a. Research and Innovation Actions
All R&I actions should demonstrate strong industrial commitment, be driven by user needs and concrete exploitation strategies, and they should cover the value/supply chain as appropriate. They should address manufacturability and include standardisation activities as appropriate. Focus is on one of the following themes:
- Application driven core photonic technology developments for a new generation of photonic devices (including components, modules and sub-systems) for agile Petabit/s Optical Core and Metro Networks. The objective is to develop new photonic technologies for metro and core networks allowing capacities of Pb/s per node, and Tb/s per channel and 100 Tb/s per link over increased transport distances, while supporting network programmability features and fitting network operator requirements and roadmaps. Actions should include all new device developments for the envisaged network architecture. The action should also lead to network solutions with an energy consumption and equipment footprint reduction by more than 10 and a significant reduction in network cost. Actions may include system, network, control and security level aspects to the extent necessary for the action.
- Photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology: The objective is to achieve major advances in chip integration technology, enabling a cost effective volume manufacturing of PICs with significantly enhanced performances (e.g. integration complexity, footprint, energy efficiency, speed, …) or new functions. Potential for such technology advances exists e.g. in selective area growth for multi-function integration, wider band-gap engineering, heterogeneous integration, wafer-scale electronic-photonic integration, the use of new materials, and in new approaches to small and efficient laser sources. Actions may address also the related design methodology and tools and the optimisation of materials, and should include a validation of results with fabricated PIC prototypes.
- Disruptive approaches to optical manufacturing by 2 and 3 D opto-structuring: The objective is to develop new optical manufacturing approaches for photonic components with unprecedented resolution (down to the submicron and nano-scale) or for functionalization of the surface of the materials to tailor and optimise their characteristics for a specific application. Actions may also address the related material. Novelty may be related for example to the laser source, to the optical system for light manipulation, to light-matter interaction or to the exploitation of quantum effects. Actions should include the validation of the manufacturing approach through a functional prototype of an application relevant device that goes clearly beyond the state of the art.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 6 and 8 million (for theme a.i) between EUR 3 and 4 million (for theme a.ii and a.iii) would allow these themes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Minimum one action per theme will be selected.
b. Innovation Actions
Focus is on one of the following themes:
i. Innovation Incubator for SMEs[[Wherever appropriate, actions could seek synergies and co-financing from relevant national/regional research and innovation programmes, or from structural funds addressing smart specialisation. Actions combining different sources of financing should include a concrete financial plan detailing the use of these funding sources for the different parts of their activities.]]
The objective is to reinforce the competitiveness of photonics and end-user industries, in particular SMEs, by providing them one-stop-shop access, supported through competence centres, to services and capabilities such as expertise, training, prototyping, design, engineering or pilot manufacturing services for first users and early adopters enabling the wider adoption and deployment of photonic technologies in innovative products. The service to be provided to the SME should be driven by its business needs and the implementation must be flexible and fast to better cope with the speed of innovation in ICT and the SME requirements.
Large projects are expected to achieve critical mass and to better exploit EU-added value. The action may involve financial support to third parties in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes. The consortium will define the selection process of additional users and suppliers for which financial support will be granted (typically in the order of EUR 30.000 – 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). A maximum of 50% of the EU funding requested by the proposal should be allocated to this purpose.[[It is recommended to also use established networks reaching out to SMEs like the Enterprise Europe Network and the NCP network for calls publications and awareness raising towards SME's.]]
ii. Application driven core photonic devices integrated in systems: Actions should address validation and demonstration of photonic based systems for the target applications. Actions should also include standardisation activities. They should demonstrate strong industrial commitment, be driven by user needs and concrete business cases supported by strong exploitation strategies, and cover the whole value/supply chain and the end-user. Focus is on one of the following themes:
- Biophotonics: imaging systems for in-depth disease diagnosis: The objective is the demonstration and validation in real-settings of innovative, easy to operate, compact, and non- or minimally invasive imaging systems to support diagnosis of age and life-style related diseases. The imaging system should either be label-free or be based on already/rapidly safety-approved labels. The feasibility and validity of the diagnostics approach should already have been demonstrated and it should potentially have a significant advantage with respect to current diagnostic approaches. The action should further develop, improve and assess the imaging system under a sufficient range of realistic conditions and disease profiles. The evaluation of its usability and applicability and its validation in clinical settings should be included.Actions should be driven by medical equipment manufacturers that are capable of and committed to the commercialisation of the solutions and include teams of physicians/clinicians to take part in the development and the functional and quantitative validation. Clinical trials are not covered by these actions and will normally take place after these actions.
