Electronic and Photonic components, and the Software that defines how they work, are Key Digital Technologies underpinning all digital systems, including Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things.

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The keys to our digital future

Electronic and Photonic components, and the Software that defines how they work, are Key Digital Technologies underpinning all digital systems, including Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things.

European funding from 2014 to 2020

The European Commission is investing in research, innovation and deployment:

  • EUR 12 billion
  • >250 projects
  • ~6 000 experts
  • 2 900 participant entities
  • 50% private companies & 30% SMEs

This investment is supporting strategic electronics value chains and will continue to do so for a sustainable, sovereign and competitive Europe.

The Commission is also joining forces with national authorities and industry in partnerships to:

  • align strategies
  • achieve critical mass
  • gain efficiency
  • trigger investment

Image showing logos of partners: IPCEI on microelectronics, European Processor Initiative, ECSEL Joint Undertaking (Electronic components and systems for European leadership), Photonics 21

Electronic components and systems

By investing in electronic components and systems:

  • Nanoelectronics
  • Bioelectronics
  • Integrated smart and multi-sensing systems
  • Flexible, printed & wearable electronics

the Commission promotes an essential enabler of the entire electronics value chain and strengthens the European industry

European electronics can support research and innovation, provide key components to be used across industries and support investing in advanced manufacturing.

In 2018, the value of semiconductors in electronics systems reached 31.4%.

Photonics: the science and technology of light

Green, low-energy photonics is becoming the foundation of our digital future. Its multiple benefits range from fighting climate change to enabling better health for everybody.

Icons illustrating where photonics can be applied: lasers & lithography, health diagnosis & treatment techniques, defence & security devices, emerging lighting & displays, photovoltaics & other light harvesting techniques, sensing & measurement technology

The European Commission has steadily invested in photonics with long-term commitment through a public private partnership. More than 100 Research and Innovation projects have been founded, including several EU prototyping and manufacturing pilot lines.

A bright future ahead...

  • Only a fraction of potential benefits from light technologies have been unlocked to date
  • European Photonics production is steadily growing, with a compound annual growth rate of 5% over 2005 to 2015
  • The industry is committed to invest EUR 100 billion in Research and Innovation (about 10% of revenues) in the next 7 years

Cyber-physical systems: intersections between the physical and cyber worlds

Value is moving from hardware components and embedded systems (the main brain of the system where software is executed) towards large-scale systems, applications and solutions. This trend is expected to bring a tenfold growth over the next decade.

So, trustworthy, secure, safe, reliable and explainable cyber-physical systems are at the centre of Europe's competitiveness. Cyber-physical systems:

  • make use of traditional European strengths in system engineering to reach smarter systems with reduced complexity
  • support safety-critical systems (e.g. autonomous driving), where value and intelligence are gradually shifting to the edge, i.e. devices and computing power that directly control processes
  • exploit Artificial Intelligence for smart systems, and to support software developers

Diagram illustrating that at the core of transport & smart mobility, health & well-being, energy, digital industry and digital life there are: embedded and cyber-physical systems, secure IoT and system of systems, edge computing & embedded artificial intelligence, embedded high performance computing, systems of systems integration platforms for digitalisation and embedded software technologies and software engineering tools.

Moreover, sustainability, energy-efficiency and climate protection are taken into account across the complete electronic system life cycle from design and operation to re-use and recycling.

ECSEL joint undertaking

A unique public-private partnership between the European Commission, national authorities and industry, managing research and innovation for strong and globally competitive electronics components and systems industries in Europe with a total of €4.9 billion investment in 2014-2020, including 10 calls, 64 projects, and more than 2 100 participants.