Article 187 Initiatives (Joint Undertakings)


Article 187 TFEU: “The Union may set up joint undertakings or any other structure for the efficient execution of Union research, technological development and demonstration programmes.”


Joint Undertakings came into existence under the seventh framework programme (FP7) as a means to support transnational cooperation in key areas where research and technological development (RTD) could strengthen the competitive position of European industry. Joint Undertakings (JUs) were designed to be the successors of European Technology Platforms, some of which had achieved such an ambitious scale and maturity that they required the mobilisation of significant public and private investment as well as substantial research resources. For this reason, FP7 regulations allowed for the setting up of long-term public- private partnerships in cases where this could be justified given the scale and scope of the Research and Development objectives. The legal framework for these partnerships became Article 187 and their goal was that of linking research knowledge to commercialisation by “bringing research closer to the market”.


Between 2007 and 2008 the European Council agreed on Regulations to set up five JUs that fit the criteria established under FP7’s ‘Cooperation’ Specific Programme. Apart from these five JUs, a sixth undertaking, called SESAR JU, was also established as a stand-alone initiative due to its specific policy-oriented activities. Each JU has begun operation as an independent legal entity with a dedicated budget and staff, running research projects as prescribed in work programmes. Through their activities, JUs help to build critical mass in the areas they address and promote networking across a variety of partners and stakeholders, including the European Commission, non-profit organisations, Member/Associated States, SMEs, research organisations (including universities) and corporate members. The aim of the partnerships is to combine private sector investment with European public funding, including funds from H2020 (the successor to FP7) as well as National funding, where appropriate. By allowing funding from H2020 to be combined with other public funding sources, JUs have a significant leverage effect on private investment and related economic activity. The Commission and the Member States annually commit funds from their research budget, while industry commits matching in-kind contributions and funds amounting to 50% or more of the total costs of the projects.


By joining forces and pooling resources within JUs, industry and in particular SMEs, can accomplish far more than through individual efforts, accessing an extensive network of respected research partners. From a practical point of view,participants in these initiatives can vote in elections, participate in key decisions, and shape the policies and evolution of the JU’s Strategic Research Agenda. While the basic principles are the same across differentundertakings, each of these initiatives has developed its own co-funding rules, eligibility criteria, and strategy for dissemination and access to data in accordance with the needs of the stakeholders involved.


The following table provides a list of JUs set up under FP7 that will continue until 2017. Many of the JUs will also be extended under H2020, with funding for projects available until 2024.



H2020 (financial contribution through H2020)

Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)IMI JU 2 (up to €1.6 billion till 2024)

Aeronautics and Air Transport (Clean Sky)

Clean Sky 2 JU (up to €1.8 billion till 2024)

Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (FCH)

Fuel Cells and Hydrogen JU 2 (up to €0.7 billion till 2024)

Embedded Computing Systems (ARTEMIS)


Nanoelectonics Technologies 2020 (ENIAC)

Merger into one JU in 2014: European Components and Systems for European Leadership (ECSEL) JU (up to €1.18 billion till 2024)
 The Single European SKY ATM Research SESAR JUSESAR JU (€0.6 billion till 2024)


BBI JU (Bio-based Industries JU – a new JTI focused on developing new and competitive bio-based value chains that replace the need for fossil fuels and have a strong impact on rural development) (€1 billion till 2024)


Malta is currently participating in the Member States Representatives Groups of Clean Sky 2 JU and IMI 2 JU, has funded research projects under SESAR JU and ENIAC JU and participates on the Governing Board of ENIAC’s successor ECSEL JU.