The EU is preparing to invest close to half a billion euro in breakthrough digital technologies, following the latest selection of proposals from a series of calls of the Horizon Europe Programme that boost collaborative research and development across the Union and beyond.This will mean boosted investment in artificial intelligence; big data, robotics, extended reality, quantum, photonics and sensors, next generation internet, and two-dimensional materials. All these key technologies underpin Europe’s strategic autonomy and are the key enablers of a transition to a digital, sustainable and inclusive future.
Nearly 90 projects were selected following a peer review evaluation process.
With a balanced mix of project participants from academia and research organisations with industry players, including strong representation from SMEs, these projects will see Europe shaping advanced digital technologies for a European industry with global leadership in these key areas of research and technological investment.
Next Generation Internet
With regards to funding Next Generation Internet, the selected seven projects (with a budget of €47 million in total) will include participants coming from over 15 countries and working in academia and research organisations, with nearly half of them coming from industry (and two thirds again of which are SMEs).
Four of the selected projects will actively support the piloting of selected innovations from the Next Generation Internet thus fostering the broader take up of those technologies. One of these selected projects will roll out a new, secure electronic payment system for European citizens, businesses, and banks, that will be made available as a payment system from retail banks. It will be piloted in three areas of economic activity. It will work in the publishing sector to be a viable means of payment for independent book publishers and journalists, in the e-Health sector, where it will help guarantee the privacy of the payer, as well as in the free and open-source software development ecosystem, where it will support the giving of donations and pledges.
Another project will establish a fund dedicated to support talented innovators that will deliver a broad range of open-source internet technologies that will power the future web 4.0. This fund will provide a one-stop shop for these innovators, by providing them support to ensure further sustainability of their solutions (such as licensing, business models, or security audits). Together with a policy support action, all the selected projects will build further the NGI position as an essential player for digital commons policies at national and European level.
In the area of Two-dimensional (2D) materials, four projects with a total budget of more than €15 million will address the discovery of new 2D materials and increased safety in the use of 2D materials. This call is a successor to last year’s call. Both calls together represent the continuation in Horizon Europe of the successful Graphene Flagship.Participants in these projects come from over 13 countries, with over a quarter from the private sector, the majority of which are SMEs.
Three of these projects aim to discover new 2D materials and develop new fabrication methods, in particular through AI-assisted processes. The fourth project will also develop new methods, this time ensuring that 2D materials are safe and sustainable by design. These projects will work on new application areas such as LEDs, solar cells, quantum materials and spintronics, complementing the nine projects selected last year, which were focusing on energy storage, biomedical devices, composite materials, and electronics.
Two selected projects, with a total budget of €3 million, include participants from ten countries, from associated countries like Switzerland and Norway as well as from others such as the USA, Japan and Korea. The majority of partners are from academia and research organisations.
The first project will support a common vision and research collaboration with the US National Science Foundation (NSF) on fundamental research and new concepts for distributed computing and swarm intelligence. The second project will create a lasting European network of experts to support the coordination of cognitive cloud to edge computing continuum research and policy as well as engage in relevant initiatives with like-minded countries - with a special focus on Japan and South Korea.
Six selected projects, with a total budget of over €13 million, will strengthen the EU’s digital agenda on the global stage in line with the Digital Decade policy programme and the Global Gateway. The projects aim to pursue international cooperation in topics such as Research & Innovation, ICT standardisation and digital art. Nearly a third of participants for these projects come from industry, stemming from over 20 countries.
More specifically, three projects will stimulate research and innovation cooperation between the EU and other global regions (Indo-Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America), thus strengthening strategic partnerships with them. Two projects will focus on digital standardisation, promoting a common vision with like-minded countries for the standardisation of key digital technologies, and promoting the EU standardisation model across the world. Finally, one project will underline a European approach to the integration of art and culture into R&I and the use of AI in art, thus promoting the trustworthy use of AI applications.