Call: Artificial Intelligence for sustainable, agile manufacturing (AI, Data and Robotics - Made in Europe Partnerships)
|Type of Fund||Direct Management|
|Description of programme |
"Horzion Europe - Cluster 4 - Destination 1: Climate Neutral, Circular and Digitised Production"
This destination will directly support the following Key Strategic Orientations, as outlined in the Strategic Plan:
Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway to the following expected impact of Cluster 4:
Accelerating the twin green and digital transitions will be key to building a lasting and prosperous growth, in line with the EU’s new growth strategy, the European Green Deal. Europe’s ability to lead the twin transitions will require new technologies, with investment and innovation to match. Research and innovation will be fundamental to create the new products, services and business models needed to sustain or enable EU industrial leadership and competitiveness, and to create new markets for climate neutral and circular products. The shift towards a sustainable and inclusive economic model will be further enabled by the broader diffusion and uptake of digital and clean technologies across key sectors.
As Europe transitions towards climate neutrality, some sectors will have to make bigger and more transformative changes than others, due to their centrality in a variety of value chains and their large potential contribution to emissions reductions. Activities under this Destination focus on the twin green and digital transition providing a green productivity premium to discrete manufacturing, construction and energy-intensive industries, including process industries. This will make an essential and significant contribution to achieving climate neutrality in the European Union by 2050, and to the achievement of a circular economy. It will also enhance the Union’s open strategic autonomy with regard to the underlying technologies. To achieve these goals, the activities in this Destination are complementary to those in Destination 2, which will enhance open strategic autonomy in key strategic value chains for a resilient industry.
The gross added value of the European manufacturing sector is EUR 2,076 billion (2019). The sector employs more than 30 million people in the Union and represents 22% of the world’s manufacturing output. The Union’s trade surplus in manufactured goods is EUR 421 billion (2019). Similarly, the construction ecosystem (driven mainly by SMEs) offers 22 million jobs and contributes 10.5% of EU-27 global value added[['Updating the 2020 New Industrial Strategy: Building a stronger Single Market for Europe's recovery', COM(2021)350 final and associated Staff Working Documents]]. However, the manufacturing and construction sectors must significantly reduce their pollution and waste, and increase their recycling. Moreover, the potential of digital technologies is underused in manufacturing industry, e.g. 12% of EU enterprises use big data technologies and only 1 out of 5 SMEs is highly digitised, and in construction, which remains one of the least digitised sectors with a notable underinvestment in R&D.[[The digital intensity of the construction sector is below 10%, meaning that the sector has a very slow absorption rate of digital technologies, according to the Digital Transformation Scoreboard 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/image/document/2018-20/4_desi_report_integration_of_digital_technology_B61BEB6B-F21D-9DD7-72F1FAA836E36515_52243.pdf]] A key issue for the manufacturing sector is that its complex supply and value chains are heavily affected by the current pandemic crisis, and the sector needs to further develop resilience against financial and technical disruptions.
In addition, the Union’s process industries are important to its economy, its resilience and its environmental credentials. Process industries are responsible for a turnover of > 2 trillion, 8.5 million direct jobs and 20 million indirect jobs. They represent 0.5 million enterprises and 5 % of the EU27 GDP. The process industry however faces two key challenges: a strong global competition, and an environmental challenge. In particular, energy-intensive industries are resource intensive, using extensive amounts of raw materials (often imported and fossil based). In their operations, they generate large amounts of waste, 20% of global greenhouse gases (GHG) but also pollutants. The industries need to transform itself to decrease GHG and pollutant emissions, its resource utilisation and its overall environmental impact. It will have to achieve climate neutrality, near zero waste, zero pollution and zero landfill by 2050 at the latest. By 2030, decisive steps need to be taken given the long investment cycles these industries are facing. As the process industry is transforming primary raw materials into materials ready for use by the manufacturing industry, it will play a key role in the pathways toward circularity of materials by transforming industrial and end-of-life waste into secondary raw materials leading to the same quality output in the newly produced materials.
In the first Work Programme, outcomes of R&I investments in the long-term will focus on the following impacts:
In order to achieve the expected outcomes, for particular topics international cooperation is clearly not mandatory but advised with some regions or countries to get internationally connected and add additional specific expertise and value to the activities.
In line with the European Green Deal objectives, research and innovation activities should comply with the ‘do no significant harm’ principle[[as per Article 17 of Regulation (EU) No 2020/852 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment (EU Taxonomy Regulation)]]. Compliance needs to be assessed both for activities carried out during the course of the project as well as the expected life cycle impact of the innovation at a commercialisation stage (where relevant). The robustness of the compliance must be customised to the envisaged TRL of the project. In this regard, the potential harm of Innovation Actions contributing to the European Green Deal will be monitored throughout the project duration.
