Other EU funding opportunities

Besides those provided by the framework programme (e.g. the current Horizon 2020 or the forthcoming Horizon Europe), other funding opportunities for research are available at European level. A variety of topics and areas are concerned. The funding for some specific sectors and fields can be managed by the competent Directorate Generals (DG), with their own financial resources and competitive calls for proposals (i.e. Justice and REC programmes for DG Justice). Other programmes are directly managed by the European Commission and not included in the Framework Programme (i.e. Life Programme). Such funding schemes can fund research projects and/or networking/dissemination/sharing of best practices activities.

There are also other funding instruments, programmes and synergies that are partly included and supported within the Horizon 2020 budget, following participation rules that are quite different from the ones in the three pillars, also involving the participation of organizations, that may be bound by long-term contractual constraints or by the constitution of new fully legal entities composed either of institutional and industry categories representatives or public consortia. These synergies are supported in order to pursue complex and challenging strategic goals of public interest and with a long-term prospective. It is the case of joint programming, transnational calls for proposals between public authorities, public-private & public-public partnerships and other synergies requiring the effective collaboration between public and private sectors.

EU Programmes other than Horizon 2020

Among the main programmes out of Horizon 2020 here is some basic information on the COST Actions, LIFE Programme, JUSTICE Programme, REC Programme and DG Home Programmes. Researchers and research teams at the University of Padova wishing to receive support in their application to the following funding schemes are invited to refer to the International Research Office and the contacts provided for each programme below.

  COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology)

COST is an intergovernmental structure supporting transnational coordination of research activities and it is joined by 36 European countries, including Italy. COST funds the building of networks and partnerships in Europe (COST Actions), aimed at connecting and fostering research groups in every field.

COST actions help connecting research initiatives across Europe and enable researchers and innovators to grow their ideas in any science and technology sector by sharing them with their peers; they can be defined as bottom-up networks with a duration of four years that boost innovation getting researchers together. They do not finance research activities, but only networking ones.

Grants are assigned through competitive calls for proposals on a specific topic; the approval of the Action is followed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which is signed by the COST National Coordinators of the Countries interested in participating in the Action (for Italy it is the MIUR – Ministry of University and Higher Education). Following the signature of the MoU, National Coordinators appoint the members of the Action Management Committee, according to the task assigned in the Action itself.

Contacts @Unipd
If you are a researcher wishing to apply for a COST Action, please contact our Collaborative Grants Unit.

Useful links and available calls
Cost is always open, with one or two "collection dates" per year. It is also possible to participate in actions already open and to be appointed as members of the Management Committee if there are no Italian representatives.


The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action, supporting nature conservation activities. The current funding period 2014-2020 has a budget of € 3.4 billion.

Among the general objectives of the programme we can find: emission reduction, resilience to climate change, protection and improvement of environmental quality, reduction of biodiversity loss, concrete application of environmental and climate policies, support for environmental governance.

The LIFE programme comprises two sub-programmes: Environment sub-programme (funding for nature conservation projects in particular in the areas of biodiversity, habitats and species) and Climate action sub-programme (funding for projects in the areas of renewable energies, energy efficiency, farming, land use and peat-land management).

The programme does not finance research activities but applications for supporting environmental policies; projects receive a co-funding of up to 55-60% of the total requested budget. The main projects typologies include traditional projects (providing action grants for pilot and demonstration projects to develop, test and demonstrate policy or management approaches. They also cover the development and demonstration of innovative technologies, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of EU environmental policies and laws, as well as best practices and solutions); integrated projects (combining LIFE funding with other sources of support to maximise their impact over a large area); preparatory projects (addressing specific needs for the development and implementation of EU environmental policies and laws); technical assistance projects (providing action grants and financial support to help applicants prepare integrated projects). 

Contacts @Unipd
If you are a researcher wishing to apply for LIFE programme, please contact our Collaborative Grants Unit.

Useful information and links
It is possible to visit the official LIFE web page at the following link.


DG JUSTICE aims to build solid links between the legal systems of EU countries and to create a European area of justice without borders in which citizens will be able to enforce a series of rights equally across Europe. Thus, another purpose is to ensure the security of EU’s external borders and to encourage the legal migration in order to better meet the demographic challenges of these decades.

In order to pursue these goals, DG Justice provides two funding programmes: JUSTICE Programme and REC (Rights, Equality and Citizenship) Programme.

JUSTICE Programme supports the development of a European area of justice based on mutual recognition and mutual trust. It promotes: judicial cooperation in civil matters, including civil and commercial matters; judicial cooperation in criminal matters; judicial training in order to promote a common legal and judicial culture; effective access to justice in Europe, and defence of the crime victims’ rights; drug policy initiatives.

