Horizon 2020 – Joint Transnational Programming Mechanisms

Effective research is paramount when tackling the key societal challenges that face us today. Some of these challenges go beyond the capabilities of individual research groups, instead requiring a collaborative and coordinated effort.

Joint Transnational Programming Mechanisms aim to pool research expertise and resources to address these challenges through consortia of research funding agencies. These consortia coordinate research funding, targeting areas of strategic importance.

Outlined in Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, there are two types of initiative that facilitate this:

  • Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI’s)
  • European Research Area Networks (ERA-Nets)  

Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI’s)

To date, a total of 10 JPI’s have been launched (below). Science Foundation Ireland is currently involved in the JPI: “A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life” and the JPI for Neurodegenerative Diseases (JPND)”.

JPI TitleAbbreviation

Neurodegenerative Disease Research


JPND 2017

Agriculture, Food, Security  and Climate Change FACCE
A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life HDHL
Cultural Heritage and Global Change: A New Challenge for Europe JPI CH
Urban Europe-Global Urban Challenges, Joint European Solutions


Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe CliK’EU
More Years, Better Lives-The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change MYBL
Antimicrobial Resistance-The Microbial Challenge-An Emerging Threat to Human Health JPIAMR
Water Challenges for a Changing World Water JPI
Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans JPI Oceans


Centres of Excellence in Neurodegeneration



Pathfinder 2017

JPI-HDHL: A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life

Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Agriculture and the HRB are actively engaged in the JPI HDHL which is a partnership of research funding agencies from across Europe and beyond who are working together to address the major societal challenge of healthy lifestyles and nutrition. 

The grand challenge is to identify the most effective ways of improving public health through specific interventions that target diet and physical activity.

The JPI HDHL has identified 3 key interacting research areas:

  • Determinants of diet and physical activity
  • Diet and food production
  • Diet-related chronic diseases

Science Foundation Ireland’s engagement in JPI HDHL Joint Transnational Calls:

2014 Biomarkers in Nutrition and Health Closed
2015 Intestinal Microbiomics Closed
2015 Nutrition and Cognitive Function Closed

Biomarkers in Nutrition and Health

Irish researchers Dr. Lorraine Brennan and Prof. Helen Roche are leading two respective work packages in the Food Biomarker Alliance, FoodBAll, an initiative funded through the 2014 JPI-HDHL Biomarkers in Nutrition and Health. Its aim is to identify and quantify specific dietary biomarkers to improve nutritional assessment.


European Research Area Networks (ERA-Nets) are networks of public research organisations that coordinate joint research activities in research areas which are of significant strategic value and relevance to the EU. ERA-Nets are initiated by ERA-Net calls in the Horizon 2020 work programme to which consortia of research funding agencies (ERA-Net consortia) submit ERA-Net proposals.  If approved by the Commission, the ERA-Net consortium forms an ERA-Net which runs joint transnational calls and other transnational activities.  The first joint call run by an ERA-Net is 33% co-funded by the European Commission. 

Science Foundation Ireland are aiming to participate in the following upcoming Horizon 2020 ERA-Nets.