Fast-tracking European innovations to the global market
An EU-funded project is building bridges between fundamental research in detection and imaging technologies and the world of business. The network it is creating will channel breakthroughs that push the frontiers of science on to the global market.
© nd3000, #198297404, 2018. source: stock.adobe.com
From medical breakthroughs such as MRI and PET scanners to the World Wide Web, innovation 'made in Europe' has the power to transform the way people live. While Europe has been a hotbed of innovation for centuries, today much European innovation takes place by chance in research laboratories and many new ideas and products are slow to arrive on the market.
Now, the pioneering EU-funded ATTRACT project has set itself the challenge of creating a system that brings innovation to the market more quickly and in a sustainable way, meaning the revolutionary businesses of tomorrow will find fertile ground in Europe.
'The key is to create win-win situations so that innovators and businesses work in synergy to grow the ideas of the future,' says ATTRACT project coordinator Pablo Garcia Tello from CERN the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.
Labs and business join forces
ATTRACT is ground-breaking in its approach since it is setting up a co-innovation network between research infrastructures and the private sector from the conception of new ideas rather than simply the finished product. Through this system, Tello hopes to create 'a permanent flow of breakthrough ideas that will not only push the frontiers of knowledge but will also create world-leading products, services and companies, as well as generate jobs'.
The project is focusing on detection and imaging technologies the building blocks of many of tomorrow's big advances such as the Internet of Things, emission-free transport, smart cities, smart healthcare, and resource-efficient agriculture.
For example, cutting-edge detection and imaging technologies could help visually impaired people experience the world more easily, while they could also be used to monitor our changing climate and inform climate change mitigation strategies.
'ATTRACT will support researchers, scientists and experts in industrial processes and business management in capturing the industrial and market value that fundamental science technologies bring to new products and services, and make them ready for the global market,' explains Tello.
In its first phase, ATTRACT opened a call for breakthrough ideas and concepts that could create transformative beneficial changes for society. From the 1 121 ideas submitted, 170 will be chosen and each will be allocated EUR 100 000. The winners will be announced next March.
According to the project website, 58 % of the ideas are related to sensors and 20 % to data-acquisition systems and computing, 17 % to software and integration, and 5 % to front- and back-end electronics. Most projects were submitted by universities or small and medium-sized enterprises in collaboration with major laboratories at either European or national scale.
The chosen projects will have one year to develop their research ideas before presenting their work at a final conference in Brussels in September 2020. The conference will focus on young innovators presenting ideas that could help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.