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Pilots for an innovative human-centric industry
Horizon Europe - Cluster 4 - Destination 6: A Human-centred and Ethical Development of Digital and Industrial Technologies
Estimated EU contribution per project
around € 10,000,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission
The project will develop and demonstrate the concept of human-centricity in a real-life, operational industrial environment in at least ten pilots. A pilot may consist of an individual company, but may also span multiple companies that interact across (possibly transnational) value chains or in a local innovation ecosystem.
Digitalisation and automation in industry to date have focussed primarily on capitalising on opportunities to increase efficiency and enhance productivity, often without much attention to the changing role of the worker. In its Industry 5.0 concept, the Commission puts forward a view of a resilient, sustainable and human-centric industry. The human-centric approach implies placing core human needs and interests at the heart of processes in industry, rather than taking the technology and its potential for increasing efficiency as a starting point.
A human-centric industry recognises and leverages the capabilities and creative potential of its workers through the synergistic combination with advanced (digital) technologies. In this process, with regard to work organisation, work place design, work content and skills, working conditions and work relations, fundamental principles and human needs such as human autonomy and control, coherence and variation of tasks, work-life balance, social dialogue and others, must be safeguarded, as well as human rights such as privacy and safety. Moreover, as diverse groups of workers experience the increasing impact – as well as opportunities - of the digital transition, upskilling or reskilling is required to meet the digital transformation challenges of the enterprise.
The project will develop and demonstrate the concept of human-centricity in a real-life, operational industrial environment in at least ten pilots. A pilot may consist of an individual company, but may also span multiple companies that interact across (possibly transnational) value chains or in a local innovation ecosystem. The set of pilots, as a whole, will cover a variety of industrial sectors and company sizes, including SMEs and start-ups and/or scale-ups, and will be situated in at least 13 different EU Member States or countries associated to the Horizon Europe programme.
The pilots will innovate and go beyond-the-state-of-the-art with respect to the purposeful application of advanced technologies, which would typically be situated at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 6 or 7. With regard to digital solutions, the aspect of cyber-security must be adequately addressed in design, implementation and governance. Purposeful application signifies that innovation is expected that promotes a human-centric industry and may imply, as appropriate, innovation with respect to work organisation, tasks and functions of workers, skills and training, occupational health and safety, enterprise management and governance (incl. the management of human resources), business models, corporate values and ethics, etc.
In addition, the pilots may address particular themes such as the ones listed hereunder in a non-prescriptive and non-exhaustive manner:
- the development of and experimentation with models and technologies to stimulate individual and collective creativity of workers and future workforce,
- the participation of workers (as end-users) in the design of purposeful technology application in the work process,
- the application of technology to enhance the inclusivity of the work environment, the ways in which unskilled or low-skilled labour participate in a human-centric production process and the role of technology therein,
- how technological, process and organisational innovation can offer jobs that remain rewarding for the individual worker along the life cycle,
- the development of and experimentation with the use of advanced technologies (such as robotics) in learning environments to increase the skill level of the current and future workforce,
- the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of the organisation of work and its effects.
The project will report the obtained results and the practices leading to success, as well as the encountered difficulties and bottlenecks and any trade-off that had to be made. They will identify and analyse direct and indirect effects and outcomes of the pilots. These include effects and outcomes that pertain to workers’ satisfaction and well-being, with a particular interest for the acceptance of and relation with technology. Equally important are the effects and outcomes that implicate the competitiveness and resilience of the company and, taking a wider perspective, the societal role of industry as responsible provider of prosperity. The consortia will interpret their findings in a coherent theoretical framework, exploiting the diversity of the pilots and taking into account the specificities of the setting and context of the pilots.
The consortium will formulate evidence-based recommendations tailored to relevant stakeholders, including, as appropriate, policy makers at relevant levels (EU, national/regional, sectoral), social partners, industry federations and professional associations and partnerships and organised civil society (NGOs). A concluding conference will support this goal.
This topic requires an interdisciplinary approach with the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts and/or institutions.
The proposals should consider the intersectional gender dimension in the content of the proposed research and innovation, in order to deliver scientific quality and societal relevance of the produced knowledge and innovation.
Proposers should consider and actively seek synergies with relevant active and finalised projects/activities in Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe (including public-private and public-public partnerships and EIT KICs) and the Digital Europe programme (European Digital Innovation Hubs), as well as within relevant sectorial associations.
- Improved understanding of the socio-technical and ethical implications of advanced (digital) technologies for workers and work organisation across industrial sectors;
- Work and learning environments and work models that make best use of the possibilities of advanced (digital) technologies and the human capabilities and creative potential in a synergistic manner, thus contributing to enhanced European industrial competitiveness in existing and new markets;
- A skilled and creative industry workforce that is empowered through and in control of advanced technologies that are aligned with European social and ethical values.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), 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), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
EU Body, Education and training institution, International organization, Natural Person, 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
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.