This topic supports the early stages of research to establish a new technological possibility. Proposals are sought for collaborative research with all of the following characteristics ('FET gatekeepers'):
- Long-term vision: the research proposed must address a new and radical long-term vision of a science- and technology-enabled future that is far beyond the state of the art and not currently foreseen by technology roadmaps.
- Breakthrough scientific and technological target: research must target a scientifically ambitious and technologically concrete breakthrough, argued to be a crucial step towards achieving the long-term vision. The plausibility of the proposed breakthrough(s) to be attained within the life-time of the project must be argued in the proposal.
- Novelty: the research proposed for achieving the breakthrough must be based on cutting-edge knowledge, new ideas and concepts, rather than in the mere application or incremental refinement of existing ones.
- Foundational: the breakthroughs that are envisaged must be foundational in the sense that, if achieved, they would establish an essential basis for a new kind of technology and its future uses, not currently anticipated.
- High-risk: the inherently high risk of the research proposed will be reflected in a flexible but effective methodology for exploring alternative directions and options, supported by open and agile research and innovation practices.
- Interdisciplinary: the proposed collaborations are expected to go beyond 'waterfall' configurations in multi-disciplinary science- and technology research. Instead they should seek new solutions through genuine exchanges, mutual learning, cross-fertilisation and synergistic advances among distant disciplines in order to open unexplored areas of investigation and new directions for joint research.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
The successful exploration of new foundations for radically new future technologies requires supporting a large set of early stage, high risk visionary science and technology projects to investigate new ideas. Here agile, risk-friendly and highly interdisciplinary research approaches are needed with collaborations that are open to all sciences and disciplines and that dissolve the traditional boundaries between them. The renewal of ideas is complemented by the renewal of actors taking these new ideas forward. Therefore, this topic encourages the driving role of new high-potential actors in research and innovation, such as excellent young, both female and male, researchers and high-tech SMEs that may become the scientific and industrial leaders of the future.
- Initiating or consolidating a baseline of feasibility for a radically new line of technology and its future uses by establishing the essential proofs-of-principle and their foundational scientific underpinnings.
- Strengthening European leadership in the early exploration of visionary, new and emerging technologies, beyond academic excellence and with global recognition. This impact can be reinforced by involving also new high-potential actors such as young, both female and male, researchers and high-tech SMEs that may become the European scientific and technological leaders and innovators of the future.
- Impact is also sought in terms of the take up of new research and innovation practices for making leading-edge science and technology research more open, collaborative, creative and closer to society.[[See also the discussion on public engagement in the introduction to this FET workprogramme.]]