ERANID, the European Area Network on Illicit Drugs, aims to improve cooperation in drug research in order to allow well-founded policy decisions.ERANID works both in the demand field and in the supply field. ERANID will promote multidisciplinary research activities in the field of socio-economic sciences and humanities. This may cover e.g. emerging drugs, vulnerable groups, changing demographics of drug using populations, and the impact of drugs on health inequalities and social deprivation. It may also cover patterns in drug markets and the drug-crime nexus. Closer cooperation between researchers in different countries will also lead to a further development of research methodologies, which can be of special importance for the evaluation of policies and programmes.Overcoming fragmentation in drug research and developing a common Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) are key objectives of ERANID. To do this, ERANID will first take stock of research programmes and research projects. By making the results of this exercise easily accessible, ERANID will help researchers and policy makers to find information and avoid unnecessary duplication of research. ERANID will consult stakeholders (e.g. scientific community, treatment centre organisations, patient organisations, police and justice). Analysis of the results will help to find gaps and to set priorities for research that will profit most from an international and interdisciplinary approach. Bringing together funding bodies in EU Member States and other countries, involving policy makers and other stakeholders will help to create consensus about the research priorities. These issues will all inform the SRA, from which the priorities for two joint research calls will be selected.ERANID starts as a consortium of eleven partners from six EU Member States. Other organisations from a number of European and other countries will be kept closely informed and associated to this initiative. ERANID is meant as first step towards a longer term cooperation in the field of drugs research.