REC (Rights, Equality and Citizenship) Programme supports the creation of an environment in which equality and human rights are promoted, protected and effectively implemented, as prescribed by the international conventions on human rights. It promotes the effective prohibition of discrimination based on sex, racial origin, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation; the prevention of racism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of intolerance; the equality between women and men; the prevention and combat all forms of violence against groups at risk; the ensuring the highest level of protection of privacy and personal data; the enforcing people’s rights as consumers; the strengthening the exercise of rights as citizens of the Union.

Contacts @Unipd
If you are a researcher wishing to apply for JUSTICE and REC programmes, please contact our Collaborative Grants Unit.

Useful information and links
Visit the JUSTICE Programme web page.
Visit the REC Programme web page.


A more open and secure Europe requires adequate funding directed to those policy areas where we are facing collective challenges and in which EU funds can truly make a difference. For this reason part of EU funding is dedicated to EU Home Affairs agencies, which play a key role in the implementation of operational cooperation between EU States.

DG Home Affairs provides two main funding programmes: Asylum, migration, integration fund, promoting the efficient management of migration flows and the implementation and the development of a common approach to asylum and immigration. It contributes to the achievement of four specific objectives: asylum, legal migration and integration, return, solidarity; Security, borders and police fund, promoting the implementation of the Internal Security Strategy, law enforcement cooperation and the management of the Union’s external borders. It is composed of two instruments: Borders and Visa and Police cooperation, preventing and combating crime and crisis.

Contacts @Unipd
If you are a researcher wishing to apply for DG HOME AFFAIRS programmes, please contact our Collaborative Grants Unit: collaborative.grants@unipd.it

Other EU funding instruments, joint programmes and synergies partly financed and supported within the Horizon 2020 budget

These funding tools, joint programmes and synergies are partly included within Horizon 2020 budget and can be divided into two main categories: the public-public-partnerships and the public-private-partnerships. They both involve institutional actors that are expected to gain long-term and ambitious goals that would not be achieved without public intervention or cooperation between the public and private sector.


Public-public partnerships are agreements that allow EU countries to draw up joint research programmes which the EU may participate in. The aim of P.P.P. is to pool national research efforts in order to make a better use of Europe’s public research and development resources to tackle common European challenges more effectively. The main P.P.P. are the Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI), the Article 185, the ERA-NET Cofund

  JPIs (Joint Programming Initiatives)

JPIs are member-State driven R&I programmes on societal challenges that have been directly established by EC and which are partly supported by Horizon 2020. JPIs are developed in a structured and strategic process where EU countries agree on a voluntary basis to address major societal challenges. The main JPIs features are:

- integration of public research programmes;
- better meet issues of interest for the whole society;
- developing of topics for which joint programming generates a concrete added value compared to  the initiatives carried out individually by the member states;
- tackle those challenges that gather the real interest of the main public and private actors.

Since 2008, the European Commission has identified some important problems concerning the European research sector that reveal a certain fragmentation, which can be solved with a long-term joint programming. Challenges such as the increasing of aging population, neurodegenerative diseases, immigration, sustainable development, climate change, energy supply, guaranteeing the quality and availability of food can be better managed with a public joint synergy.

The following Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) have been launched to date: Alzheimer and other Neurodegenerative Diseases; Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change; A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life; Cultural Heritage and Global Change: A New Challenge for Europe; Urban Europe - Global Urban Challenges; Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe; More Years, Better Lives - The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change; Antimicrobial Resistance - The Microbial Challenge: An Emerging Threat to Human Health; Water Challenges for a Changing World; Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans.


Article 185 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) allows the EU to participate in research programmes undertaken jointly by several EU member countries This includes participating in the structures created to execute national programmes. The criteria to identify potential Art. 185 initiatives are set out in the Horizon 2020 programme. They include a clear definition of the objective to be pursued and its relevance to the objectives of Horizon 2020 and broader EU policy objectives; indicative financial commitments of the participating countries, in cash or in kind, including prior commitments to align national and/or regional investments for transnational research and innovation and, where appropriate, to pool resources; the added value of the action at EU level; the critical mass, with regard to the size and the number of programmes involved, the similarity or complementarity of activities and the share of relevant research they cover.

The actual Article 185 actions are “Active and Assisted Living” (AAL); “Eurostars”; “European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research” (EMPIR); “The European and Developing Countries Clinical trials Partnership” (PRIMA).

