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TOPIC : A digital 'plug and produce' online equipment platform for manufacturing (IA)

Topic identifier: DT-NMBP-20-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Digitising and transforming European industry and services (DT)

Types of action: IA-LS Innovation action Lump Sum
Opening date:
28 November 2017
Deadline: 08 March 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

One of Europe’s strengths in manufacturing is its abundance of SME equipment manufacturers with the capability to offer world-class products of highest quality and precision. A further strength is the large number of actors having off-the-shelf prototypes ready for experimentation and for market uptake. To increase their visibility towards global users of equipment and to further support digitisation of manufacturing, industrial online platforms needs to be developed and set up for use on the market.


(a) design and build the digital platform that brings together suppliers and users in a transparent and efficient way; and (b) populate it with adequate product information. This will constitute a set of pilot implementations intended to sell ‘plug and produce’ industrial equipment and services to customers globally. The platform should therefore facilitate B2B transactions and host associated services in the form of digital product models allowing users to simulate (e.g. digitally test) the capabilities of the equipment on offer and its compliance to standards. This will ultimately boost product quality, transparency and usability based on Return on Experience The digital platform should enable all of the following:

  • Transparency of product features, capabilities, resource use, associated add-on services and price;
  • Customer feedback, real-time use feedback (anonymised as needed) and associated options;
  • Scalability with respect to technological development and manufacturing application domains;
  • Information about standards and regulatory compliance (e.g. the facilitation of re- and de-manufacturing) as well as security requirements.

Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) elements should cover issues such as business model/ownership economics and adequate administration. Work should cover in particular user interface aspects to encourage active customer feedback.

Activities under (b) include the incorporation of suppliers or users of the equipment pilots and/or developers of additional applications and services where appropriate. Beneficiaries may provide support to third parties as described in part K of the General Annexes of the Work Programme. The support to third parties can only be provided in the form of lump sums. The respective options of Article 15.1 and Article 15.3 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

Each consortium will define the selection process of the third parties for which financial support will be granted. The typical amount per party shall be in the order of EUR 50 000 to 100 000, as these parties are responsible for achieving the objective of activities under (b).[1] Around one third of the EU funding requested by the proposal shall be allocated to the purpose of financial support to third parties.[2]

Proposals submitted under this topic should include actions designed to facilitate cooperation with other projects; to enhance user involvement; and to ensure the accessibility and reusability of data produced in the course of the project.

Activities should start at TRL 5 and achieve TRL 7 at the end of the project.

This topic is part of the lump sum funding pilot scheme[3]. Funding for grants awarded under this topic will take the form of a fixed lump sum of EUR 7.5 million.

Expected Impact:
  • Deliver a B2B online platform covering at least one key industrial equipment domain and mobilising actors across Europe;
  • Demonstrate the full capability of the platform in one dedicated industrial domain, including associated product services (e.g. digital models enabling functional simulation) and including the services from all third parties selected in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annex;
  • Showcase the platform’s scalability capability (towards all relevant industrial domains) via a reference architecture;
  • Deliver a credible business plan that ensures long-term deployment and profitability, as well as scalability beyond the initial public financing phase;
  • Demonstrate industry-wide support through an inclusive governance structure;
  • Increase market opportunities for the users of the platforms, including SMEs.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Open Innovation
Socio-economic science and humanities

[1]In line with Article 23(7) of the Rules for Participation the amounts referred to in Article 137(1) of the Financial Regulation may be exceeded where it is necessary to achieve the objectives of an action.

[2]It is recommended to also use established networks reaching out to SMEs like the Enterprise Europe Network and the NCP network for calls publications and awareness raising towards SMEs.

[3]Commission Decision on the adoption of a lump sum pilot model grant agreement for multi-beneficiaries Innovation actions and Research and Innovation actions under Horizon 2020.

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme. 


Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme.  
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

The following exceptions apply:

The threshold for the criteria Excellence and Impact will be 4. The overall threshold, applying to the sum of the three individual scores, will be 12.

Under 3 (a) Proposals are first ranked in separate lists according to the topics against which they were submitted (‘topic ranked lists’). When comparing ex aequo proposals from different topics, proposals having a higher position in their respective 'topic ranked list' will be considered to have a higher priority in the overall ranked list.

Under 3 (b) For all topics and types of action, the prioritisation will be done first on the basis of the score for Impact, and then on that for Excellence.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.


5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
Lump Sum MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Lump Sum Methodology
Annotated Grant Agreement


6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply


For grants awarded under this topic eligible costs may take form of a lump sum as defined in the Commission Decisions C(2017)7149 and C(2017)7152

For grants awarded under this topic beneficiaries may provide support to third parties as described in part K of the General Annexes of the Work Programme. The support to third parties can only be provided in the form of grants. The respective options of Article 15.1 and Article 15.3 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
5. Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs) WP 2018-20
5ii. Nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology WP 2018-20

Guidance Note: A digital 'plug and produce' online equipment platform for manufacturing

 General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme



7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


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