The "FET Flagships - Partnering for excellence" event was organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the Estonian Presidency of the EU. It took stock of the work of the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagships for Europe.

VP Ansip receiving a reposrt from Prof Mlynek

At the "FET Flagships - Partnering for excellence" event, the High-Level Steering Committee of the Quantum Technologies Flagship officially handed over their final report to Vice President Andrus Ansip. This report served as basis for defining the Quantum Flagship call published in October 2017, as well as the governance structure and implementation modalities of the Flagship. Furthermore, participants discussed how to grow the FET Flagship partnerships and ensure that they are a key partnering instrument for addressing major science and technology challenges in the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market welcomed this important report:  “The quantum flagship aims to turn Europe's excellent research results into industrial leadership. It should place Europe at the forefront of one of this century's most promising technological developments. Today’s report is our blueprint for combining and coordinating Europe's strengths in this area.

He added: “The success of the FET Flagships lies in the involvement of both academic and industrial partners from the early stages of the process. They should continue to be open and ready to evolve to serve their objectives in the best way, and according to the needs and developments of technologies.

Europe needs such ambitious projects to remain a global science leader, to bring new medical treatments, safer transport, cybersecurity and many more benefits to people. Stepping up investments in research and innovation is essential for the future of Europe“.  (see full speech)

Quantum Flagship Report

The final report was written by a group of 24 experts led by Prof. Mlynek. On the basis of this report, the Commission will start the implementation of the Quantum Flagship.  This will be done through Horizon 2020 research projects, to be launched in 2018, and complemented by a coordination and support action that will ensure coherence of the Flagship was published in October 2017 as part of the Horizon 2020 work-programme for 2018-2020.

Europe has a very strong scientific leadership in Quantum, but still needs to develop an equally strong industry. With the launch of this third FET Flagship, Europe aims to translate our knowledge into technologies in four main quantum areas: measuring and sensing, communication, computer and simulation. The Commission will therefore allocate more than 130M€ of funding next year.

Future Flagships

The input and recommendations received today from the speakers and the panellists will be taken into consideration for the development of the future FET Flagships.

Indeed, the European Commission started preparing new Flagships in 2016 in close cooperation with the Member States. The context for this process has been set by a public consultation and a roundtable hosted by Commissioner Oettinger, as well as key reports such as the Interim Evaluation of FET Flagships and the High Level Group on maximising the impact of EU R&I Programmes. A call for preparatory actions for new Flagships has been included in the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020.

The aim is to select up to six preparatory actions from which, one or two new Flagships could then be selected later on and be launched in the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

Background

Achievements of Flagships so far

Currently there are two FET Flagships running: the Human Brain Project Flagship and the Graphene Flagship. Four years after their launch, they have proven their value as large scale mission-oriented initiatives, stretching the boundaries between science and technology. Flagships aim at converting scientific advances into concrete innovations. Their overarching nature and magnitude (ten years duration and €1 billion budget) implies that they can only be realised through a coordinated and sustained effort at European and national level.

The Human Brain Project is Europe's coordinated reply to one of the biggest scientific challenges of our times: understanding the human brain.  This project will transform neuroscience and accelerate the pace at which fundamental knowledge about the brain is generated, shared and consolidated. With its quest to understand and emulate some of the brain's computational capabilities in artificial systems, the HBP can lead to major developments in computing architectures and robotics.

The Graphene Flagship aims to bring graphene and related two-dimensional materials from lab to fab. By creating lasting academia-industry collaborations, Graphene Flagship has shown how to shorten the cycle from research to innovation. Promising industrial applications of graphene and related two-dimensional materials (for example in optoelectronics, flexible electronics and sensors) have now been put on the industry radar.

Other materials:

Blogpost by Professor Katrin Amunts, Chair of the Science and Infrastructure Board of the Human Brain Project: Katrin Amunts shares her fascination for the human brain

Blogpost by Thomas Skordas, Director Digital excellence and science infrastructure, European Commission: Graphene Flagship, towards a successful research and innovation model

Blogpost by Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market: The race to quantum: taking computing to a new level in Europe

Report on a study on EU research and innovation partnerships commissioned by the Estonian Republic

Graphene Flagship leaflet

Human Brain Project leaflet

Quantum Technologies factsheet