Skip to main content

Research and Innovation Centre on Advanced Industrial Production

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RICAIP (Research and Innovation Centre on Advanced Industrial Production)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2020-11-30

RICAIP, the Research and Innovation Centre on Advanced Industrial Production, is a newly established international distributed research centre in the area of advanced artificial intelligence and industrial robotics. RICAIP is hosted at the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics, and Cybernetics (CIIRC) of the Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU) with direct participation of the project partners (CEITEC BUT - Central European Institute of Technology at the Brno University of Technology, DFKI - German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, and ZeMA - Center for Mechatronics and Automation Technology).

The aim of the RICAIP project is to develop a strong cooperation at international level evolving the concept of Industry 4.0 and addressing current needs, gaps and demands of the industrial sector and society. RICAIP will built the very first multi-site/distributed experimental facility in Europe, representing virtually interconnected testbeds (in Prague, Brno and Saarbrücken) into a common integrated R&D infrastructure. The so called RICAIP Industrial Testbed Core will enable new, smart, safe, sophisticated and geographically distributed operations challenging the current manufacturing concepts and evolving a new paradigm for industrial production.

RICAIP Centre is focusing on the prominent research field of advanced manufacturing with strong scientific impact; boosting the scientific excellence and innovation potential (with attention of less developed partners); promoting interdisciplinary research and collaboration with non-technical fields to tackle the societal challenges reflecting gender imbalance in technical fields and changing paradigm of the work alignment; triggering the positive spill-over effect on the industrial and societal ecosystem; enhancing the priority area of Industry 4.0 and industrial competitiveness through a new quality of collaboration and novel scientific, innovation and business strategies of a distributed testbed facility; addressing highly ranked challenges of the EU economy and society; benefiting from top-level governmental support, traditional intensive relations, and strong social and economic ties between the Czech Republic and Germany. The Centre is driven by the quality and excellence, clear social-economic benefits, longstanding sustainability, sound and autonomous management and trust.

RICAIP project has an impact on academia (in terms of research excellence, education, internationalisation and visibility), industry (innovation potential, global value chains and networks, competitiveness) as well as society itself (new job opportunities, gender and ethical dimension of research, public engagement, etc.). RICAIP will also enable strengthened access to creativity, to development of new approaches and research avenues as well as mobility opportunities via mutually beneficial actions with the specific expertise of each partner in the consortium.
The RICAIP project was officially launched on September 24, 2019 by a symbolic signature ceremony of the Teaming projects during the Research and Innovation Days in Brussels. The RICAIP Kick off meeting followed on September 26, 2019 at CIIRC CTU in Prague.
The upgraded and approved Statutes of CIIRC CTU and other high-level RICAIP documents came into force (such as PCA, Grant Agreement, Appointment of the Executive Board members). RICAIP was established as a new autonomous centre at CIIRC CTU within the Organisational structure of CIIRC.

The first fifteen months of the RICAIP implementation were focused mainly on the Centre institutionalisation and on setting up administration and support functions of RICAIP. The call for the position of the RICAIP Director was announced and after the selection procedure, the RICAIP Director (dr. Tilman Becker) was recruited. Also, the tenure track policy was defined and established at CIIRC CTU. Thanks to additional funding it was possible to recruit together 4 tenure track position holders, namely assoc. prof. Torsten Sattler, Dr. Tomáš Mikolov, Dr. Mikoláš Janota and Dr. Martin Suda.

The RICAIP Responsible Research and Innovation Strategy was prepared to incorporate essential aspects as participatory research and innovation, gender and ethics awareness, transparency and public accountability, and formal and informal science education to RICAIP structure. The strategy for RICAIP to enter the national ESFRI Roadmaps was prepared. Following the RICAIP EU Roadmap strategy the proposal for RICAIP to enter the Czech national roadmap of Large Research Infrastructures was prepared and submitted to the Czech Ministry. Moreover, all RICAIP partners were successful with their national proposals for the European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) in the first stage and have reached the national shortlists in the EDIH call. CIIRC CTU, as EIT Manufacturing Hub for the Czech Republic, is also implementing the series of innovation projects aimed at developing innovative products and services for SMEs in manufacturing.

The Mobility programme with plans for short-term internships of researchers as well as visits of foreign experts was defined. The influence of COVID pandemic on the possible changes in planned mobility exchanges was also considered. The RICAIP Grant Lab strategy was established to secure additional competitive public and private funds for RICAIP sustainability and further development. Comprehensive Dissemination strategy was defined. The corporate identity of RICAIP was defined within the Communication strategy. The Exploitation Plan was defined identifying the main target groups, possible exploitable results and planned their sharing with stakeholders.
RICAIP enables a strong interdisciplinary, integration-oriented, and pro-growth approach, gathering the critical amount of international excellence, research capacities, and allowing a new quality of research in the field of Industry 4.0. The Tenure track policy was established within RICAIP as a pilot at CIIRC CTU enabling significant system innovation and strategy how to attract promising young researchers to work in the fields of AI and industrial robotics. Also, RICAIP has started a successful collaboration with the Technical University of Ostrav and agreed on extension of the RICAIP Industrial Testbed Core by their Testbed.

The RICAIP project follows the national strategic priorities of both participating countries, and provides benefits to academia and industry as well as society. The impact of the project is continuously monitored via well-grounded system of key performance indicators related to RICAIP performance and visibility.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected several activities in RICAIP esp. regarding travels and C&D activities (events, workshops, etc.). On the other hand, RICAIP researchers immediately reflected the situation and used the infrastructure to help in the fight against COVID. The research team of Prague Testbed reacted on shortage of highly protective equipment to healthcare professionals treating patients with COVID-19 disease in the Czech Republic, and within just one week in March 2020 developed a 3D printable protective half-mask using the RICAIP supported facility.
RICAIP Opening Ceremony – Steering Committee of RICAIP
Recruitment of the RICAIP Director, Dr. Becker (m), Dr. Velek (l), prof. Marik (r)
RICAIP consortium partners at the Kick-off meeting
Prague site of the RICAIP Industrial Testbed Core facility