Call: Innovation for Media, including eXtended Reality (IA)
|Type of Fund||Direct Management|
|Description of programme |
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 4 - Destination 6: A Human-centred and Ethical Development of Digital and Industrial Technologies"
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 contributing to the following expected impact:
As Europe takes the lead in the green and digital transitions, workers, regions, and societies are faced with extremely fast transformations, and will be differently affected by these changes. The rapid adoption of new technologies offers an immense potential for improved standards of living, safer mobility, better healthcare, new jobs, or the personalisation of public services. At the same time, it presents risks such as skills mismatches, digital divides, customer lock-in, or serious breaches of security or privacy.
As Europe sets off on its path to recovery towards a greener, digital and more resilient economy and society, the need to improve and adapt skills, knowledge and competences becomes all the more important. Developments in digital and enabling technologies have the potential to enhance social inclusion, can inform up-skilling training programmes and ensure a two-way engagement with society with regard to developing technologies.
The issue of trust has become central in the use of technologies, following revelations about the exploitation of personal data, large-scale cybersecurity and data breaches, and growing awareness of online disinformation. As outlined in the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence (COM(2020)65), for AI technologies, trust requires in particular improving transparency (explainability, expected levels of performance). For the Internet, increasing trust requires new tools and services to ensure that GDPR is a reality for end-users.
It is also an opportunity for Europe to re-gain presence on the consumer electronics market, by developing new interactive applications in various sectors with solutions meeting European values and requirements in terms of privacy and security. The COVID-19 crisis has also shown how important distance and innovative learning is for society.
Actions under this Destination will support EU objectives of inclusiveness, by supporting a human-centred approach to technology development that is aligned with European social and ethical values, as well as sustainability. These actions will further contribute to addressing the challenges faced by European industry and support the creation of sustainable, high-quality jobs by targeting skills mismatches, the need to empower workers, and ethical considerations relating to technological progress.
Actions should devote particular attention to openness of the solutions and results, and transparency of the research process. To ensure trustworthiness, public awareness and support, wide adoption by user communities for the benefit of society, actions should promote the highest standards of transparency and openness. Actions should ensure that the processes and outcomes of research and innovation align with the needs, values and expectations of society, in line with Responsible Research and Innovation.
This Destination is structured into the following headings, which group topics together with similar outcomes to address a common challenge:
Leadership in AI based on trust
The objective of this heading is to ensure autonomy for Europe in AI, leading the way in research, development and deployment of world-class technologies that are beneficial to humans individually, organisationally and societally, and that adheres to European values, such as the principles reflected in our fundamental rights and environmental sustainability. Technologies need to be developed that industries and citizens will trust, so and that they could be applied in a wide range of applications and industrial sectors. Trustworthy AI is particularly key in applications such as (but not limited to) healthcare or in diverse critical infrastructures such as energy and transportation.
Some topics of this heading are under the co-programmed Partnership ‘AI, Data and Robotics’.
Proposals are encouraged to link with relevant European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), in particular the EIT Digital.
EIT Digital plays role in shaping technologies and innovations that work for people. At least two of its focus areas, Digital Wellbeing and Digital Cities, address directly topics such as ethical artificial intelligence, predictive analytics or augmented and virtual reality that are relevant to this areas. The solutions will benefit from the increasing will of citizens to participate in the sharing economy. EIT Digital, through projects with cities for example, improves engagement and inclusiveness of the citizens and of the visitors by increasingly organising and exposing data, especially in real time and along with analytics and machine learning. Augmented and virtual reality of the cities are another facet of exposing or simulating city data from the past, present or future to the benefit of citizens.
An Internet of Trust
The issue of trust in the internet has become central, following revelations about the exploitation of personal data, large-scale cybersecurity and data breaches, and growing awareness of online disinformation. A 2019 survey[] shows that half of the global internet users are more concerned about their online privacy compared to a year previously. Distrust in the Internet is causing people to change the way they behave online, for example by disclosing less personal information. Users also express an increasing level of distrust of social media platforms.
The objective of this heading is to develop a trustworthy digital environment, built on a more resilient, sustainable, and decentralised internet, to empower end-users with more control over their data and their digital identity, and to enable new social and business models respecting European values.
eXtended Reality (XR)
Due to its low presence in the consumer electronics industry, Europe is increasingly dependent on external providers in this area. This raises concerns about its digital sovereignty in crucial domains such as digital interaction services that are being adopted by a growing number of European users and industries. The COVID-19 crisis has shown how important distance and innovative learning is for society, our children, their parents and their teachers, maintaining social and educational links under challenging circumstances. Emerging technologies such as virtual reality, eXtended Reality or immersive environments provide numerous opportunities for personalised, innovative, efficient and inclusive learning, for learners of all ages, gender and condition
The objective of this heading is to gain industrial leadership in eXtended Reality technologies and immersive environments, while ensuring the European values of privacy, ethics and inclusiveness. It also aims to support the digital transformation of education through these technologies in particular.
Systemic approaches to make the most of the technologies within society and industry.
This heading promotes various systemic approaches to encourage creativity and make the most of the technologies developed elsewhere within society and industry. They include testing ideas in local communities; support for IP, standardisation and industry-academia exchanges; art-driven design; and assessments of complex socio-economic systems. These are complemented by support for a network of National Contact Points (NCPs), with a special emphasis on engaging with new actors.
