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Centre of Excellence for Autonomous and Cooperative Robotic Systems

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ACROSS (Centre of Excellence for Autonomous and Cooperative Robotic Systems)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-08-31

The overall objective of the ACROSS project is to create a Centre of Excellence for Autonomous and Cooperative Robotic Systems in Croatia (ACROSS CoE). in Croatia, which will be at the forefront of research and innovation of novel methodologies and advanced engineering approaches in the targeted domains. ACROSS CoE will be created and run as a long-term joint venture between University of Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (UNIZG-FER), the leading high educational and R&D institution in the fields of electrical engineering and ICT in Croatia, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) from Sweden, a world leading scientific and innovation institution, and Innovation Centre Nikola Tesla (ICENT).
To ensure achievement of its mission, ACROSS CoE will be established as an autonomous, well-identified structure with full autonomy in decision making and its own premises and infrastructure. It will be rooted in the Croatian research and innovation landscape, yet aiming for the international excellence recognition. To achieve true impact on the Croatian and regional economy ACROSS CoE will aim to integrate with and connect to regional and national innovation centres and business clusters.
Creation of the ACROSS CoE will help Croatia in attaining a competitive position in the global value chains, thus also contributing to Europe’s competitiveness and its ability to address future societal challenges. Besides contributing to Croatia’s R&I performance ACROSS CoE will contribute to the Croatian society as a whole. Croatian society is faced with several major challenges: (i) to maintain or improve the current level of economic development with foreseen reduced workforce, (ii) to maintain a reasonable quality of life for increasing number of elderly and handicapped people, (iii) to protect environment and ensure safety and security of people and goods, (iv) to improve quality of services and save energy in cities etc. To meet these challenges, there is a need for technology enablers of new services and more efficient production methods. ACROSS CoE aims to develop autonomous and cooperative robotic systems that significantly contribute to these challenges. Furthermore, Governmental bodies will be able to use our expertise to improve legislation and to prepare for the technology platforms relating to application areas in Croatia. Finally, ACROSS CoE will contribute to reversing the human capital flight, i.e. the “brain drain”, of Croatian scientists by acting as a bright beacon attracting talented Croatian researchers.
The Teaming Phase 1 of the ACROSS project has fully met its objectives, which were accomplished through four work packages.
Management, coordination and dissemination (WP1) – For the whole duration of the project best practices in project management were applied to ensure that project follows time and budget frame. Project team meetings and workshops were organised: Kick-off meeting, 4 Strategic Committee meetings as well as regular Steering Board, work package and task leaders’ meetings. Numerous meetings with important ACROSS stakeholders from Croatia and abroad were organised, Spin-off Workshop in Stockholm and 3 ACROSS Workshops. ACROSS dissemination and communication activities were also very intensive and diversified: website, logo, flyer, poster, 3 newsletters, frequently organised public presentations and media appearances, etc.
ACROSS Ecosystem assessment (WP2) – This work package allowed for a comprehensive and detailed assessment of the state of the consortium and all the internal and external factors impacting the creation of the future ACROSS CoE. The following factors were reviewed:
• The state of the art and future perspectives in the domain of robotics,
• An assessment of the current state of the ACROSS project partners,
• The updated SWOT analysis of the consortium,
• An assessment of the innovation landscape, and a market and value chain analysis, at the Croatian and EU/global scales,
• An analysis and best practices consolidation,
• The identification of infrastructure and capacity building needs.
ACROSS Roadmaps for achieving excellence (WP3) – Within the scope of this work package a comprehensive and detailed strategy in the form of a set of roadmaps for all critical success factors forming a basis for the creation and successful operation of the future ACROSS CoE was developed. The following roadmaps were delivered:
• Roadmap for long-term scientific and innovation excellence,
• Roadmap for operational and organizational excellence,
• Roadmap for long-term sustainability and financial autonomy,
• Roadmap for long-term contribution to economic development of Croatia,
• Roadmap for strategic positioning into the innovation landscape in Croatia,
• Roadmap for infrastructure development and capacity building,
• Roadmap for long-term partnership.
ACROSS Business Plan (WP4) – The ACROSS business plan, as the main objective of ACROSS Teaming phase 1 project, was prepared in this WP. The plan covers all strategic and operational aspects, namely the description of the business case (context and concept), the strategy, the organisational model, the operational plan and the financial plan. Its business model relies on a mixed-revenue formula mostly focused on research services to industry as well as publicly-funded cooperative research projects.
To quantitatively measure the extent of the expected ACROSS impact to partners and Croatia, the following capacities that project Key Performance and Impact Indicators (KPIIs) target to improve are recognised:
• Innovation capacity addresses the impact on innovation culture and comprises e.g. number of patents, commercialization agreements, innovative products and services, spin-off companies and businesses involved in ACROSS project. This capacity contributes directly to the economic growth of Croatia and Europe as a whole. Innovation capacity in this Phase 1 project was measured through the number of relevant industrial stakeholders involved by means of participation in joint events, meetings, number of agreements, etc. (33 industrial stakeholders have been involved).
• Synergy capacity addresses measurable improvements accomplished through a number of jointly organized events (workshops, round tables, meetings) and invited lectures by experts from relevant organizations and significantly contributes to the synergy with other partners and stakeholders. During this project 8 events and 45 meetings were organised. Also, 5 invited lectures were organised with guest researchers from KTH.
• Outreach capacity addresses measurable improvement by enforcing a larger number of dissemination and communication tools and outreach activities that contribute to the higher visibility of the project to the wider public and relevant stakeholders. In the scope of this project:
– 17 dissemination and communication means were used. These included the production of website, social network pages, 3 newsletters, press releases and various dissemination materials (flyer, roll up);
– 39 institutions from research community, industry, public society and governmental institutions participated in project events;
– >10,000 people were reached through outreach activities. This estimated number is based on social network and online activity, as well as participation in joint events and outreach activities in the public;
– 21 press appearances timed around the most relevant events were organised.