With great pleasure I have taken over as editor of this Newsletter. I hope you will find this publication not only a rich source of information but also a useful platform for communication. I would like to encourage you to send me your stories or news clips in order to make this Newsletter a true community building instrument. You can always contact me on the email: INFSO-RTD-IMS@ec.europa.eu
With this summer edition, we are coming back with news about IMS, information on latest European developments and event announcements. Europe 2020 is staying the course with Green Cars presented on European Parliament space in Brussels. Cloud computing and carbon efficiency keep raising temperatures here in Brussels, despite people's expectations to the contrary ... and last week the Commission presented a hot budget proposal for the next seven years (including budgets for research and innovation). The rest of the year won't be chilly.
I would like to wish you a pleasant holiday season!
Marta Bulik, European Commission
Green Cars exhibits in the European Parliament
European Green Cars Initiative and ICT technologies are in the core of Commission's push for more sustainable, safer, cleaner and smarter transportation in Europe. On 31 of May 2011, European Parliament hosted the exhibition of electric cars and prototypes from leading European producers. The portfolio of companies presenting the results of work included the biggest names as Volkswagen, Renault, Volvo, Fiat, Bosch, Continental, Valeo, Siemens, AVL, Ricardo, FEV, Hidria, Fraunhofer, IFP, and Procter& Gamble.
Mrs. Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for Digital Agenda, who spoke during the event, called the automotive sector "the motor of Europe's economy". Commissioner Kroes encouraged for participation in upcoming research projects in this area mentioning three of the future priorities: the Connected Car, Fully Electric Vehicles, and Industrial policy and manufacturing.
Concluding her speech, Mrs. Neelie Kroes asked for (…) support in convincing the national authorities and the general public that electric vehicles have an exciting future in Europe, and that they are one of the few remaining smart investments."
Exhibition was also visited by Commissioner for Research and Innovation Maire Geoghegan-Quinn as well as over 20 Members of the European Parliament. A workshop "Portfolio of the European Green Cars Projects" was organized the same day in the European Parliament.
Industrialists and policy makers exchange views at the first World Manufacturing Forum
Manufacturing is one of the engines of global economic growth and sustainable development. But global requests for greener products, increasing competitiveness in low-cost manufacturing and for raw materials, more complex products and services with more technologies embedded, international regulation towards near-to-zero emission plants are all putting significant pressure on companies to respond with new manufacturing strategies. Technology, ICT and skills have become increasingly important for international competitiveness. Access to international consumer markets has improved. Although the financial and economic crisis has led to a decrease of manufacturing activities in Europe, Japan and the US, many other economies appear to have feathered its effects quite well. The new business environment bears challenges and opportunities for global manufacturing and whilst OECD countries have maintained a high level of spending on science, technology and innovation, BRIC economies have increased spending significantly. Governments are keen to put policies in place in order to help their industries seize the opportunities.
320 representatives from industry, academic research and policy making attended the first World Manufacturing Forum which was held on 16 and 17 May in Cernobbio, Lake Como, Italy. The event's programme featured keynote speeches and a round table discussion on the first day, with more in-depth thematic sessions on day two, focusing mainly on issues such as: Are industrial policies keeping pace with global reality or are they still based on non-global manufacturing paradigms? Will economies become unstable by keeping their markets open or can there be a more resilient world, for example through collective R&D? Which skills and competencies will be needed for manufacturing in 2020? How to create better workplaces? The Forum tried to address these issues by building consensus on a vision with respect to the global manufacturing challenges and to sustainability, growth models and policies, and by stimulating bottom-up ideas to promote international R&D and innovation partnerships through hands-on sharing of experiences.
All presentations are available on the event's website.
ICT Proposers' Day 2011, Budapest, Hungary
The event was organized by the Information Society and Media Directorate General of the European Commission, and hosted by the Hungarian Presidency of the European Union. ICT Proposers' Day 2011 took place in Budapest at Hungexpo Fair Center from 19th to 20th May. The conference was dedicated to networking and partnership building for next ICT Calls of the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission (FP7), offering more than one billion Euros of EU funding. Around 1600 participants from private, public and academic sector representing all EU countries attended in order to look for potential project's partners. Additionally, 75 European Commission representatives were present to provide all the necessary information regarding the future calls for proposals and submission of the applications.
Tampere International Manufacturing Summit 2011, Finland
International Tampere Manufacturing Summit 2011 was organized on 23-25 May. The Summit brought together 260 participants from 16 countries representing both industry and academia. Front line industrial manufacturers and researchers exchanged opinions and ideas about different aspects of manufacturing and keys to improve global competitivity and business profitability. The programme included more than 50 invited presentations of internationally recognized experts, visits to relevant companies, networking and brokerage event with aim to activate industry and academia for R&D collaboration over the borders.
The next Summit will take place on 10-12 June 2013 in Tampere, Finland.
