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Innovation in Action

On 2nd of October I took part in a very stimulating event organised by the five Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs): Clean Sky, Innovative Medicines Initiative, Fuel Cells and Hydrogen, ENIAC and ARTEMIS.

This event (called 'Innovation in Action') was timely, as the Council and Parliament are currently discussing the European Commission’s proposals on JTIs under Horizon 2020. The debate, which took place in the European Parliament, focused on how these JTIs have helped to improve Europeans’ quality of life and Europe's competitiveness.

In case you don't know what the "JTIs" are, here is a very short explanation: JTIs are a novel and unique model of public-private partnership (PPP) launched under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) with a combined budget of €10 billion. They do not follow a "one size fits all" approach because of the varied nature of the technological challenges and different type of stakeholder relations.

The participants included MEPS (Maria da Graca Carvalho, Vittorio Prodi, Antonio Correia de Campos), the executive directors of the JTIs, Ms Florence Lefebvre-Joud, Chair of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Scientific Committee and Commission representatives.  The discussions were strategic and covered hemes such as how to increase participation (including of young researchers) and spread excellence, how to assure openness and transparency, which key performance indicators to use, the "economic feasibility" of projects, the achievements of the JTIs so far and what they will bring in the future.

I presented ECSEL (Electronic Components & Systems Initiative), the unique successor of ENIAC and ARTEMIS Joint Technology Initiative (JTIs) and the EPoSS European Technology Platform. Considering the significant achievements of the two JTIs, there are very high expectations of ECSEL. To illustrate past successes, in 2012 both ARTEMIS and ENIAC called for large scale federating projects at a higher Technology Readiness Level  and this call pre-empted what will in reality happen in HORIZON 2020. This resulted (e.g. in ENIAC) in the launch of five manufacturing pilot lines for a total costs of some 750M€. The public funding by the Joint Undertaking and the Member States together is about 200M€ which implies a leverage effect of 3 to 4! These pilots jump started the implementation of the Key Enabling Technologies– and are an essential element in bridging the valley of death, bringing technology development closer to the market.

So ECSEL will be significant. The Commission has put forward a single private public partnership — to cover micro and nanoelectronics, embedded/cyber physical and smart systems – a truly electronic systems approach for growth and jobs. The programme will be easier, faster, more engaging and with more impact.

I was very honoured to have taken part in the event - the significance of the JTIs goes beyond research and innovation it is about our future as echoed by the participants.