political will.
The results of the workshop will be taken up in the report of the GPC’s working group on alignment which will provide the basis for concrete measures to support the alignment activities of JPIs.