Funding will be provided for the coordination and networking of Technological Infrastructures involving research infrastructures, industry and SMEs.
Proposals should address:
- the definition of key techniques and trends which are crucial for the further development of Research Infrastructures, in close partnership with the industrial partners, especially with innovative SMEs;
- the definition of roadmaps and/or strategic agendas together with industrial sector actors for key technologies for R&D and for the construction and upgrade of Research Infrastructures as well as for key technologies to be explored by industries;
- the identification of the domains of societal applications and potential markets beyond Research Infrastructures;
- the implementation of a strategy addressing the training of young engineers, technicians and scientists in an environment of strong industrial relevance and scientific excellence;
- the exchange of good practices between user communities and managers of research infrastructures as regard benchmarking performance of technology platforms, harmonisation of tests, standards, reference materials, interoperability and data handling.
Proposals should cover a broad technological domain of interest for pan European Research Infrastructures such as but not restricted to components for accelerator based facilities, laser, high-field magnets, vacuum and cryogenic systems, or components for oceanic investigation.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 2 million would allow this topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Pan-European Research Infrastructures use more and more sophisticated technologies that can only be hosted in large-scale platforms combining R&D (Research and Development), integration and validation. These platforms can be viewed as Technological Infrastructures: they form a distributed network across Europe and provide Research Infrastructures with advanced key technologies and integration services. They also provide longer-term visibility and involvement of industry in scientific and technological advancements and therefore ensure greater socio-economic impact. The coordination of Technological Infrastructures working in a given technological domain and their networking will contribute to harmonise their operation conditions and increase their operation efficiency. This will permit the creation of a more efficient integrated ecosystem between academic laboratories, focussed on technological R&D needs of Research Infrastructures, large companies as well as SMEs, motivated by the innovative environment and the market opportunities created by the Research Infrastructure needs. Being focussed on innovation and on higher Technology Readiness Level (TRL) than usually targeted by Research Infrastructures, i.e. from TRL4 (technology validated in lab) to TRL6 (technology demonstrated in relevant environment), these networks of Technological Infrastructures should contribute to bridging the gap between the academic world and industry, and to the training of high-level engineers and technological scientists in Europe.
The implementation of a coordinated ecosystem of Technological Infrastructures as key components of the European Research Infrastructure landscape, will help ensure both the scientific competitiveness of European Research Infrastructures in the long-term and the further development of innovative companies.
In particular this activity will:
- Establish technology roadmaps and identify market opportunities shared between Research Infrastructures and Technology Infrastructures and socio-economic partners for a better positioning of Europe in the global Research Infrastructure sector;
- Facilitate the creation of both large and viable markets and structuring industrial partners in a critical mass to enable European industry to respond to demands from international Research Infrastructures;
- Established links between universities and industrial companies of such a technology cluster to ensure the dissemination of the acquired knowledge and the training of top-level engineers and technicians;
- Support the integration of research infrastructures into local, regional and global innovation systems; the competitive nature of such a technology cluster-based approach will facilitate the development of synergies and complementarities across Europe and avoid duplication of work.