- Sensing for process and product monitoring and analysis: The prototyping and testing of new process analytical instrumentation for on-line/in-line control, targeting the food and pharmaceutical industry, based on compact and miniaturized photonics sensors that include novel key photonics components and modules. This new instrumentation should show significant improvements beyond the state of the art in sensitivity, specificity, long term stability (including calibration stability), high measurement rate, and reliability. Instruments should have self-testing/-monitoring functionalities and on-site calibration capabilities. The significant advantages compared to conventional sensors in terms of performance or cost, as appropriate, have to be demonstrated in a specific industrial application for monitoring product quality in real settings.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 8 and 10 million (for theme b.i) and between 6 and 8 million (for theme b.ii) would allow these themes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Minimum one action per theme will be selected.
c. Coordination and Support actions
Supporting the industrial strategy for photonics in Europe: the objective is to support the development and implementation of a comprehensive industrial strategy for photonics in Europe. The action should include the development of strategic technology road-maps, strong stakeholder engagement (in particular Photonics21 stakeholders, National Technology Platforms, regional Clusters, end-user industries), coordination of regional, national and European strategies and priorities, and development of financial models and financial engineering to facilitate access to different sources of financing.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 3 million would allow this theme to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. No more than one action will be funded.
Investments in R&D&I are essential for reinforcing Europe's industrial competitiveness and leadership in photonic market sectors where Europe is strong (e.g. in communications, medical photonics, sensing) and to seize new opportunities. Europe also needs to strengthen its manufacturing base in photonics to safeguard the further potential for innovation and value creation and for job creation. We must better exploit the large enabling potential of photonics in many industrial sectors and in solutions addressing major societal challenges such as health and well-being, energy efficiency or safety. Finally, Europe needs to better exploit the innovation capacity of the photonics SMEs and the innovation leverage potential of the innovation clusters and national platforms.
Proposals should describe how the proposed work will contribute to the listed corresponding expected impacts and should provide metrics, the baseline and concrete targets.
a. Research and Innovation Actions
i. Agile Petabit/s Optical Core and Metro Networks
- next generation agile, high-capacity and energy efficient core and metro networks to support the highly connected and communicating society;
- Secured industrial leadership in optical communications systems for core and metro networks and reinforcing the full value chain in Europe.
ii. Photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology
- Industrial volume manufacturing in Europe of PICs with significant competitive advantages in cost/performance and with reduced development costs;
- New or significantly enhanced integration technology platforms for a more competitive European photonic industry.
iii. Disruptive approaches to optical manufacturing by 2 and 3 D opto-structuring
- Technology leadership in optical manufacturing of 2 and 3 D opto-structuring;
- Emergence of innovative optical components or material for specific applications.
b. Innovation Actions
i. An Innovation Incubator for SMEs
- Broader and faster take-up of photonics in innovative products, in particular by SMEs.
ii.1. Biophotonics: imaging systems for in-depth disease diagnosis
- Substantially improved and wider deployed in-depth diagnosis, and more effective treatment of age and life-style related diseases;
- increased market presence in the Diagnostic and Analysis Imaging Systems and increased European competitiveness of the medical equipment industry.
ii.2. Sensing for process and product monitoring and analysis
- Increased process monitoring efficiency in the food and pharmaceutical industries and reduction of waste along the logistic food and drugs chain;
- Increased competitiveness of the European process and product monitoring equipment industry.
c. Coordination and Support actions
- Reinforced value chains and deployment of photonics technologies by stronger cooperation of photonics stakeholders, clusters and end-users;
- Increased competitiveness of the European photonics sector and improved access to risk finance for the photonics sector in Europe.