Formas collaborates internationally mainly with organisations in Europe. The government provides targeted investments for the European programmes – particularly the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation for the period 2021–2022 known as Horizon Europe. Formas actively participates in the European programmes that are aligned with its national research programmes and other national initiatives. Swedish stakeholders have good opportunities to benefit from a European context for research partnerships and funding.
Horizon Europe is a European programme for funding research and innovation. Following Horizon 2020, the programme aims to help fight climate change, achieve the sustainable development goals, and boost EU competitiveness and growth. The programme runs during 2021–2027, with a total budget of just over 95 billion euros.
The programme is divided into three areas:
- Excellent Science – Aims to strengthen and expand scientific excellence in the EU with open-access research.
- Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness – Aims to address global challenges by supporting and enabling technological and industrial capabilities.
- Innovative Europe – Aims to stimulate market creation and ecosystems through linkages between regional and national stakeholders.
Within the areas of global challenges and European industrial competitiveness, there are cluster divisions. Formas serves as an expert advisor to the government in the cluster on climate, energy and mobility and the cluster on food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and the environment. In the latter, Formas also oversees coordination of the work among the government agencies who are part of the cluster.
Missions are a novelty of Horizon Europe. Grounded in research and innovation, the missions address identified societal challenges. Formas is engaged in four of these missions:
- Adaptation to climate change
- Soil health and food
- Healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters
- Smart and climate-neutral cities
Through national initiatives, Formas lays a solid foundation for Swedish stakeholders to contribute to the designated missions.
The European Commission, national funding organisations and the private sector have the opportunity to fund joint research programmes through partnerships. This offers researchers from different countries the chance to tackle complex issues and challenges together – and for research and innovation to deliver benefits to society.
Formas actively participates in several of the new partnerships, and plays a part in determining the strategic direction of future partnerships based on national priorities. This creates good opportunities for Swedish stakeholders to participate in international funding calls and collaborations that are aligned with Formas’ national research programmes and other national initiatives.
Horizon 2020 was the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation for the years 2014–2020. The programme was aimed at a variety of stakeholders – research-performing organisations, the business community, the public sector and other interest groups.
Initiatives that were launched during Horizon 2020 are still ongoing in which Formas participates in several programmes together with other European funders. Formas is also coordinating the European Urban Transformation Capacities programme initiated during Horizon 2020.
The European Commission provides funding for coordination and research in so-called ERA-Net calls. These aim to increase collaboration between European research funders and their national research programmes. Within these calls, Formas provides funding to Swedish researchers who collaborate with other international partners.
Formas participates in the following calls in collaboration with other European research funders:
- Integrated Pest Management, C-IPM
- Marine Biotechnology
- Monitoring and mitigation of greenhouse gases
- Sustainable Animal Production
- Smart Urban Futures
- Waterworks 2015
- Climate Services
- Intestinal Microbiome
- Sustainable Urbanisation
- CORE Organic
- Urban Transformation Capacities
Article 185 programmes are long-term research programmes that receive half of their funding from the European Commission and half from the Member States. Formas participates in an Article 185 Baltic Sea programme called BONUS, which focuses on the unique, sensitive ecosystems of the Baltic Sea and the region’s development opportunities.
A Joint Programming Initiative, JPI, is a joint programme plan and long-term process based on major challenges that countries alone cannot solve – such as climate change, sustainable food production and long-term access to water. The countries must agree on a common research agenda together and work towards a solution to the challenge. For example, ERA-Net can be used to fund joint research projects.
Formas takes part in seven JPIs:
- Connecting climate knowledge for Europe, JPI Climate – Formas is a steering committee member together with the Swedish Research Council.
- Agriculture, food security and climate change, JPI FACCE – Formas is a steering committee member together with the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation.
- Healthy diet for a healthy life, JPI HDHL – Formas is a steering committee member.
- Healthy and productive seas and oceans, JPI Oceans – Formas is a steering committee member together with the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management.
- Water challenges for a changing world, JPI Water – Formas is a steering committee member together with the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management.
- Antimicrobial resistance, JPI AMR – The Swedish Research Council is a steering committee member and Formas participates in calls and strategic initiatives.
- Global urban challenges, joint European solutions, JPI Urban Europe – Vinnova is a steering committee member, and Formas participates in calls and strategic initiatives as well as coordinates the Urban Transformation Capacities programme within the framework of JPI Urban Europe.
Among Formas’ research policy collaborations is Science Europe, which consists of European research funders and research-performing organisations. The mission of this Brussels-based organisation is to monitor and advocate for research policy issues that are vital to its members. Among other purposes, the work aims to influence the design of the EU framework programme and develop recommendations on issues of research ethics, gender equality and open access to data and publications. In addition to Formas, the Swedish Research Council and Forte are Swedish members of Science Europe.
Standing Committee on Agricultural Research
The Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR) is an EU advisory body for research and knowledge needs in agriculture, food, forestry, marine and aquaculture. Formas is Sweden's representative of the authorities in the body's highest decision-making function and in the executive steering group. Formas actively participates in strategic working groups where thematic issues on forests, bioeconomy, food systems, sustainable livestock production, and animal health and welfare are addressed.