The funding mechanisms and governance structures of PPPs and JTIs must be simplified and streamlined. JTIs in particular are highly complex as a result of their mixed financing, which combines funding from the Commission and EU member states. More unified management would ensure more efficient implementation of research projects and make them more practically relevant for industry. Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) between public EU institutions and private enterprises have garnered a great deal of support, especially following the 2008 economic crisis. The Commission aimed to use PPPs to support crisis-hit areas of industry through funding for innovation, which would in turn help to drive economic growth.
In addition to the PPPs described above, Horizon 2020 has Joint Technology Initiatives or JTIs. Partially built on the European Technology Platforms (ETPs), JTIs are designed to advance the development of strategically selected technology areas in Europe. In formal terms, JTIs are also PPPs, but they must be founded as joint undertakings in a lengthy EU legislative procedure involving the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. PPPs and JTIs differ in terms of their funding and governance structure; the EU provides 50 percent of funding for PPPs and 20 to 50 percent for JTIs. JTIs also have their own rules for participation.
Horizon 2020 currently has the following JTIs:
- Shift2Rail – JTI Rail
- BBI - JTI Bio-based Industries
- Clean Sky 2 (CS 2) - JTI Aeronautics and Air Transport
- IMI 2 - JTI Innovative Medicines Initiative
- FCH 2 - JTI Fuel Cells and Hydrogen
- ECSEL - JTI Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership
- SESAR - JU Single European Sky ATM Research
Problematic aspects of PPPs include low visibility and bureaucratic government structures. It is also unfortunate that they are so strongly orientated towards pre-commercial activities and basic research. Many research findings from PPPs do not make it over the so-called “valley of death”, meaning that they do not get applied or ready for market.
The BDI therefore urges policymakers to align future PPPs and JTIs with the various innovation cycles of different industries. This will help give PPP activities a stronger focus on application and market proximity.