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RObotics Digital Innovation Network

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - RODIN (RObotics Digital Innovation Network)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2021-04-30

RODIN addresses the CSA called for under DT-ICT-02-2018 b): Robotics – Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH). It addresses the need to support and cooperate with the five Digital Innovation Hub networks under DT-ICT-01-2018 a) to coordinate activities and develop synergy between the four Priority Area DIH networks thereby creating a network of networks.

RODIN aims at facilitating and simplifying the transmission to SMEs and slightly bigger companies of information concerning FSTP calls launched by the five robotics DIH-IAs (DIH2; Trinity; agROBOfood; RIMA; DIH-HERO).

The overall aim of RODIN is to coordinate activities within the different PAA Innovation Actions and support them by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of their activities, and improve their cross-PAA collaboration.

Main objectives of the project are:
• Dissemination of best practices in the operation of robotics DIH networks;
• Collaboration between the DIH-IA networks;
• The delivery of communication and outreach activities representing the combined output from the DIH-IA networks;
• Assessment of DIH-IA networks on operation and performance and provide feedback to the consortia to improve their operation;
• Coordinate access to platforms, pilots and demonstrators;
• Coordinating and leading the exploration and development of operational strategies to address cross-PAA issues key to the successful implementation of robotics via Working Groups;
• The enabling of industry-led standards development;

RODIN also establishes and manages Working Groups that:
• sets the basis for cooperation with the IAs
• feeds back assessments of their performance and operation to the IAs
• delivers best practice information to the IAs
• develops models of sustainability for robotic DIH networks
In the first and second reporting periods RODIN established a structural cooperation with the five robotics DIHs-IAs mainly via Working Groups, where representatives of all IA projects are involved (WP2) to address activities and themes of common interest.
The following Working Groups were established, each one linked to a specific RODIN Work Package: FSTP (WP2), Outreach & Communication (WP3), Sustainability (WP4), Resilience (WP2).
The output of most WGs is a white paper and, to date, three white papers have been produced and made available to the public on the RODIN website. In addition, an information white paper on the main impacts of Brexit on the running of projects was produced.

Whereas in the first reporting period the work on FSTP was focused on reaching agreements around common definitions applicable across all open calls (“SME and Slightly Bigger” definition; Guide for Applicants: Sections on Ethical impact and Gender Balance; Clarification around the EUR 300k limit as described in the original call for proposals; Cross-Border Dimension), and that work produced an easier and uniformed set of rules to all potential SME applicants, in the second reporting period the focus has shifted towards a more strategic oversight of the FSTP instrument and how this can be better deployed and implemented in the future to support SMEs.

WP3 aims at ensuring a consistent approach to outreach and dissemination across all DIH-IAs. In RP2 an outreach strategy revision was designed, with the aim to offer all DIH-IAs a more sustainable and lasting gateway to opportunities and funding for the European robotics community. The development of the RI4EU brand, via the Outreach and Communication Working Group, not only helps the five DIH-IAs to address their communication needs, but provides also a unique opportunity to tackle the sustainability of the networks beyond the projects lifetime.
Additionally, dedicated workshops and RODIN booths at main robotics community events, such as the European Robotics Forum, did help to reach out to the public, especially SMEs and slightly bigger companies, with useful and clear information on FSTP opportunities.

By revising the initial approach towards strategic development and sustainability, the RODIN consortium worked proactively in the search and definition of a common overarching strategy for robotics DIHs and their networks. The activities of the Summer Camp laid out the foundations for a comprehensive approach towards sustainability.

All Working Groups have a close affinity to the Summer Camp, as existing WG topics are reviewed and refreshed at each Summer Camp and new WGs are identified from the discussion points raised at the Summer Camp.

Within WP1, considerable progress has been made towards creating a shared data model and defining SMART metrics that can be used to assess DIH Network operation.
In the next phase, the RODIN CSA will continue to strengthen cooperation with the five robotics DIH-IAs, in order to maximize its impact by:

- Establishing and framing the relations between the DIH Networks in the five IAs and the new EDIH structure, also tackling the issue of sustainability in the new context of Horizon Europe

- Ensuring all progresses and needs of the DIH-IAs are timely addressed via existing or new Working Groups

- Reinforcing the RI4EU brand and website, to properly showcase the vision of the gateway and ensure a sustainable path beyond the projects lifetime

- Producing a comprehensive report on the future of the FSTP instrument

- Addressing the post-projects sustainability and how to create added value to DIHs and their networks

- Representing the five DIH-IAs at European robotics events, such as ERF

- Organising at least another Summer Camp to synchronise all results and offer a common vision to the five DIH-IAs
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