FOF-12-2017 - ICT Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs (I4MS)
As Phase 3 of I4MS (www.i4ms.eu) this topic addresses the adoption of the next generation of ICT advances in the manufacturing domain. Focus is on emerging innovative technologies and processes, which need to be customised, integrated, tested and validated before being released on the market. Special emphasis is on strengthening European SMEs and mid-caps along the value chain by adopting new concepts linked to innovative business and/or service models, and bringing them into contact with actors that can provide access to finance and access to advanced training to reskill workers.
a. Innovation actions must address all of the following three aspects.
Proposers should cover at least one of the following four areas of technologies for adoption in manufacturing. Proposers are encouraged to support the building of pan-European ecosystems of emerging platforms and are expected to collaborate on reinforcing the European I4MS ecosystem, and to establish links to related activities, e.g. in the IoT Focus Area, the Joint Undertaking ECSEL, and the SPARC or big data PPPs.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU up to EUR 8 million would allow the areas 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
To advance the European I4MS innovation ecosystem the network is to be reinforced. The aim is to achieve broad coverage in technological, application, innovation, and geographic terms, and to link up with regional/national innovation initiatives, including access to finance and access to training. Its tasks and services shall include maintaining a single innovation portal for newcomers, including a catalogue of the competences available in the I4MS network; sharing of best practices and experiences from I4MS and relevant regional/national initiatives; dissemination; identifying new innovative ICT technologies that can benefit from this scheme, brokering between users and suppliers; leveraging further investment for SMEs and mid-caps to bring the results of the application experiments to real use in the company, providing support in finding training providers for reskilling the workers in the SMEs and midcaps. For these support actions, close cooperation with the European Factories of the Future Association (EFFRA http://www.effra.eu) the newly established Knowledge Innovation Community (KIC) on Added Value Manufacturing and the CSA funded under the Smart Anything Everywhere initiative is required.
For Europe's competitiveness in manufacturing, it is crucial that advances in ICT are taken up in engineering and manufacturing ""at large"" as soon as they have the appropriate maturity level. The topic will support fast adoption, and wide spread technology transfer of advanced ICT-based solutions for manufacturing across the business process chains – from ""cradle to grave"".
Proposals should address all of the following impact criteria, providing metrics to measure success when appropriate:
- Exploration of new application areas for advanced ICT in manufacturing at large: Attract a significant number of new users of advanced ICT in the manufacturing sector, in particular SMEs and the mid-caps.
- More innovative and competitive technology suppliers, in particular SMEs, both on the level of ICT and on the level of manufacturing equipment, able to supply manufacturers with new equipment, components, and tools for improved manufacturing and engineering operations.
- More competitive European service providers through provisioning of new types of services; through strengthening the presence on local markets.
- Creation of a self-sustainable ecosystem of competence centers, users and suppliers supported by services available through a marketplace, covering a large number of regions and their smart specialisation.
- A critical mass of pan European experiments that demonstrate innovative, sustainable business models covering the whole value chain leading to quantifiable increases in market shares and/or productivity of European companies and/or industrial capacities in Europe.