Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Action 130: Focus and develop the photonics, robotics and Future Internet Public Private Partnership (PPP) – New PPP on High Performance Computing

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PPP in Photonics

What is the problem?

Photonics is a Key Enabling Technology (KET) for Europe - see COM(2009) 512. It is a fast-growing business sector, experiencing 8-10% growth per annum, with a global market of 300 billion in 2008 projected to be close to €500 billion by 2015. Europe is in a strong position with a market share of €62 billion, which represents around 20% of the global market. In several key areas, such as communications, lighting, or laser manufacturing, Europe leads with a market share of 20% to 40%. In the next years, major growth is expected in many photonics related application areas such as lighting, medical technologies and life sciences, laser-based manufacturing and optical communications.

In all these areas, the European photonics industry is facing fierce competition from other regions of the world, in particular from the Far East (China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan), where substantial financial resources are being invested in photonics. Major further S&T progress and R&I investments are required for sustaining Europe's industrial competitiveness and leadership in photonics market sectors where Europe is strong or where new market opportunities for Europe clearly arise. Europe needs also to transform its technology leadership into competitive market positioning via a number of innovation initiatives and integrating activities across the value chain that help bridge the "valley of death" (i.e., the transition from advanced research prototypes to marketable products), accelerate deployment of photonics technologies in many industry sectors and facilitate the emergence of new business ecosystems.

Why is EU action required?

Establishing a PPP in photonics under Horizon 2020 will help secure Europe's industrial leadership and economic growth in the sector by providing a long-term investment commitment by both industry and the European Commission. In particular, the PPP will: (i) help increase the level of industrial commitment to invest in photonics in Europe; (ii) strengthen industrial leadership all along the value chain by promoting wide scale cooperation and greater integration across the whole R&I value chain (from advanced materials through equipment and devices to manufacturing and to products and services, and from advanced RTD to pilot lines and to the markets) and in related business ecosystems; (iii) act as catalyser for enhancing synergies between EU-photonics initiatives and regional photonics strategies, by strengthening support to cross-collaboration between Photonics Innovation Clusters and with their respective regional industry and public authorities (smart specialisation); and, (iv) create the right conditions for accelerating Europe’s innovation process and time to market in a number of market sectors where European photonics industry is particularly strong (e.g. communications, lighting, medical photonics, laser-based manufacturing, safety and security). No individual European country has the required multi-disciplinary capability and can act at such level and scale of excellence.

What has the Commission done so far?

In its proposal for Horizon 2020 Regulation (COM(2011)811) and in its latest Communication on KETs (COM(2012)341), the Commission has announced its intentions to create a contractual PPP in photonics. The photonics Unit of DG Connect is now preparing the PPP in cooperation with the photonics stakeholders (the Photonics21 European Technology Platform, the regional photonics innovation clusters, end-users, etc.) and the Member States. The preparations focus on the development of the strategic roadmap of the PPP describing its vision, the research and innovation content, the expected impact, the nature and extent of the industry's commitments and the leverage effect of the PPP on future initiatives, and key performance indicators for monitoring the progress in the PPP's objectives.

What will the Commission do?

On 10 July 2013, the Commission published a new Communication COM(2013)494 indicating how the engagement of industry in Horizon 2020 can be strengthened, notably through the establishment of contractual PPPs, including the photonics PPP. Before that, i.e., by end May 2013, the photonics private sector will submit their proposal to the Commission for the establishment of the PPP. The Commission will evaluate this proposal on the basis of the criteria set out in the Horizon 2020 Regulation. In case of a positive evaluation, the results of which will be made publicly available, a contractual arrangement will be concluded between the Commission and the private partners, on the basis of a Commission Decision. The PPP will then be implemented under Horizon 2020 and its annual work programmes.

Contact: Thomas.Skordas@ec.europa.eu and Ronan.Burgess@ec.europa.eu

PPP in Robotics

What is the problem?

