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Materials solutions for use in the creative industry sector


Specific challenge: The recent communication ‘Promoting cultural and creative sectors for growth and jobs in the EU’ highlighted the competitive advantage that creative and cultural inputs bring to the European industries. The most obvious example is the wider use of design in manufacturing industries, adding value to products, services, processes and market structures. Firms spending twice the average amount on creative inputs are 25% more likely to introduce product innovations (COM(2012)537).To promote design-driven innovation, a number of action lines have been endorsed by the Commission, including integrating design into research and development and promoting new collaborative innovation strategies (‘Implementing an Action Plan for Design-Driven Innovation’, SWD(2013)380).

An innovative, design-driven, sustainable approach in conceiving, developing, producing, using and recycling materials can be effective in strengthening the competiveness and success of the European creative industries linked to manufacturing (e.g. architecture, automotive, art, crafts, supports for cultural items, decoration, fashion, furniture, lighting, interior design materials and products, jewels, luxury, media supports, publishing, sport and toys), adding value to products and processes also by ‘intangible’ factors (e.g. trend translation, enhanced sensations, values) .

Scope: Proposals should address the development of innovative material solutions for use in the creative industry sectors based on waste or process by-products to produce new materials or adopting bio-mimetic approaches. A sustainable and socially responsible approach to reduce energy consumption and environmental impact should be clearly demonstrated. Proof of concept in terms of product and/or process must be delivered within the project, excluding commercially usable prototypes (in compliance with European Commission Communication 2006/C323/01), but convincingly demonstrating scalability towards industrial needs.

In order to ensure the industrial relevance and impact of the research efforts, the cost effectiveness and commercial potential of the innovative technologies compared to state-of-the-art solutions currently available on the market should be convincingly assessed in the proposal. The active participation of designers, societal stakeholders, materials suppliers, manufacturers and end users of the resulting products represents an added value and this will be reflected in the second stage of the evaluation.

For this topic, proposals should include an outline of the initial exploitation and business plans, which will be developed further in the proposed project.

Wherever possible, proposers could actively seek synergies, including possibilities for funding, with relevant national / regional research and innovation programmes and/or cumulative funding with European Structural and Investment Funds in connection with smart specialisation strategies. For this purpose the tools provided by the Smart Specialization Platform, Eye@RIS3 may be useful[1]. The initial exploitation and business plans will address such synergies and/or additional funding. Exploitation plans, outline financial arrangements and any follow-up will be developed further during the project. The results of these activities as well as the envisaged further activities in this respect should be described in the final report of the project.

Activities expected to focus on Technology Readiness Level 5-7. A significant participation of SMEs with R&D capacities is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 4 and 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

  • Innovative sustainable material solutions for products with lower environmental footprint for use in the creative industry sector;
  • Promoting new collaborative innovation strategies and practices along the value chain by reducing the gaps between the material developers, designers, producers and consumers;
  • Integrating design into research and development to better support commercial and societal applications benefiting from a strong user orientation;
  • New business opportunities for the European industry via novel material solutions, with suitable-for-use properties and controlled environmental impact; and
  • Contribute to achieving the relevant EU policy objectives in COM(2012)537, ‘Promoting cultural and creative sectors for growth and jobs in the EU’.

Type of action:Innovation Actions

[1]; the relevant Managing Authorities can be found at