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RObotics Digital Innovation Network

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RODIN (RObotics Digital Innovation Network)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2019-09-30

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 to:
• Disseminate best practice in the operation of robotics DIH networks
• Gather information from DIH networks on their composition, service offers, assets and infrastructure relevant to applying robotics in the PAA
• Develop collaboration with and between the DIH networks, developing links to key stakeholders in robotics and technology
• Deliver communication and outreach activities to external stakeholders and policy makers
• Establish a resource to share information with DIH IAs
• Assess the performance of DIH networks and provide feedback to the consortia to improve and enhance their operation
• Coordinate access to, and development of, platforms, pilots and demonstrators
• Enable industry-led standards development
• Assess the access to finance for SMEs and the role DIH networks play in developing synergy between national, regional and European funding mechanisms
• Develop means of extending the networks across Europe
• Develop strategy around the future development of DIHs in robotics

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 reporting period RODIN established a structural dialogue with the five robotics DIHs-IAs and explored areas of cooperation via Working Groups, where representatives of all projects are involved (WP3).
The following Working Groups were established, each one linked to a specific RODIN Work Package: Data (WP1), FSTP (WP2), Outreach (WP4).

A Deliverable on data model for data collection (WP1), prepared and submitted in RP1, will be used for the alignment and structuring of data collection on DIHs and their performance within the DIH-IAs.

Within WP2, which aims at developing common approaches and definitions around FSTP calls, an agreement was reached around the following FSTP topics:
- “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;
- Sharing of calls timeline and IAs info-days on a common and public calendar.
All agreed definitions shall be integrated into all Guide for Applicants across the five DIH-IAs, ensuring all applicants can rely on common set of rules, thus reducing risk of confusion and duplication.

WP4 aims at ensuring a consistent approach to outreach and dissemination across all DIH-IAs. Within RP1, common branding guidelines were developed, info-sheets and flyers were produced to promote synergies across the DIH-IAs.
RODIN is also promoting the work of the DIH-IAs with professional interviews with the project coordinators (to be released in RP2), and ad-hoc workshops at robotics community events, such as the European Robotics Forum.
The overall aim is also to disseminate to the public, especially SMEs and slightly bigger companies, useful and clear information on FSTP opportunities.

WP5 creates an online identity and a web infrastructure for RODIN and acts as a template for the DIH-IAs, encapsulating information and decisions taken in the Working Groups.

WP6 is providing the whole project with an effective and strategic coordination. Within RP1, Data and Quality Management Plans have been developed and submitted to ensure the project adherence to EU laws and GDPR requirements.
In the next phase, the RODIN CSA will strengthen cooperation with the five robotics DIH-IAs, in order to maximize its impact in the following areas:

- Improved Connectivity: through its own portal RODIN will (i) establish a single point of contact that can redirect enquiries to the DIH-IAs in order to find common solutions to shared problems; (ii) it will act as the common access point to the public, in particular SMEs and slightly bigger companies, to get information on FSTP calls and related events. RODIN will also extract the best results from each of the DIH networks providing an overview of success and showcasing the uptake of robotics across Europe, as well as offering a platform to all DIH-IAs at major community events, such as the European Robotics Forum (ERF), to present results and upcoming opportunities.

- Greater Market Awareness: through targeted outreach activities RODIN will create greater awareness of robotics impact and the DIH networks with policy makers and end users. The first edition of the RODIN Summer Camp (1-2 October 2019) helped to structure a shared understanding across all DIH-IAs on how to channel messages and raise general awareness. Other RODIN events are planned in the next reporting period, especially Region Info Days, which will contribute directly to the public discourse as well as raising awareness of the impact of robotics. Additionally, five articles/interviews with the coordinators of the five DIH-IAs will raise the public profile of the selected PAAs, creating strong market awareness.

- Improved DIH Operation: RODIN aims at developing best practices in the delivery of DIHs and DIH networks. Impact will be achieved through training and interaction with the DIH-IAs in the Working Group, which is also the forum for the exchange of best practice and the identification of cross cutting themes and issues. DIH operation will also be improved by feeding back assessments of operation based on monitoring and assessment methods developed in RODIN.

- Strategic Development and Sustainability: RODIN will draw together strategic viewpoints from across the DIH networks creating an overarching future strategy for robotics DIHs and for the priority areas, addressing and collating common concerns and approaches. RODIN will also impact on the methods of assessing DIHs by establishing metrics and criteria that provide indicators of quality and performance. RODIN will also examine the overall access to finance within the DIHs, considering the balance between regional, national and European funding, as well as the approach to standards and engagement with end users, extracting common themes and developing future strategy.
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