Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Continuous adaptation of work environments with changing levels of automation in evolving production systems

Topic identifier: FOF-04-2016
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
15 October 2015
Deadline: 21 January 2016 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Despite high automation levels in factories today, humans remain central to manufacturing operations.

In the past, and due to human flexibility, workers were expected to adapt to machine requirements. However, today's machines increasingly allow these roles to be reversed with automation systems becoming ever more adaptable to the capabilities of workers, and work organisation becomes more flexible in terms of time and place. Furthermore, higher levels of product customisation and variable requirements, call for new adaptive human-centred automation approaches, complementing the cognitive capabilities of humans by advanced sensing and the higher precision of machines.

Modern manufacturing system design builds on an optimal and continuous distribution of tasks between humans and machines for higher performance, adaptability and quality.


Research activities should address all of the following areas:

  • Determination of adequate levels of automation for optimal flexibility, agility and competitiveness of highly customised production. Adaptive automation systems should accommodate to the worker's skills and flexibility needs, be it by compensating limitations (e.g. due to age or inexperience) or by taking full advantage of the worker's experience;
  • Methods and tools for a continuous adaptation of workplaces to the physical, sensorial and cognitive capabilities of workers (especially of older and disabled people in those workplaces) and their socio-economic needs, by taking into consideration "safety and health at work" requirements. An adequate methodology to measure "worker satisfaction" should be developed and tested. The underlying theoretical framework should in particular involve knowledge from a socio-organisational and psychometrics perspective, including the engagement of workers in the design and adaptation of their workplace to ensure attractiveness;
  • Exploit technologies such as virtual (and/or augmented) reality to support process and workplace simulations and industrial social networking with rich user experience for knowledge capture and decision support with a strong focus on usability, user acceptance and training.

This topic requires a a user-driven approach through a collaborative effort between social scientists and engineers to (a) come to an adequate understanding of "worker satisfaction" and the relevant quantitative indicators, and to (b) introduce the concept of "usability" of machines by the worker on the shop floor (particularly concerning elderly, disabled or other target groups with special needs) thus contributing to improving worker safety and health. Age and gender aspects should be taken into account.

Activities are expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 4 to 6.

This topic addresses cross-KET activities.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 3 and 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

: The developed new technologies should lead to a remarkable impact in the following terms:

  • 20% increase in adaptability, e.g. product customisation capability;
  • 10% quality increase in total system (human and automation) performance, e.g. quality or productivity;
  • Increased worker satisfaction and strengthened global position of industry in Europe through higher social acceptance levels.
  • Wide adoption of the new developments in advanced manufacturing systems.

Proposals should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Cross-cutting Key-Enabling Technologies (KETs)

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

    described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

    Note also that 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 (follow the links to China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).

    described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.


    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold:
    described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme, with the following exceptions:

    For single-stage and second-stage evaluations, 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.

    In case of equal overall scores in the ranked list, the priority order of proposals will be established in accordance with part H of the General Annexes, except that proposals will be ranked on the basis of individual scores for the Impact criterion before the Excellence criterion.

    In case of equal overall scores in the ranked list, the priority order of proposals will be established in accordance with part H of the General Annexes, except, when comparing ex aequo proposals of different topics, the proposals will be ranked first according to the position in the topic ranked lists.

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

    Information on the outcome of single-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.
    for the type of action under this topic

    Research and Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Classified information

    Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

    must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. 

    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.


    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs)

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Cross-cutting activities (Focus Areas)

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes


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