Activities beyond R&I investments will be needed to realise the expected impacts: testing, experimentation, demonstration, and support for take-up using the capacities, infrastructures, and European Digital Innovation Hubs made available under the Digital Europe Programme; further development of skills and competencies via the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, in particular EIT Digital and EIT Manufacturing; upscaling of trainings via the European Social Fund +; use of financial instruments under the InvestEU Fund for further commercialisation of R&I outcomes; and links to the thematic smart specialisation platform on industrial modernisation
Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to a human-centred and ethical development of digital and industrial technologies, and more specifically to one or several of the following impacts:
|Link||Link to Programme|
Innovation for Media, including eXtended Reality (IA)
|Description of call |
"Innovation for Media, including eXtended Reality (IA)"
Prototyping of advanced solutions for the creation, distribution and consumption of new immersive and innovative products for media. Support innovation in media, including XR innovation, through interdisciplinary cooperation, involving various professional groups (including artists, designers, journalists and media professionals, filmmakers, game designers, programmers or academic researchers). The two priorities are:
The Media Action Plan, aimed at supporting media industry recovery, has three areas: Recovery, transformation, and enabling and empowerment. Transformation foresees innovation actions to support transformation of media industry, and the creation of a European Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) Industrial Coalition.
Two key ingredients of such transformation are, among others, on the one hand, data know-how and innovation in modular open-source media components, and on the other hand, the development of immersive technologies. Both entertainment and news media have great opportunities for ground-breaking innovations and inventive business models building on the potential of new technologies, including XR.
Two types of innovation proposals are expected:
i. The development of new modular tools, components and/or services addressing technical, organisational, commercial and legal aspects of data management and usage for new media applications. The innovative solutions should be proven useful for the creation and distribution of new formats, in particular of formats that use XR technologies and that could be expandable or applicable, in addition to news media, to the media industry at large and have a potential to be consumed in new environments (e.g. self-driving cars, intermodal transport and tourism). To this end, cooperation within the media sector and across different industrial sectors will be beneficial for the creation of synergies based on the use of data applications.
Collaboration with the media data space will be encouraged already at its initiation phase, and full interoperability with and deployability on it are highly recommended. Once it will be operational, the Media Data Space deployed under the Digital Europe programme will offer the opportunity to the proposals supported by this Call to test and pilot their innovative solutions.
ii. The launch of a dedicated VR Media Lab to foster innovation and new solutions in the field of VR/AR Media. The Lab will develop and prototype advanced solutions for the creation, distribution and consumption of new immersive VR/AR media products and foster innovation by exploring a range of uses for VR/AR technologies, and bring together skills from a variety of disciplines, including technology and the creative sector, to develop new solutions for consumers, business and society.
The VR Media Lab will support creative cooperation on projects that focus on new ways of storytelling and interacting through immersive media. The funded third party projects will focus on content for entertainment, culture and news, as well as virtual and augmented reality applications in other industries, such as tourism, and fields such as education. Solutions developed as part of the VR Media Lab could result in new business models, technological solutions, spinoff companies or partnerships.
At least 1 proposal will be funded for the innovation type i (max contribution of EUR 9 million).
One proposal will be funded for type ii (max contribution of EUR 8 million).
Financial support to third parties
For grants awarded under the type ii Innovation actions, beneficiaries should provide support to third parties. The support to third parties can only be provided in the form of grants. Each IA for type ii will support third party projects from outstanding media innovators, SMEs and other multidisciplinary actors, so that multiple third parties will be funded in collectively contributing to the innovation area. The consortium will provide the programme logic and vision for the third-party projects, ensure the coherence and coordination of these projects, and provide the necessary technical support, as well as coaching and mentoring, in order to ensure that the collection of third party projects contributes to a significant advancement and impact in the research and innovation domain. These tasks cannot be implemented using the budget earmarked for the financial support to third parties.
Beneficiaries should make explicit the intervention logic for the area, their capacity to attract relevant top talents, to deliver a solid value-adding services to the third-party projects, as well as their expertise and capacity in managing the full life-cycle of the open calls transparently. As support and mobilising of media innovators is key to the type ii IA of this topic, a minimum of 70% of the total requested EU contribution should be allocated to financial support to the third parties.
The Commission considers that proposals with an overall duration of typically 30 months would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other durations. For ensuring focused effort, third parties in type ii will be funded through projects typically in the EUR 250 000 to 500 000 range per project, with indicative duration of 12 to 15 months.
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, Equal Rights, Human Rights, People with Disabilities, Social Inclusion, Competitiveness, SME, Art & Culture, Cultural Heritage, History, Media|
|Funding area|| EU Member States |
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
|Origin of Applicant|| EU Member States |
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
|Eligible applicants||Research Institution, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, Other, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Education and Training Centres, 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|| |
may provide financial support to third parties. The support to third parties can only be provided in the form of grants. As
the main objective of the action is to set up a dedicated VR Media Lab to foster innovation and new solutions in the field
of VR/AR Media, the maximum amount to be granted to each third party is EUR 500 000 for accommodating substantial equipment
Activities are expected to start at TRL 4 and achieve TRL 8 by the end of the project.
|Submission||Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.|