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Reporting period: 2016-10-01 to 2017-12-31

Europe is facing major economic challenges that require an ambitious economic policy for the 21st century. The EU set out its vision for Europe's social market economy in the Europe 2020 strategy, which aims at confronting our structural weaknesses through progress in three mutually reinforcing priorities:
• smart growth, based on knowledge and innovation,
• sustainable growth, promoting a more resource efficient, greener and competitive economy,
• inclusive growth, fostering a high employment economy delivering economic, social and territorial cohesion.
MANUNET III, as a continuation of MANUNET II, is aligned with the European priorities and intends to create a smart sustainable growth in the European manufacturing sector by coordinating the research and innovation efforts in the field of advanced manufacturing with a special focus on the key areas of new production processes, adaptive manufacturing systems and technologies for the factory of the future.
The project will also reinforce the territorial cohesion through an extended collaboration network. The consortium, constituted by 8 Member States, 3 Associated Countries and 1 Third Country intends to respond to the actual economic crisis by promoting transnational research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the industrial sector, especially in the SMEs, which are the backbone of Europe's economy.
Through this strategic and integrated approach to innovation in advanced manufacturing, MANUNET III intends to maximise European, national and regional research and innovation potential.
The main activity carried out during the first fifteen months is the implementation of one transnational call with EU top-up funding of up to 33% of the total committed national/regional funding. The EU top-up funding has been used to increase the impact of the network for the benefit of the RTD community by enabling many excellent transnational RTD projects to be funded. During the preproposal phase 126 pre-proposals were received of which 62 were recommended for full proposal phase. After an external evaluation process 40 projects out of the 62 were finally recommended for funding, this can be translated into 64% of success rate from full proposal to recommended phase. As a main result, considering the focus on SMEs that the initiative has, a total of 100 SMEs will be finally funded. 150% more compare to MANUNET Call 2016.
MANUNET III one more time demonstrates that it does fill the gap between purely national or regional projects and larger European projects, making it especially relevant for newcomers to transnational RTD cooperation and SMEs.
Though the Co-fund call has been an important milestone for MANUNET initiative, MANUNET III will continue launching annual calls without EU co-funding mobilizing a critical mass of public funding for Advanced Manufacturing technologies. 4 additional international calls are expected to be launched, ensuring a high cooperation among regions/countries. MANUNET III intends to reach many industrial sectors by increasing participation by 25% with regard to MANUNET II.
With the aim of bringing the research results of funded projects to the market and to society, results will be analysed, and good practices will be promoted.
MANUNET III will continue measuring the impact that its calls have on beneficiaries, with a special focus on SMEs. For this purpose, an impact assessment will be carried out at the end of the project.