European Robotics Forum 2011
The three day Forum at the Aros Congress Center in Västerås, Sweden, brought together over 330 roboticists from 26 countries. The theme of this year's forum was "Enabling Innovation: from Research to Products". The Forum is a gathering of representatives of all European robotics stakeholders from industry, research, academia and public and private investors. It primarily aims at facilitating networking between these groups through numerous plenary sessions and smaller workshops of common interest. Participants had the opportunity to meet, discuss, exchange ideas, and network. During the Forum, Khalil Rouhana, the Director for digital content and cognitive systems in DG INFSO, European Commission, provided information about the 8th Framework Programme. He emphasized the importance of input from the robotics industry regarding FP8 which upholds the significance of the European robotics industry in the eye of the Commission.
US in focus: President Obama launched Advanced Manufacturing Partnership
"Today, I'm calling for all of us to come together- private sector industry, universities, and the government- to spark a renaissance in American manufacturing and help our manufacturers develop the cutting-edge tools they need to compete with anyone in the world," said President Obama while launching Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. "With these key investments, we can ensure that the United States remains a nation that 'invents it here and manufactures it here' and creates high-quality, good paying jobs for American workers."
According to the White House announcement more than $500 million will be invest as for the start. Investments will be made in the following key areas: building domestic manufacturing capabilities in critical national security industries; reducing the time needed to make advanced materials used in manufacturing products; establishing U.S. leadership in next-generation robotics; increasing the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes; and developing new technologies that will dramatically reduce the time required to design, build, and test manufactured goods.
Technology Strategy Board: new feasibility studies and research programs
New funding from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board (UK) will support vehicle-centric studies that challenge current conventions, explore new boundaries or adapt novel technologies to an entirely different field. Fourteen innovative British companies are to receive government support to carry out feasibility studies into the development of disruptive low carbon vehicle technology that will challenge current thinking.
Additionally, new research and development programme were launched in June to stimulate the use of innovative information and communication technologies in the manufacturing and construction sectors. Encouraging new and sustainable partnerships between businesses, the programme will invite consortia to compete for a share in £7m of funding to apply the latest ICT developments to some of the biggest challenges in manufacturing and/or construction.
A new demonstrator programme with aim to help to speed-up the adoption of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and bringing them into everyday use will show how fuel cell systems and hydrogen technologies could be used in low carbon energy and transport systems.
A strategic vision for European standards
"More Standards for Europe" is the main objective of a series of measures that the European Commission proposed in June 2011. European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship summarised: "To be successful, Europe needs to react to the challenge of rapid innovation, sustainability, convergence of technologies, and fierce global competition. A dynamic European standardisation system is essential to spur quality and innovation and to strengthen Europe's role as a global economic player. Moreover, standards allow us all to have the best quality and sustainable products for a lower price. Standardisation is also a key issue for the well functioning of our internal market"
The most important steps that the Commission took to strengthen the system of standard-setting in Europe are the following:
- Europe will push for more international standards in those economic sectors where Europe is a global leader;
- High-tech products are often sold in combination with maintenance services. Therefore, more market-driven European standards for services could be developed giving companies commercial advantages;
- To propose a light and fast way to recognise the increasingly important ICT standards developed by global ICT standards development organisations, such as those underpinning the internet, to be used in public procurement, EU policies and legislation.
- The Commission will enhance its cooperation with the leading standardisation organisations in Europe (i.e. CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) so that their standards will be available more rapidly.
- European standards will be drafted with the help of organisations representing those most affected, or most concerned – consumers, small businesses, environmental and social organisations.
Energy Efficiency Plan to improve EU's Industrial competitiveness
The European Commission adopted in March 2011 a plan for saving more energy through concrete measures. Energy efficiency is a key tool for strengthening Europe's competitiveness and reduces energy dependence, while decreasing the level of emissions. The set of measures proposed aims at creating substantial benefits for households, businesses and public authorities. It should improve the EU's industrial competitiveness with a potential for the creation of up to 2 million jobs.
The Action Plan proposes several new actions:
- It promotes the exemplary role of the public sector and proposes a binding target to accelerate the refurbishment rate of the public sector building stock. Public authorities should be required to refurbish at least 3% of their buildings each year. It also introduces energy efficiency criteria in public procurement.
- It aims to trigger the renovation process in private buildings and to improve the energy performance of appliances.
- It seeks to improve the efficiency of power and heat generation.
- It foresees energy efficiency requirements for industrial equipment, improved information provision for SMEs and energy audits and energy management systems for large companies.
- It focuses on the roll-out of smart grids and smart meters providing consumers with the information and services necessary to optimise their energy consumption and calculate their energy savings.
Additionally, in order to help EU industries to speed up carbon efficiency, European Commission has launched a call for proposals in the context of the new Sustainable Industry Low Carbon initiative. It consists of a set of sector-specific industrial projects aiming to find innovation measures to reduce the carbon-intensity industries. Each project will be carried out by a consortium of industrial stakeholders. The EU will provide co-financing up to 75% in form of grant agreements.