The importance of robotics today comes from its expanding market size and application areas and from its strong impact on the competitiveness of the EU main industries. Large sectors including automotive, agro-food or microelectronics, representing more than 20 % of the EU GDP, employing 25% of the workforce  and accounting for 80% of private R&D spending, would have quite simply disappeared from higher-wage regions such as Europe without intensive use of robotics. According to a recent study, one million industrial robots currently in operation have been directly responsible for the creation of close to three million jobs.

The potential of robotics goes today far beyond the factory. The domestic services robot market grew by 26% in 2010, and its growth is expected to accelerate to over 60% in the coming years. The professional service robotics market is also forecast to grow by 60% in the next years. The biggest growth is expected in rescue, security and professional cleaning applications. By 2020, service robotics could reach a market volume of more than 100 B€/year.

In industrial robotics, European robot manufacturers have a market share of about 25% in newly sold systems. European suppliers of professional service robots have around 50 % of world market share. Although Europe is still competitive in high-end home appliances and robotics, these industries have not fully embraced robotics technology yet: Europe supplies only around 10% of the domestic service robots market.

The main challenge will be to prepare the European robotics industry for the challenges of the future and seize the opportunities opening up in service robotics. Also, Europe's manufacturing industry needs a strong European robotics community, given the importance of this technology for keeping production costs under control. Moreover, manufacturing SMEs and new application domains such as agriculture can benefit from robotics technology, but the technology needs to be adapted to the specific needs of these users.

The importance of robotics is recognised world-wide and new ambitious R&I initiatives have been launched recently across the globe from the US to Korea and Japan. The EU investment in robotics in FP7 is one of the largest in the world but the European effort all together is still fragmented (Members States, EU, various private sectors etc.).

Why is EU action required?

Establishing a PPP in Robotics under Horizon 2020 will help secure Europe's industrial leadership and economic growth in the sector by providing a long-term investment commitment by both industry and the European Commission. In particular, the PPP will: (i) help increase the level of industrial commitment to invest in robotics in Europe; (ii) strengthen industrial leadership all along the value chain by promoting wide scale cooperation and greater integration across the whole R&I value chain; (iii) act as catalyser for enhancing synergies between EU-robotics initiatives and national robotics strategies and (iv) create the right conditions for accelerating Europe’s innovation process and time to market. No individual European country has the required multi-disciplinary capability and can act at such level and scale of excellence.

What has the Commission done so far?

In its proposal for Horizon 2020 Regulation (COM(2011)811) and in its latest Communication on Industrial Policy (COM(2012) 582 final), the Commission has announced its intentions to create a contractual PPP in Robotics. The Robotics Unit of DG CONNECT is now preparing the PPP in cooperation with the robotics stakeholders (the eurobotics aisbl, end-users, regional clusters, etc.) and the Member States. The focus is currently on the update of the strategic research roadmap describing a vision, the research and innovation content, the expected impact, the nature and extent of the industry's commitments and the leverage effect of the PPP on future initiatives, and key performance indicators for monitoring the progress in the PPP's objectives. Furthermore, the administrative side of the PPP in Robotics is being set up at the moment.

What will the Commission do?

On 10 July 2013, the Commission published a new Communication COM(2013)494 indicating how the engagement of industry in Horizon 2020 can be strengthened, notably through the establishment of contractual PPPs, including the PPP in Robotics. Before that, i.e., by end May 2013, the private side of the PPP in Robotics will submit their proposal to the Commission for the establishment of the PPP. The Commission will evaluate this proposal on the basis of the criteria set out in the Horizon 2020 Regulation. In case of a positive evaluation, the results of which will be made publicly available, a contractual arrangement will be concluded between the Commission and the private partners, on the basis of a Commission Decision. The PPP will then be implemented under Horizon 2020 and its annual work programmes.

Contact: Libor.Kral@ec.europa.eu and Bjoern.Juretzki@ec.europa.eu

Future Internet PPP (Advanced 5G network infrastructure for Future Internet)

What is the problem?

The skyrocketing usage of Internet applications and of mobile usages is putting high constraints in the underlying network technologies and architectures. This drives in turn requirement towards the development of new classes of networks with capabilities to lower opex and capex, to support a 1000 fold traffic increase by 2020, to support new classes of application like the Internet of Things, cloud based applications and to seamlessly integrate very high capacity fixed and mobile accesses. These issues are subjects of ambitious research programmes globally, in view of defining the next generation of network infrastructures.

