The European Technology Platforms successfully gathered the main European R&D players - namely large industries, SMEs, research organisations and the scientific community - to define Strategic Research Agendas in particular fields. In certain cases, the scale and complexity was such that a new approach was needed to implement all or parts of these agendas.

The Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) have therefore been initiated, representing a new instrument within the Seventh Framework Programme to support large-scale multi-national research activities. The JTIs are public-private partnerships set up at a European level to address strategic areas where research and innovation are essential to European competitiveness. 

Six areas have been identified as particularly relevant for a JTI:  

  • fuel cells and hydrogen
  • aeronautics
  • innovative medecines
  • embedded computing systems
  • nanoelectronics
  • GMES (global monitoring for environment and security)

Members of the JTIs are the Community (represented by the European Commission), Member or States associated to the Seventh Framework Programme and R&D actors (Corporate companies, SME's, research organisations and universities) performing research activities in Europe.

Funding of the JTIs is provided by the Community as well the Member and Associated States that are participating in a JTI. In-kind contributions, such as equipment, personnel and know-how are provided by industry and are expected to cover at least 50% of the total cost of the research projects.

Each JTI is implemented by their respective Joint Undertaking, a legally established community body set up on the basis of Article 187 of the EC Treaty.