Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Consultation for new FET Proactive topics


Do you have a great idea for a new technology that is not possible yet? Could it become real if Europe's best minds were put on the task? Share your view and the European Commission can make it happen via the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme.

The consultation closed on 30 June 2014.

We thank you for your participation and the nearly 500 contributions received. Please read the results and the work in progress for the identification of potential candidate topics for FET Proactive.

The aim of the public consultation launched was to identify promising and potentially game-changing directions for future research in any technological domain.

The consultation was organised as a series of discussions, in which contributors can suggest ideas for a new FET Proactive initiative or discuss the 9 research topics identified in the previous consultation to determine whether they are still relevant today:

Search in discussions

Global Systems Science – how can science support policy making on global challenges?

GSS addresses new ways of supporting policy decision making on globally interconnected challenges such as urbanism and migration, environmental issues and climate change, financial crises, or containment of pandemics.

Quantum technologies – how to make quantum technologies a reality?

Technologies that exploit quantum phenomena like superposition and entanglement will be a radical departure from current technologies. Several promising directions are now well known, for instance in computation, communication, security, metrology, sensing, simulation and material science. Europe has the scientific lead in many of these, and some European companies were first to market with some concrete applications of quantum technologies (quantum key distribution in particular).

Nano-optomechanical technologies – how to exploit light-matter interactions at the nanoscale?

The various interactions between light and the dynamical (oscillatory) states of matter are beginning to be understood, for instance from research in cavity optodynamics, and have been delivering a lot of basic science results, both in the classical and in the quantum regime (e.g. for realising a quantum ground state through optomechanical cooling). This initiatives asks the question what we can do with all this? What are the technological implications of all this?

Knowing, doing and being – how to explore the fundamental concepts of knowledge?

Technologists are often naïve when appropriating themselves of topics that have been studied for ages in other disciplines. Knowledge is an important case in point.

New possibilities at the nano-bio-chem interface – how to combine nanotech, biology and chemistry into new technological possibilities?

This explores new possibilities at the intersection of nanotechnology, (cell-)biology, chemistry and information science. This can be aimed at new tools and techniques for advancing research (e.g., in neuroscience or biology), at the conception of novel systems and materials (e.g., synthetic or hybrid ones) or at applications for new implants, drug delivery, generative medicine.

Ecological technology – how to reduce or eliminate the environmental impact of technologies?

The aim is to explore new ways of avoiding overall environmental impact of technologies (and of ubiquitous ICT in particular), going beyond incrementally reducing impacts along a single dimension (like energy consumption) but rather seeking holistic paradigms for future zero-impact mass-consumed IT.

Bottom-up intelligent construction – how to make objects grow or self-assemble?

This initiative aims to explore techniques and methodologies for bottom-up design, manufacturing, and construction of materials and artefacts at various size scales, ranging from very small (molecular, cellular) to very large (meso and macro scales). The long term goal is to achieve growth or self-assembly of such artefacts, possibly in a scale-invariant way.

Constructive symbiosis – how can hybrid artificial-natural systems be exploited?

This initiative wants to go beyond inspiration from nature and bio-mimicry and seeks to explore hybrid artificial-natural systems in which the nature and complexity of interactions can be considered to be a kind of mutualistic symbiosis as it is found in nature. Projects would thus combine concepts and knowledge from different disciplines for creating a constructive ('win-win') symbiosis between the artificial and the natural, in a systemic way.

Ideas for new topics - what's new that isn't in the other 9 topics?

What topic involving novel collaborations between scientists and engineers has made new technologies possible? Why are these technologies important? Specific ideas for a project should not be submitted. What is needed are general ideas that could launch a new research community of scientists and engineers who would work together to reach a common goal.

Time for time – how can concepts of time from different disciplines contribute to technology?

We seek to explore multiple notions of time and the new technological possibilities that they inspire. Many disciplines are concerned with time –physics of course, but also history, geology, zoology, biology, chemistry, philosophy, psychology, epistemology, computer science, mathematics, neuroscience, literature, media and the arts. There are as many different motivations and methodologies to study and use time – often at vastly different scales and levels of interpretation.
Future & Emerging Technologies (FET) newsletter
Group managers
Aymard DE TOUZALIN European Commission Future and Emerging Technology Unit Deputy Head of Unit
Walter VAN DE VELDE European Commission Future and Emerging Technologies Scientific Officer and FET Strategy
Beatrice MARQUEZ-GARRIDO European Commission Future & Emerging Technologies Unit Project Officer
Group Participants