  ERA-NET Cofund

ERA-NET Cofund actions support P.P.P. and other forms of collaboration between national administrative divisions and the European Union, including joint programming initiatives between Member States in defining shared activities and networking structures. From these initiatives, derive transnational calls for research and innovation projects open either to national/regional authorities who own or manage public research and innovation programmes or to government research organizations/agencies authorized on their behalf to manage these programmes.

Contacts @Unipd
If you are a researcher wishing to join a Public-public partnership, please contact our Collaborative Grants Unit.

Useful information and links 
Information on the Joint Programming Initiatives are available on the JPIs official web page.
For information on the actions foreseen by article 185, go to the official web page: for information on PRIMA, see also the University of Padova National Research Office intranet.
For information on the ERA-NET Cofund Actions, visit the official web page.



Under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, the European Commission has joined key industrial partners in order to work together on the most important challenges of tomorrow. Investing jointly in research and innovation is essential for a smart and sustainable growth of our society. Through partnerships with the private sector, Horizon 2020 pools EU resources as to define and tackle the most relevant societal and economic challenges, to support competitiveness, to deliver high quality jobs, and to encourage greater private investment in research and innovation. The P.P.P. might derive from ETPs (European Technology Platforms); some P.P.P. might become J.U.s (Joint Undertakings), managing competitive calls for proposals through the Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs).

  European Technology Platforms (ETP)

The European Technology Platforms are industry-led stakeholder worktables recognised by the European Commission as key actors in driving innovation, knowledge transfer and European competitiveness.

ETPs develop research and innovation agendas and roadmaps for action at EU and national level to be supported by both private and public funding. They mobilise stakeholders to draft work-plans, ideas and advices on agreed priorities and share information across the EU. ETPs are sector-focused structures, but also they foster networking opportunities and international cooperation in order to address cross-sectorial challenges.

The European Technology Platforms are not legal entities and do not manage funds; they are not a PPP strictly speaking but they might lead to PPPs

  Contractual Public-Private Partnership (cPPP)

cPPPs help tackling societal challenges and boosting digital innovation and security, providing the cooperation between public and private players (industry). They also have an impact on the global technical lead of European based industry, economic growth and creation of new high-skilled jobs in Europe.

cPPPs are expected to foster the  most effective collaboration between the European Commission and private companies. Multi-year work-plans and long-term investment plans are foreseen. cPPPs might derive from ETPs, aiming at solving economic and social problems with the industrial sector support. Collaboration with Industry should facilitate the definition and implementation of research and innovation programmes, bringing to a structured partnership based on a contractual agreement between the European Commission and industrial partners. There are ten contractual public-private partnerships between the EU and business representatives which have strategic importance for the future of European industry: Factories of the Future (FoF);  Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB); European Green Vehicles Initiative (EGVI); Sustainable Process Industry (SPIRE); Photonics; Robotics;  High Performance Computing (HPC): Advanced 5G networks for the Future Internet (5G): Cybersecurity: Big Data Value.

  Joint Undertakings (JUs) / Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs)

Some PPPs might become a Joint Undertaking, that is a full Community body constituted by the European Commission and industry representatives associations. JUs are special legal instruments for implementing Horizon 2020 through a public-private partnership in key strategic areas. The JUs purpose is to implement research and innovation activities to enhance competitiveness and to tackle the most ambitious societal challenges with the active engagement of the European industrial sector. Joint Undertakings are fully recognised legal entities; they differ from the traditional PPPs since private industry and public sector are not only bound by contractual constraints but legally belong to the same entity with the same purposes and aims. Joint Undertakings manage the JTIs (Joint Technology Initiatives), competitive calls for proposals for the financing of the key technological sectors that had led to the constitution of the same JUs.

To this date, the following Joint Undertakings are active: Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 (IMI2), develops next generation vaccines, medicines and treatments, such as new antibiotics; Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 (FCH2), accelerates market introduction of clean and efficient technologies in energy and transport; Clean Sky 2 (CS2), develops cleaner, quieter aircraft with significantly less emissions; Bio-based Industries (BBI), researching the use of renewable natural resources and innovative technologies for greener everyday products; Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership (ECSEL), boosts Europe’s electronics manufacturing capabilities; Shift2Rail, develops better trains and railway infrastructure that will drastically reduce costs and improve capacity, reliability and punctuality; Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR), develops the new generation of European Air Traffic Management system that will enhance the performance of air transport

Contacts @Unipd
If you are a researcher wishing to join a Public-private partnership, please contact our Collaborative Grants Unit: collaborative.grants@unipd.it

Useful information and links
Information on partnerships with industry and member states are available on the European Commission web page.

International Research Office

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