Communications Networks, Content and Technology

Cyber-physical systems

Cyber-physical systems

Complex Systems & Advanced Computing (Unit A.3)

The goal is to reinforce and expand Europe's leading industrial position in embedded systems and their further development into cyber-physical systems (CPS).  The approach is to develop new system architectures and design and deploy tools that address the complexity, and enable the implementation and exploitation of massive amounts of interconnected ICT devices embedded in physical objects at different locations.  

  • Lay the foundation for the next generation of intelligent connected embedded systems (cyber-physical systems) for Europe's industry and society through more strategic programmes, which strengthen Europe's strengths (embedded systems in auto, aero, etc.), but also broadly open to newly emerging markets (smart environments, new mass consumer markets, …).
  • Stimulating faster and better adoption of European technologies through (1) platform and ecosystem building (2) laying the foundation for a network of European computing system competence centres which connect innovators across value chains.
  • Stimulate better horizontal collaboration between disciplines and constituencies, e.g. CPS, IoT, big data; and take a first step towards establishing European Smart Cities as reference zones for CPS.
  • Strengthen industrial focus and exploitation of project results beyond individual achievements of partners being exploited individually.
  • Better alignment of strategies and delineation between the H2020 work programmes, the Joint Undertaking ECSEL, and other national or Eureka schemes to increase industrial impact and make public funding even more effective.
  • Better and more coordinated use of resources by stimulating pooling of funding for ambitious innovation activities from Horizon 2020,structural funds, and regional/national sources.
  • Expand strategic thinking beyond traditional R&I topics to include strategy development around non-technical issues eventually leading to policy or regulation (e.g. liability for autonomous systems, certification of technologies, security and privacy, responsible innovation, promotion of open standards and open innovation models where appropriate).

The embedded ICT market has an estimated value of more than € 850 billion world-wide. The challenge for Europe is to reinforce and maintain its position of 30% of market supply and to make sure that industry will benefit from the advantages that embedded ICT may bring, in terms of more efficient production processes and innovative products. Therefore, the goal is to reinforce and expand Europe's leading industrial position especially in strongholds like ICT for automotive, aerospace, health and energy.  Future mainstream ICT markets include smart homes, public spaces and cities transport systems, offices and workplaces.Miniaturisation and digitisation of sensors, actuators and control systems make it possible to embed this technology in buildings, cars, factories, and other products, and to connect them to each other. Such cyber-physical systems are able to observe their environment, to interpret the situation and to decide to take certain actions, making the artefacts in which they are embedded smarter. As an example, when an office building has observed there are no people present, the lights may be switched off automatically.The "smart everywhere" vision drives the development, evolution and disruptions across the ICT field from the Internet of Things, smart cities and homes down to nano-electronics. A critical path in future developments will be the "co-design" approach across vertical value chains from nano-electronics and smart integrated systems up to embedded software and cyber-physical systems. It's a challenge for Europe to further develop such design approach, which is essential to uplift our innovation capacity and competitiveness across the economy, and also to address key societal challenges.In addition, the JTI ECSEL is also driving forward the "smart everywhere" vision.

•The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation H2020 (Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013) identifies Cyber Physical Systems as a topic under Challenge 1 and Internet of Things under Challenge 3 in the area "ICT" of the pillar "Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies" of Horizon 2020.)


Full-Time Equivalent: 
WP14-15: 68M€ - under the Horizon 2020 pillar LEIT-ICT (Topics ICT1, ICT 30 (in collaboration with A2 and E1)) and 71M€ to the ECSEL budget - under the Horizon 2020 pillar, from the LEIT-ICT budget

Collaboration with other units: Work in the domain of cyber-physical systems is complementary to the activities addressed by

  • LEIT-ICT-Challenge 3 Future Internet (CNECT E1)
  • LEIT-ICT Challenge 6 Micro- and Nanoelectronics (CNECT A4)
  • LEIT-ICT Challenge 5 Robotics (CNECT A2)
  • LEIT-ICT1, ICT4 (also CNECT A3), ICT2 (CNECT A4)
  • LEIT-FoF1, 9 on CPS for Factories of the Future (also CNECT A3, RTD )

Collaboration is also needed with horizontal units (F2, F3: H2020 strategy and innovation, A5: Administration and Finance).Collaboration with other DGs or agencies:

  • JU ECSEL and the industrial association ARTEMIS-IA  in relation to embedded and CPS large scale federating projects and integrated demonstrations and pilots
  • DG REGIO-G1 (integration of innovation and regional policies – combined use of structural funds and H2020 funds)

European Strategy for R&I on embedded and cyber-physical systems endorsed by the community

  • Bi-annual Work Programmes for CPS and Internet of Things and Connected Smart Objects, coordinated between ECSEL and LEIT ICT
  • High quality R&D&I projects in the above topics addressing challenges identified in the work programme.
  • Bi-annual portfolio analysis with an assessment of impact
  • 2 networks of competence centres helping mid caps companies to experiment with CPS technology
  • Strategy document for R&I on embedded and cyber-physical systems
  • Bi-annual high level CPS and embedded computing strategy event
  • 1 annual event which brings together actors values chains from different clusters and ecosystems in Europe to exchange best practices and discuss collaboration.
  • Communication material on CPS ( 2 project blogs, 1 portfolio blog, 1 press release on DAE, 1 info day, frequent posts on social media, workshops as appropriate).

Timeframe: 2013-2020



Participation patterns of independent experts

Target 50% with industrial background

Participation of SMEs and other industry in the CPS projects

Target Industrial participation higher than 40% in 2014 going up to 50% by 2018, SMEs participation higher than 20% in 2014 going up to 30% by 2018.
Baseline 37% private commercial participation in the embedded systems SO (Stream report 2012)

Quality of the Projects

Target 60% of the projects assessed as having achieved results rated "good", 20% excellent

Number of joint public-private publications

Target (same as other projects in ICT LEIT)
Baseline (same as other projects in ICT LEIT)

Average score of selected proposals in the last two calls

Coverage of the Work Programme text by selected proposals

Target 80% coverage of the themes addressed by the relevant Calls

Meeting targets and deadlines during the evaluation and contracting process

Target 100%
Baseline 100%

Exploitation and value chains

Closing the gap between technological excellence and industrial opportunities including advancement of state of the art and development of industrial value chains and business ecosystems through co-operation between clusters and between industrial suppliers and users.

Timeframe: 2014-2020



Growth and job creation in participating SMEs

Bridging from discovery to market application

TRL (Technology Readiness Level) indicator

Patent applications and patents awarded (lead indicator)

Target Minimum 1 patent filed or start-up founded per 10 Million Euro spent (2018)

DG CONNECT Research Dashboard

Chart URL See the chart

Share of participating firms introducing innovations new to the company or the market

Share of participating SMEs introducing innovations new to the company or the market

Target 25% (2020)
Baseline 15% (12/11/2014)
Current 15% (12/11/2014)

innovation radar results, containing 7 A3 projects

Link to DG CONNECT's Top Level Targets

  • Europe 2020 - 3% of the EU's GDP should be invested in R&D, complemented by a future EU 2020 Headline Innovation Indicator
  • H2020 - By 2020, one third of all Europe's ICT business investment in ICT R&D in the EU should come from companies created within the last two decades