To achieve wider effects activities beyond R&I investments will be needed. Three co-programmed partnerships will enhance dissemination, community building and foster spillover effects: Made in Europe for the manufacturing sectors, Clean Steel and Processes4Planet for the energy intensive industries. This destination has strong links to other clusters in Pillar II, notably Cluster 5 for the activities related to the integration of renewables and thermal energy management in industry, and with the European Innovation Council and Pillar III of Horizon Europe given the strong role of SMEs in the development of the innovations planned. Synergies will be sought to access blended funding and finance from other EU programmes; testing and deployment activities under the Digital Europe Programme (DEP); links to the EIT (Manufacturing and Digital KICs); and links to the thematic smart specialisation platform on industrial modernisation.
Much of the research and innovation supported under this Destination may serve as a cradle for the New European Bauhaus: this is about designing sustainable ways of living, situated at the crossroads between art, culture, social inclusion, science and technology. This includes R&I on manufacturing, construction, advanced materials and the circular economy approaches.
Business cases and exploitation strategies for industrialisation: This section applies only to those topics in this Destination, for which proposals should demonstrate the expected impact by including a business case and exploitation strategy for industrialisation.
The business case should demonstrate the expected impact of the proposal in terms of enhanced market opportunities for the participants and enhanced manufacturing capacities in the EU, in the short to medium term. It should describe the targeted market(s); estimated market size in the EU and globally; user and customer needs; and demonstrate that the solutions will match the market and user needs in a cost-effective manner; and describe the expected market position and competitive advantage.
The exploitation strategy should identify obstacles, requirements and necessary actions involved in reaching higher TRLs, for example: matching value chains, enhancing product robustness; securing industrial integrators; and user acceptance.
For TRLs 7-8, a credible strategy to achieve future full-scale manufacturing in the EU is expected, indicating the commitments of the industrial partners after the end of the project.
Activities beyond R&I investments will be needed to realise the expected impacts: these include the further development of skills and competencies (also via the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, in particular EIT Manufacturing); and the use of financial products under the InvestEU Fund for further commercialisation of R&I outcomes.
Where relevant, in the context of skills, it is recommended to develop training material to endow workers with the right skillset in order to support the uptake and deployment of new innovative products, services, and processes developed in the different projects. This material should be tested and be scalable, and can potentially be up-scaled through the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+). This will help the European labour force to close the skill gaps in the relevant sectors and occupational groups and improve employment and social levels across the EU and associated countries.
The topics serving these objectives are structured as follows:
|Link||Link to Programme|
Artificial Intelligence for sustainable, agile manufacturing (AI, Data and Robotics - Made in Europe Partnerships)
"Artificial Intelligence for sustainable, agile manufacturing (AI, Data and Robotics - Made in Europe Partnerships)"
Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:
This topic focuses on manufacturing and process industries, addressing the entire lifecycle of products and services from design to remanufacturing and including all the aspects primarily relevant for industrial production. The objective is to exploit the potential of AI as a transformation tool to support circular production in the entire manufacturing and process industry, with due consideration for standardisation activities when relevant. AI will be a strategic instrument to improve sustainability, agility and resilience to external and internal influences, taking account of the European Green Deal objectives. AI applications will be capable of optimising their actions based on limited human input, thanks to context awareness and information sensed from the physical environment, and will have the long useful lifetime typical of industrial environments.
Projects have to address the need for AI tool sets with simplified interfaces requiring only easy to acquire skills, and adapted to manufacturing environments without highly skilled personnel. Methods and tools will be provided to make AI solutions usable also for lower volume production and shorter time series, guaranteeing the quality of results even while using reduced resources for the training of AI algorithms. Generative approaches could be considered to help designing products and processes improving the sustainability of industrial solutions. The topic will integrate new or existing technologies to make them practically and economically viable in the industrial world; this should be demonstrated through at least two realistic use cases with demonstrable economic return.
Proposals submitted under this topic should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the introduction to this Destination.
Research must build on existing standards or contribute to standardisation. Interoperability for data sharing should be addressed.
All projects should build on or seek collaboration with existing projects and develop synergies with other relevant European, national or regional initiatives, funding programmes and platforms.
This topic implements jointly the co-programmed European Partnerships Made in Europe and AI, Data and Robotics.
In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.
|Link||Link to Call|
|Thematic Focus||Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Competitiveness, SME, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity|
|Funding area|| EU Member States |
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
|Origin of Applicant|| EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
|Eligible applicants||Education and Training Centres, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, National Government, Other, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association|
|Applicant details|| |
eligible non-EU countries:
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.
Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.
|Project Partner Details|| |
Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:
|Further info|| |
Proposal page limits and layout:
The application form will have two parts:
Page limit - Part B: 45 pages
|Type of Funding||Grants|
|Financial details|| |
Activities are expected to start at TRL 4 and achieve TRL 7 by the end of the project.
|Submission||Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.|