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a. Innovation Actions should address all of the following three aspects. Establishing across Europe networks of multidisciplinary competence centres offering one-stop shops/marketplaces for companies that want to experiment with digital technologies inside their products. Centres should act as "innovation hubs" offering facilities (access to technology platforms) and services for developing innovative products, such as design, manufacturing, rapid prototyping and life-cycle management. They should also act as brokers between suppliers and users of technology products and solutions. Competence centres are encouraged to link to existing and emerging regional (smart specialisation) or national innovation hubs. If Horizon 2020 funding is complemented by ESIF or other regional or national funds, Horizon 2020 funding should be used for carrying out highly innovative experiments that will multiply the impact of local initiatives to a European scale, and will build partnerships between businesses in Europe.

  • Carrying out a critical mass of cross-border experiments bringing together different key actors along the full value chain to customise the technologies according to the requirements of the users. Driven by the requirements of first-time users, Application Experiments bring together the actors of the value chain and the experts necessary to enable new users to develop novel products or services and assist them in customising and applying these in their respective environments. Alternatively competence centers could provide access to design and prototyping and small value production or a combination of the above. Experiment descriptions in proposals should include an outline of the initial exploitation plan and business scenario. To remain flexible on which experiments will be carried out and to stay flexible in fast moving markets, the action may involve financial support to third parties, in line with the conditions set out in part K of the General Annexes. The proposal will define the selection process of additional users and suppliers running the experiments for which financial support will be granted (typically in the order of EUR 20 000 – 100 000 [In line with Article 23 (7) of the Rules for Participation the amounts referred to in Article 137 of the Financial Regulation may be exceeded, and if this is the case proposals should explain why this is necessary to achieve the objectives of the action.] per party). Maximum 50% of the EU funding can be allocated to financial support to third parties.
  • Activities to achieve long-term sustainability of one-stop shop / market place services by the competence centres and the eco-system. This includes the development of a business plan for the competence centres and the marketplace, of which an outline business scenario should be described in the proposal. In addition, investors should be attracted to support business development of SMEs and mid-cap actors in successful experiments. Such activities would include also dissemination and support to exploitation. Among others, communication and dissemination activities shall make use of established networks reaching out to SMEs like the Enterprise Europe Network and the NCP network.
  • Innovation actions are expected to focus on one or more of the following four areas of technologies. Selected projects are expected to collaborate on building the European "Smart Anything Everywhere" ecosystem:

    • Area 1: Cyber-physical and embedded systems: The goal is to help businesses from any sector uplift the quality and performance of their products and services with innovative embedded ICT components and systems and to support eco-system building for promising platforms developed in earlier R&I products.
    • Area 2: Customised low energy computing powering CPS and the IoT: The goal is to help businesses who are developing products for situations where high computing capacity and low energy would be a competitive advantage and to support eco-system building for promising platforms developed in earlier low power computing projects.
    • Area 3: Advanced micro-electronics components and Smart System Integration: The goal is to support electronic components, sensors, smart objects and systems (i) access [Including EuroPractice-type actions] to advanced design and manufacturing for academia, research institutes and SMEs, and (ii) rapid prototyping targeting SMEs.
    • Area 4: Organic and large area electronics: The goal is to help businesses in further maturing, innovating and validating their products with organic and large area electronics technologies. Focus is on i) access to design, technology and prototyping which are mature and ready to use, and ii) application experiments driven by concrete user requirements and business cases.

    The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to 7 million would allow areas (1), (2) and (3) to be addressed appropriately. The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to 4.5 million would allow area (4) to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. At least one innovation action is supported for each area of technologies.

    b. Coordination and Support actions

    The aim is to reinforce the collaboration between the actions supported under this initiative, to increase the outreach of these actions and their impact and to achieve a wider coverage of stakeholders in technological, application, innovation, and geographic terms. Tasks and services should include maintaining a single innovation portal for newcomers; sharing of best practices and experiences; dissemination; identifying new innovative ICT technologies that can benefit from this scheme, brokering between users and suppliers; leveraging further investment by creating linkages with regional/national initiatives and by stimulating organic growth.

    The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to 1 million would allow this area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

    "Smart anything everywhere" stands for the next wave of products that integrate digital technology inside. A major challenge is to accelerate the design, development and uptake of advanced digital technologies by European industry, especially among them many SMEs and mid-caps in products that include innovative electronic components, software and systems (For an overview of already existing projects in this initiative see www.smartanythingeverywhere.eu/). Proposals should address all of the following impact criteria, providing metrics to measure success when appropriate.

    • Innovation in products, processes and business models leading to quantifiable increases in market shares and/or productivity of European companies and/or industrial capacities in Europe, notably for SMEs and mid-caps operating in non tech sectors.
    • Business growth and increase competitiveness of digital technology suppliers, in particular SMEs, able to supply components and systems that may be integrated in various products.
    • Creation of a self-sustainable ecosystem of innovation hubs including ICT suppliers and users supported by services available through a one stop shop, covering a large number of regions and their smart specialisation.
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