FET Flagships - Joint Initiatives in Frontiers Science for a European Breakthrough

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FET Flagships (FET-Fs) are...

Visionary, large-scale, science-driven European lCT-based research initiatives that aim to achieve a key scientific breakthrough. The scientific advance will deliver a strong and broad basis for future technological innovation and economic exploitation in a variety of areas, as well as novel benefits for society.

Ambitious goals require broad cooperation

A recognised need

Certain research goals are so ambitious that they are out of reach for any single national or EU funded research initiative. Only by mobilising researchers Europewide towards a clearly defined common vision, and by supporting them over a longer term, can such goals be reached.
The objective of reinforcing research in future and emerging technologies (FET) was expressed in the EC communication COM (2009) 184 'Moving the ICT frontiers', and was endorsed by the Council in early December 2009. The Communication highlights as one key action the need to launch at least two FET Flagship Initiatives by 2013.

Federated effort for breakthrough magnitude

To provide lasting support at a level which allows concerted effort towards a grand ambition, FET flagships are envisioned to run for at least 10 years, on a budget typically in the range of at least 100 M€ per year and per initiative. This scale can obviously not be achieved by the Commission alone, thus integrative alignment with national research priorities is essential. The overarching nature and magnitude of these initiatives implies that they can only be realised through the federated effort of the research community and institutions, national and regional funding agencies, and where appropriate, with the participation of global partners and industry. 

Facing great scientific challenges together

Research activities of European and national programmes would be aligned and integrated around the gravity of a unifying scientific challenge. As new public-public partnerships, FET-Fs would represent a powerful new instrument in shaping and building the European Research Area.

The time for action is now

To implement a joint effort of such grand scale requires a great amount of preparation in terms of fostering the emergence of key ideas from the scientific community, devising operational mechanisms, defining and implementing a legal framework, and most of all, establishing the political and financial support of stakeholders. The EC is promoting coordinated progress in each of these areas.