European network industries have multiple assets to value on a global market of €300 Billion for equipment and of more than €1000 Billion for services. The European industry controls about 25-30% of these markets. European actors are though experiencing fierce competition from global actors, which benefit from substantial research programme investments in an industrial sector considered as strategic in both developed and emerging economies.

As was done with previous generation of networks, Europe should retain global leadership and presence on the market of advanced network technologies and systems, in particular through driving the architecture and the possibly deriving standards. Next generation of networks are also expected to be more open to application developers and to become genuine "infrastructures for innovation". This will in turn create opportunities for smaller companies to enter the ecosystems of networked applications. This requires a new approach to constituency building, more open to software developers and researches with skills in distributed computing, with a more holistic approach towards industrial and research centres collaborations. Major further S&T progress and R&I investments are thus required for sustaining Europe's industrial competitiveness and leadership in this critical domain, which requires heavy investments. As outlined in a JRC report, the telecom domain is one of the most ICT research intensive field, that come second only to the component sector.

Why is EU action required?

Whilst the network research domain is already very well structured in Europe, a PPP in this domain leveraging the important structuring efforts of the Net!Works European Technology Platform will bring increased research coherence and raise impact one step higher. The PPP will provide the following added value: i) economies of scale and of scope at EU level through a focus on a clear industrial vision outlined in a structured research roadmap. It will minimise fragmentation of efforts through support of a well-structured set of complementary projects, engineered with a programme logic rather than being implemented through a set of multiple scattered projects; ii) support the emergence of a new class of network infrastructure standards. Europe has so far played a driving role for the definition of network standards, especially in the wireless domain. This initiative will clearly, harness efforts in this domain which is naturally an EU wide ambition, through a concrete case; iii) federate Member States investments in this domain and avoid national fragmentation (multiple announcements of national support initiatives in this domain), which will also leverage at EU level MS investments; iv) boost innovation through a multi-stakeholder approach combined with EU wide availability of test-beds and experimental facilities brings an EU wide perspective to exploitation of results and incubation of IPR's in multiple research centres or academic institutions; v) provide a powerful vehicle for international co-operation with selected international partners as the issue is global by nature, and already in progress in Asia and in the US.

What has the Commission done so far?

In its proposal for Horizon 2020 Regulation (COM(2011)811) the Commission has opened the possibility to support a contractual PPP in relation to Future Internet. Whilst a current PPP on Future Internet has already been put in place under FP7, the currently running initiative supports primarily service and application platforms as innovation accelerator. Subsequent discussions with stakeholders and other related international developments have suggested that this initiative needs to be complemented by a bold industrial initiative on the underlying network. At the Mobile World Congress of Barcelona in February 2013, Commissioner Kroes has publicly called industry to federate its views on next generation of networking platforms for the beyond 2020 era, and to define a partnership initiative in this field. DG Connect services are now preparing the PPP in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders, with a kernel of stakeholders originating from (but not limited to) the Net!Works ETP.

The preparations focus on the development of the strategic roadmap of the PPP describing its vision, the research and innovation content, the expected impact, the nature and extent of the industry's commitments and the leverage effect of the PPP on future initiatives, and key performance indicators for monitoring the progress in the PPP's objectives. Steps have been taken to already incorporate the financial support to such a cPPP under the first work programme of Horizon 2020, covering the 2014-15 period.

What will the Commission do?

On 10 July 2013, the Commission published a new Communication COM(2013)494 indicating how the engagement of industry in Horizon 2020 can be strengthened, notably through the establishment of contractual PPPs, including a PPP on Future Internet. Before that, the relevant private sector stakeholders will submit their proposal to the Commission for the establishment of the PPP. This proposal will be further exposed at constituencies' events, such as the Future Internet Assembly in Dublin , supported by the Irish Presidency. The Commission will evaluate this proposal on the basis of the criteria set out in the Horizon 2020 Regulation. In case of a positive evaluation, the results of which will be made publicly available, a contractual arrangement will be concluded between the Commission and the private partners, on the basis of a Commission Decision. The PPP will then be implemented under Horizon 2020 and its annual work programmes. In parallel, and in order to satisfy the tight deadline for a PPP implementation, steps are being taken to define the boundaries of the PPP within the H2020 work programme currently under elaboration.

