The EU needs to act urgently and coherently to achieve the scale of effort and impact needed to address grand challenges with the limited public research funds available. Strategic Research Agendas developed under the Joint Programming Initiatives show Member State commitment to addressing grand challenges as called for in the 2009 Lund Declaration25 and by Council. Joint Programming also has the potential for better anchoring co-operation with international partners. But implementation to date falls short. The crux is to enable transnational research and innovation by exploiting synergies between national and international programmes, strategically aligning different sources of national and other funds at EU level rather than cross-border funding per se. The level of alignment is presently too low to make a serious impression on big and complex challenges. This is due in part to differences between national funding rules and selection processes, but it is also a question of political will.