First Joint Technology Initiatives approved

12 Dec 2007

The European Parliament has approved the first ever Europe-wide public-private research partnerships.

Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) will pool industry, member states and European Commission resources into targeted research programmes. The first JTIs will be established in 2008.

The first four were approved by the European Parliament yesterday and will be in the areas of miniaturisation technologies, invisible computers, innovative medicines and greener aviation.

Pooling public and private research investment will be critical in the global race for growth and jobs, the commission said, and JTIs target areas where existing funding mechanisms cannot deliver the scale and speed needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global competition.

“Europe needs a new approach to research in certain strategic areas to strengthen our competitiveness and well-being,” said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. “Today’s decision allows us to now proceed, hand-in-hand with industry and member states, with these new JTIs that are vital for Europe’s digital future.”

“Research is the engine of innovation and growth,” said Janez Poto?nik, EU Commissioner for Science and Research. “By bringing together industry and European public research investment in a specific industrial area under one programme, we boost the chances of making a technological breakthrough putting Europe at the forefront of innovation.”

The four JTIs approved yesterday are ARTEMIS, a partnership programme that will advance work on the invisible chips that run all machines; ENIAC, which will target the high level of miniaturisation required for the next generations of nanoelectronics components; the Innovative Medicine Initiative, which will support the development of new knowledge, tools and methods for quicker, better and safer development of new medicines; and Clean Sky, which will seek to increase the competitiveness of the European aeronautics industry while reducing the environmental burden of air transport by reducing emissions and noise.

ARTEMIS and ENIAC are industry-led, with at least 50pc of their budgets expected to come from industry, €1.7bn from participating member states and €870m respectively coming from the commission.

ARTEMIS has the potential to result in benefits for the EU economy of more than €100bn over the next decade. With ENIAC, Europe intends to increase and focus its own research on nanoelectronics to grab a growing share of the €200bn semiconductor market and of the five-times larger market of innovative electronics products.

Under the Innovative Medicine Initiative, €2bn will be invested over seven years, with €1bn from the community budget to support public research and small companies, and the rest from the biopharmaceutical industry.

Some €800m is earmarked for the Clean Sky programme in the EU budget, with another €800m due to come from other participants, mainly private companies in the aeronautics sector and their affiliates and subcontractors.

By Niall Byrne