Contact: Bernard.barani@ec.europa.eu and Philippe.lefebvre@ec.europa.eu

New PPP on High Performance Computing

What is the problem?

High Performance Computing (HPC) allows researchers to study and understand complex phenomena, allows policy makers to make better decisions and enables industry to innovate in products and services. HPC is today a critical tool to process large amounts of data and carry out complex computations that are needed to provide better solutions to the increasing number of complex challenges that we face in our modern society. HPC is instrumental to transforming these challenges to innovation and creation of business opportunity, and therefore the growth and jobs that the EU economy desperately needs. Societal, scientific and economic needs are thus the drivers for the next generation of HPC - computing with exascale (Computers capable of performing 10 to the power of 18 floating point operations per second) performance.

The Communication "High Performance Computing: Europe's place in a Global Race" highlights the strategic nature of HPC as a crucial asset for the EU's innovation capacity and outlines a strategy to ensure European leadership in the supply and use of HPC systems and services by 2020.

The significant and radical technological advances required to reach exascale performance give Europe an opportunity to change the balance of trade in HPC technologies. European HPC stakeholders believe that with a differentiated strategy, and sufficient investment and collective political will, Europe can be a global player in HPC.

Why is EU action required?

Establishing a PPP in HPC under Horizon 2020 will help ensure European leadership in the supply and use of HPC systems and services by 2020 by implementing a Europe-wide strategy with a long-term investment commitment by both industry and the European Commission. Implementation needs to combine all three pillars of the strategy: (a) developing the next generation of HPC technologies, applications and systems towards exascale; (b) providing access to the best supercomputing facilities and services for both industry including SMEs and academia; and (c) achieving excellence in HPC application delivery and use; these pillars should be complemented with awareness raising, training, education and skills development in HPC.

The development of HPC has long been a national affair for the large Member States. In recent years, however, the increasing importance of HPC for researchers and industry, the need for a rich and varied HPC eco-system to satisfy the users' needs, as well as the exponential rise in the investments required to stay competitive at world level, have led to a common understanding that "Europeanisation" of this policy domain would benefit everyone (both small and large Member States).

Furthermore, no single European country has all the technological know-how and suppliers that are needed to produce a complete state of the art HPC system (hardware and software). Cooperation is a necessity; in particular for medium and small Member States, which find difficulties in creating self-sufficient national HPC infrastructures, but can valuably contribute to and benefit from an EU-level HPC eco-system.

What has the Commission done so far?

The e-infrastructure Unit of DG Connect is now preparing a PPP in cooperation with the HPC stakeholders grouped currently in the ETP4HPC European Technology Platform – and PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Research in Europe). The preparations focus on the development of the strategic roadmap of the PPP describing its vision, the research and innovation content, the expected impact, the nature and extent of the industry's commitments and the leverage effect of the PPP on future initiatives, and key performance indicators for monitoring the progress in the PPP's objectives.

What will the Commission do?

On 10 July 2013, the Commission published a new Communication COM(2013)494 indicating how the engagement of industry in Horizon 2020 can be strengthened, notably through the establishment of contractual PPPs, including the HPC PPP. Before that, i.e., by end May 2013, the HPC private side will submit their proposal to the Commission for the establishment of the PPP. The Commission will evaluate this proposal on the basis of the criteria set out in the Horizon 2020 Regulation. In case of a positive evaluation, the results of which will be made publicly available, a contractual arrangement will be concluded between the Commission and the private partners, on the basis of a Commission Decision. The PPP will then be implemented under Horizon 2020 and its annual work programmes.

Contact: For the HPC PPP: Leonardo.Flores@ec.europa.eu

 
Progress Report
Status: On track
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