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Photonics Innovation Factory for Europe (Photonics Partnership)
Horizon Europe - Cluster 4 - Destination 4: Digital and Emerging Technologies for Competitivness and Fit for the Green Deal
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
The aim is to provide a virtual factory with a flexible and open structure, allowing for a multiplicity of competitive actors and services operating as a sustainable fully integrated European ecosystem of cross-border deep innovation support in core photonics technologies for the benefit of European industry. The factory should lower the entry threshold to photonics and facilitate the broad uptake and integration of these technologies in new products and processes with high potential impact in the market and on society.
The factory should help speed up the deployment of proven photonics technologies within European industry in order to increase its global competitiveness, with an emphasis on technological sovereignty and resilience while also fostering strong new enterprise business growth. Care will be taken that it will not compete with existing commercial offers.
Proposals should address the following:
A streamlined virtual access, supported through a network of competence centers acting as a single consortium, to a supply chain which offers a broad range of photonics technologies that cover the entire photonics innovation spectrum from concept to commercialization (TRL 2-7).
The action should create pathways from initial concept through to production, employing scalable manufacturing methods connected to pilot lines and pre-series production facilities appropriate to the market, and thereby closing the gaps in photonics value chains and unlocking investments in European manufacturing based on more complete and mature solutions.
The action needs to target primarily first users and early adopters enabling the wider uptake and deployment of core photonic technologies in innovative products and processes with strong commercial potential.
Support cases should be innovative and industrially relevant, requiring intensive cross-border collaborative expert intervention to overcome specific innovation challenges based on synergetic photonics core technologies, and should include business-related coaching activities directly linked to the innovation activities to support industrialization steps to full commercial launch as a complete value chain appropriate to the market needs.
Users and early adopters may start individual support cases at different levels of technology readiness depending on their needs: TRL 2 may be useful for researchers using photonic technologies whereas industrial users may start higher, e.g. at TRL 4 or 5. Support cases should increase the start TRL by at least two levels. All actions taken together should cover TRL work between 2 and 7.
The action should build on relevant previous European initiatives and existing infrastructure at European and regional levels, use an appropriate quality management and impact measurement framework for the direct innovation support interventions, demonstrate a record of accomplishment in supporting industry, in particular SMEs and start-ups, with deep cross-border innovation support.
The action should provide strong linkages with established European Photonics industry and investment networks such as the Enterprise Europe Network, as well as (pan-) European Digital Innovation Hubs and cluster organizations in both the photonics and photonics-enabled application domains.
The action should address innovation-readiness support in the form of Demonstration Centers and Experience Centers to help prepare business cases plus additional supports such as technology, business, investment, and intellectual property coaching aimed at maximizing the potential future commercial impacts from the innovation support activities. The action should also be capable of demonstrating a strong business plan towards durable funding and sustainability of its activities.
This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership Photonics.
Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:
- Substantially improved penetration of core photonics technologies into multiple end-user application domains and industry sectors, in particular through carefully selected SMEs and new start-ups with the strongest potential for high impact in terms of business growth and employment, enabling a demonstrably more competitive and technologically sovereign European industry.
- Creation of a sustainable streamlined ecosystem for photonics innovation in Europe from TRL 2-7, providing European Cross-Border Added Value with a high leveraging effect on investments made at national and regional level in photonics.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan), Belarus (Беларусь), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), New Zealand (Aotearoa), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible.
other eligibility criteria
Activities are expected to start at TRL 2-5 and achieve TRL 4-7 by the end of the project.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages.