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Research and innovation

Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA)

A joint programme to support food systems and water resources in the Mediterranean basin, partner countries, international agreements and latest

What is PRIMA?

The Partnership on Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) is a public-public institutionalised Article 185 European Partnership between the European Union and Participating States.

The aim of PRIMA is to build research and innovation capacities and develop knowledge and common innovative solutions in the Mediterranean area in the following thematic areas:

  • water management
  • farming systems
  • food value chain

The implementation of the PRIMA programme follows a long-term Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA), which provides the vision and strategic direction for the partnership's actions.

PRIMA is a very successful instrument of international cooperation for research and innovation and a good example of science diplomacy in the Mediterranean, a region of geopolitical important for the EU, based on mutual benefit, equal footing, co-ownership, co-decision, and co-financing.

Prima is a 10-year initiative (2018-2028), partly funded by EU's research and innovation programmes Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe.

The active operation of PRIMA under Horizon 2020, meaning the calls for proposals, lasted from 2018 to 2024. To allow PRIMA to continue working towards its goals, in 2024, the European Parliament and the Council decided to amend the PRIMA basic act. This amendment extends the funding of PRIMA for three more years (2025-2027) aligning this activity with the programme cycle under Horizon Europe.

The PRIMA foundation is in charge of implementing the partnership.

Partner countries and funding

20 countries participate: Bulgaria (who joined PRIMA following the amended proposal), Croatia, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia, and Turkey (EU Member States and third countries associated to Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe) and Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco (Southern Mediterranean countries not associated to Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe).

Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco signed bilateral international agreements with the EU in 2017-2018 to participate in PRIMA. These agreements must be revised and resigned for the 5 countries to continue participating in PRIMA from 2025 to 2027.

The EU's contribution will be up to €325 million from 7 August 2017 until 31 December 2031 (€220 million from Horizon 2020 and €105 million from Horizon Europe) while the Participating States contribution is approximately €384 million for the same period.

Calls for proposals

The PRIMA foundation launches yearly transnational calls for proposals via annual work programmes to mobilise the Euro-Mediterranean scientific communities, stakeholders and public and private entities to identify research and innovation solutions for more sustainable water and food management.

More details on the calls

Funding system

The programme comprises three 3 modes of project financing, so-called sections, which differ in their origin of funding and management:

  • Section 1 calls are organised by PRIMA and funded exclusively by Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe
  • Section 2 calls are also organised by PRIMA but funded by Participating States
  • Section 3 calls are organised and funded by Participating States

More details on the section structure


The agricultural sector in the Mediterranean has suffered from severe water shortages and decreasing crop yields in recent years. Today, 180 million people in the Mediterranean basin are considered 'water poor'. The lack of clean water and nutritious food has adverse effects on the health and stability of the populations.

In 2014, 9 EU countries – Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain – submitted a proposal for the EU to take part in a joint research and innovation programme to develop and deploy innovative solutions for food systems and water resources in the Mediterranean basin through an Article 185 initiative under Horizon 2020.



Email: RTD-B4-ASSISTatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (RTD-B4-ASSIST[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)


  1. 19 April 2024

    Official adoption of the PRIMA basic act amendment: Decision (EU) 2024/1167

  2. 27 February 2024

    European Parliament adopted the PRIMA basic act amendment

  3. 20 December 2023

    Council adopted the PRIMA basic act amendment

  4. 13 December 2023

    Trilogue: Council and Parliament reach agreement on EC proposal for amending the PRIMA basic act

  5. 9 November 2023

    Council adopts Decision (EU) 2023/2621 authorising the opening of negotiations to amend international agreements with 5 third countries not associated to Horizon Europe

  6. 28 June 2023

    European Commission proposal on continuing the EU’s participation in PRIMA under Horizon Europe for the period 2025-2027

  7. 31 May 2023

    Interim Evaluation of PRIMA under H2020 (and Commission SWD)

  8. October 2017-April 2018

    Algeria, Jordan, LebanonEgypt, and Morocco chronologically joined PRIMA

  9. 4 July 2017

    European Parliament and Council Decision entered into force (PRIMA basic act: Decision (EU) 2017/1324)

  10. 11 April 2017

    Trilogue: Council and Parliament reach agreement on EC proposal on the PRIMA basic act

  11. October 2016
  12. February to April 2016

    Stakeholder consultation process took place

  13. December 2015