Why the EU supports advanced manufacturing

Importance of the manufacturing industry

The manufacturing industry is a strong asset for the European economy and an important driver of employment and prosperity.

It also plays a key role in research and innovation, being responsible for 64% of private sector research development expenditure and 49% of innovation expenditure in Europe.

The sector accounts for

  • 2 million enterprises (around 1 in 10 of all enterprises in the EU-27’s non-financial business economy)
  • €2,078 billion in gross value added
  • 32.1 million jobs in 2019 in manufacturing in the EU 27 (including 14.5 million jobs in advanced manufacturing)

What is advanced manufacturing?

Advanced manufacturing is the use of knowledge and innovative technology to produce complex products such as aeroplanes and medical devices and improve processes to lower waste, pollution, material consumption and energy use.

Robotics, 3D, and 4D printing, artificial intelligence and high performance computing for modelling are also important elements in advanced manufacturing.

Advanced manufacturing faces 2 important challenges

  • digitisation
  • the shift towards more environmentally sustainable production

Hubs for circularity (H4C)

Hubs for circularity (H4C) are state-of-the-art demonstrator plants of near commercial size.

They aim to achieve a leap forward towards towards circularity and carbon neutrality in the use of resources (feedstock, energy and water) in a profitable way.

H4Cs have strong technological focus and industrial dimension, but their implementation leverages elements well beyond research and innovation.

Specific implementation (including funding) strategies will be designed, ensuring the participation of all stakeholders (industry, SMEs, local authorities, educational institutions and civil society).

Showing the strong ambition to create a new level of synergies with regions and regional funds, they represent a key element of the road map of the Processes for Planet partnership (P4P) under Horizon Europe.

They will support the zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment and the circularity action plan announced in the European Green Deal.

Commission has launched a call on Hubs for Circularity European Community of Practice (ECoP) platform with a deadline at 23 September 2021.

There was an online workshop on H4Cs in April 2021.

For further questions, please contact us.

Public-Private Partnerships

Public-private partnerships between industry and the European Commission helps tackle societal and environmental challenges.

They have a strategic importance for the European industry, having an impact on its global technical lead, as well as on the economic growth and creation of new high-skilled jobs in Europe.

Made in Europe

Made in Europe is the successor to the Factories of the Future Partnership. The European Factories of the Future Research Association (EFFRA) represents the private side in the partnership.

The 2030 vision for this sector is to reinforce the global position Europe’s manufacturing industry in terms of competitiveness, productivity, and technology leadership.

The partnership’s budget of €1.8 million will seek to increase the number and attractiveness of jobs, while securing the environmental, economic and social sustainability for future generations in Europe and meeting the European Green Deal targets.

Europe’s manufacturing industry is strong in advanced manufacturing technologies, with the highest share of world patent applications and the highest number of venture capitalist backed firms.

With 28.5 million people employed in almost 2 million enterprises, out of which 99.2% are SMEs, EU27 has 22% of the world’s manufacturing output, yielding a trade surplus in manufactured goods of €421 billion annually.

Deploying new green and digital technologies is necessary to foster the growth of Europe’s manufacturing sector.

Processes4Planet (P4P)

Processes4Planet is the successor to the SPIRE Partnership. A.SPIRE is the European Association managing and implementing the Processes4Planet Public-Private Partnership.

P4P aims to develop and foster the deployment of climate-neutral solutions for the European process industries to close the energy and feedstock loops.

It will foster European global leadership in climate neutral and circular solutions, accelerating innovation and unlocking public and private investments.

Energy-intensive industries face many challenges to move towards commercially viable climate neutral and circular industrial solutions and foster the creation of new skills and jobs.

With a total budget of €2.6 million, the P4P partnership will bring together process industries (cement, ceramics, chemicals, engineering, minerals and ores, non-ferrous metals, steel and water sectors), SMEs, the public sector, research centres and academia.

The partnership will develop Hubs4Circularities (H4C) and first-of-a-kind, lighthouse demonstrator plants of (near) commercial size.

Public-Public Partnerships


Metrology is the scientific study of measurement. It is a key enabler of economic and social activity and a public good.

The increase in societal challenges requiring trustworthy standards and regulations makes it even more urgent to continue to support metrology in the innovation system at European level, with a more strategic approach to integrate metrology efforts.

By 2030, the European Partnership on Metrology will provide metrology solutions at least equal to the top global performers via specialised pan-European networks. This will support sales of new innovative products and services with the adoption and use of key emerging technologies.

Metrology solutions will help shape specific standards and regulations that underpin public policies addressing the challenges our societies face.

The partnership will be achieved through an Article 185 initiative.


February 2018Research and Innovation

Pathways to sustainable industries

Energy efficiency and CO2 utilisation


DownloadPDF - 227.1 KB