Communications Networks, Content and Technology
European Commission Directorate General

Robotics: Current Research and Innovation Projects

Robotics: Current Research and Innovation Projects

Robotics (Unit A.2)

Our vision is to secure EU academic and industrial leadership in robotics - a high growth global market, in particular in those market sectors where the European robotics industry is particularly strong (industrial robotics and professional service robotics) and in markets with high growth potential (domestic service robotics).


Our Priority is supporting and funding research in robotics & cognitive systems in FP7: Defining the priorities for robotics and cognitive systems in the FP7 ICT 2013 Work Programmes, implementing the relevant calls for proposals and managing the Unit's portfolio of on-going research and innovation projects. This consists of 95+ running R&D projects.


Academic research is strong in Europe but there is a large gap between industrial development and needs and academic research. Cooperation between industry and academia is often local and does not take fully advantage of the expertise in other parts of Europe.Europe has a clear strength in industrial and professional service robotics that needs to be maintained amidst increasing global competition. It is lagging behind in consumer service robotics.Research in Europe is still very fragmented, Europe needs to pool its research and innovation effort to ensure leadership in industrial and service robotics in the next 10 to 15 years.There are still many challenging unsolved scientific and technological problems which are preventing a broader adoption of robotics technologies and the deployment of artificial cognitive systems. These problems can be only solved by sustained support of fundamental research in robotics and cognitive systems.


Full-Time Equivalent: 
14.20 full-time equivalent (FTE)
At least 75 M€ from the ICT 2013 Work Programme under Challenge 2; the portfolio of robotics projects worth 501 M€ from the period 2007-2012 from ICT FP7.

A2 unit's personnel (more than 75% of available FTE) allocated to this priority in 2013; will gradually decrease in 2014.The Strategic Research Agenda for robotics in Europe prepared by the EUROP – the Robotics European Technology Platform; dedicated information days and participation in conferences and other events for promoting the 2013 Work Programmes. Project reviews and project deliverable reports; best practice activities and success stories.


Excellent Reserach in Robotics and Cognitive Systems

Creating scientific foundations of enabling technologies – metrics to use include number of publications in high-impact journals, number of papers accepted in top conferences, e.g. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) etc.

Timeframe: 2013



number of publications in high-impact journals, number of papers accepted in top conferences

Baseline None

Robotics in ICT Work Progreamme 2013

ICT WP 2013 [broad mobilisation of the top research institutions and the industrial constituency through their participation in the calls – metrics to use comprise: share of industrial participation (large industry and SMEs), the number of end-users, the involvement of regional robotics clusters (through organisations and researchers from these clusters); quality of the R&D objectives – metrics to use comprise: feedback from constituency during preproposal checks, number of out of scope proposals received).

Timeframe: 2013



Share of projects selected for funding including an industrial partner

Target 50% (2013)

Distribution of participation in the robotics R&D in ICT in FP7

Target 25% industry participants (2013)
Baseline 85% academic and 15 % industry participants

High Quality R&D Proposals Submitted and R&D Projects Launched

High quality R&D proposals submitted and R&D projects launched [quality of R&D proposals; coverage of the WP text and of the value chain; participation of SMEs and user communities, feedback from project reviews, number of PhDs involved;

Timeframe: 2013



Average marks of projects selected in the last two calls


What is our responsibility in reaching the expected impact?

  • Higher and more coordinated investments in robotics and cognitive systems research and in knowledge generation for further improving the S&T base in the field;
  • Providing competitive advantages to European industry by opening potential new markets in the emerging service robot sector;
  • The emergence of new robotics technologies and processes from new or running R&D projects and of service robotics solutions combining many different functionalities/devices from new or running R&D projects and successful technology transfer of innovative technology and services.

Timeframe: 2017



Patents files

Target 12 (2013)

Technology transfers

Target 5 (2017)

A competitive industrial robotics industry

A competitive industrial robotics industry with a market share that is in line with the size of Europe's economy in the world, world class academic research and wider and better use of robotics across industrial sectors (including SMEs) and to address key societal challenges.

Timeframe: 2017



World market share in consumer service robotics

Target 20 % (2020)
Baseline 16% in 2011

World market share in the professional service market for robot applications

Target 50 % (2015)
Baseline 50% in 2011

World market share in industrial robotics

Target 25 % (2015)
Baseline 25% in 2011

Link to DG CONNECT's Top Level Targets

  • Europe 2020 - 75% of the population aged 20-64 should be employed Europe 2020
  • Europe 2020 - 3% of the EU's GDP should be invested in R&D, complemented by a future EU 2020 Headline Innovation Indicator
  • Europe 2020 - Poverty should be reduced by lifting at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty or social exclusion
  • 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