Commission proposes unitary patent protection to boost research and innovation
As part of the Single Market Act presented on 13 April 2011, the European Commission has tabled a package of two legislative proposals, under enhanced cooperation, that will radically reduce the cost of patents in Europe by up to 80%. This will allow any company or individual to protect their inventions through a single European patent which is valid in 25 Member States.
"The purpose of unitary patent protection is to make innovation cheaper and easier for businesses and inventors everywhere in Europe," said Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier. "It will mean a big reduction in terms of costs and red tape, and provide a stimulus for European innovation. It will be accessible for all companies in the EU, no matter where they are based. I continue to hope that, in time, all Member States will choose to participate in this enhanced cooperation. It is my deeply held conviction there is no sustainable economic growth without innovation. And no innovation without efficient intellectual property protection".
Online public consultation on cloud computing in Europe
The European Commission is inviting all interested parties, in particular cloud developers and cloud users, to explain their experience, needs, expectations and insights into the use and provision of cloud computing. Inter alia, the survey seeks feedback on the following issues:
- data protection and liability questions, in particular in cross-border situations;
- other legal and technical barriers that can slow down the development of cloud computing in Europe;
- standardisation and interoperability solutions;
- uptake of cloud services, in particular by SMEs;
- ways to promote research and innovation in cloud computing.
The online public consultation will run until the August 31st. Responses will feed into the preparation of a European cloud computing strategy that the Commission will present in 2012.
EU Budget proposal 2014-2020: Significant increase in research and innovation
The Commissions proposed a multi-annual budget for 2014-2020 with focus on priority funding at the EU level that provides true added value. The overall amount proposed for the next seven years is €1,025 billion in commitments (1.05% of the EU GNI) and €972.2 billion (1% of EU GNI) in payments. Investment in research and innovation in the next seven years will be significantly increased. A common EU strategy called "Horizon 2020" worth 80 billion € will boost Europe's global competitiveness and help create the jobs and ideas of tomorrow. It will gather all projects in this area to eliminate fragmentation and make sure EU -funded projects better complement and help coordinate national efforts.
MANUFUTURE European Technology Platform's Contribution to Public Consultation- Green Paper "From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation funding"
European Commission Green Paper on EU research and innovation funding was published on 9 February 2011, with a deadline for contributions of 20 May 2011. The Green Paper proposed major changes to EU research and innovation funding to make participation easier, increase scientific and economic impact and provide better value for money. The changes, to be introduced in the next EU budget after 2013, will cover the current Framework Programme for research, the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme, and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.
The European Technology Platform on Future Manufacturing Technologies (MANUFUTURE ETP) contributed to Public consultation by submitting the point of view of the European manufacturing community in the form of answers to the CSFRI Green Paper's questions.
To read the full contribution (PDF, 1,07MB)
SMART-EC is a large scale ICT project under EU's Seventh Framework Programme, started in September 2010. Its goal is to develop multifunctional smart devices based on an electrochromic thin film transistor matrix to implement fast and stable devices that can be used for commercial EC smart products, for instance in the automotive, ID-card and smart packaging sectors. Radical, low-cost innovative manufacturing technologies will be developed based on heterogeneous integration of multiple functions to produce autonomous devices (thin-film battery, photovoltaic cell, sensors and communication) with considerable added value compared to traditional solutions.
2011 PPP Call to start in July
The new PPP Call for Proposals will be published in July 2011. In order to support the preparation of future proposals, European Commission organized Information Days for Public Private Partnerships on 'Energy-efficient Buildings, Factories of the Future and Green Cars', on 11-12 July in Brussels. Participants were informed about the progress regarding the research Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and the related third Cross-thematic Coordinated Calls. Research areas, conditions for participation and future priorities of the PPPs were discussed. Networking was part of the event- participant had the opportunity to present their own project idea and develop contact with other potential proposers and partners.
Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking 2011 Call for Proposals
The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking published on 3 May 2011 its 4th annual call for proposals. Fuel Cells and Hydrogen public-private partnership dedicates more than €200million to support research and demonstration activities in these energy technologies. FCH JU is committed to make these modular technologies deliver their environmental and economic benefits across various sectors: transport, power generation, industrial equipment and consumer devices.
The 36 topics of the call address key issues to foster market breakthroughs. They are divided in 5 application areas: transportation and refuelling infrastructure; hydrogen production and distribution; stationary power generation; and early markets, such as portable, micro applications or handling vehicles. The fifth application area focuses on cross-cutting issues aiming to address non-technical barriers, such as development of life cycle assessment, codes and standards, socio-economic research, public awareness, training etc.
The deadline for application is 18 August 2011, 17.00 hours (Brussels local time). Evaluation of proposals is foreseen to take place in September 2011 and applicants will be informed about the results starting in October 2011. Projects selected for contract negotiations should be announced by the end of December 2011.