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Europe launches first large-scale 6G Research and Innovation Programme

This week the newly created Joint Undertaking on Smart Networks and Services towards 6G (SNS JU) adopted its first Work Programme 2021-2022 with an earmarked public funding of about € 240 million.

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The Work Programme 2021-2022 will fund activities ranging from 5G evolution including large-scale trials and pilots with vertical industries to frontier research towards 6G systems.

The European partnership on Smart Networks and Services (SNS), a Joint Undertaking co-led by industry and the Commission with close involvement of Member States, sets the strategic R&I roadmap for Europe. The initiative builds on an EU contribution of €900 million over the next 7 years to be matched by the private sector with the same amount. The aim is to enable European players to build the R&I capacities for 6G systems and develop lead markets for 5G infrastructure as a basis for the digital and green transformation.

The SNS Work Programme was adopted this week by the SNS JU Governing Board and will be the basis for Calls for Proposals to be launched early 2022. It sets out four main complementary work streams:

  • Stream A (RIA): Smart communication components, systems, and networks for 5G Evolution systems.
  • Stream B (RIA): Research for radical technology advancement (in preparation for 6G and radical advancements of IoT, devices and software).
  • Stream C (RIA): SNS Enablers and Proof of Concept (PoCs), including development of experimental infrastructure(s) that could be further used during later phases of SNS.
  • Stream D (IA): Large Scale SNS Trials and Pilots with Verticals, including the required infrastructure to explore and demonstrate technologies and advanced applications as well as advanced services in the vertical domains.

These four Streams will be complemented by SNS Support Actions (CSA) to support EU wide synergies and directionality as well as international cooperation.

This Work Programme 2021-2022 builds the first phase of the SNS roadmap and will expand the early wave of European 6G projects launched in January 2021 under the 5G-PPP. The four Streams will evolve into new frontier research, proof of concept, standardisation, and deployment in subsequent phases or open new opportunities for technology development across the broader supply chain such as microelectronics or cloud based service provisioning.

Background:

On 30 November, Council Regulation 2021/2085 establishing the SNS JU entered into force. The SNS JU enables the pooling of an EU contribution of €900 million for the period 2021-2027 with industrial resources of at least the same amount. It also fosters alignment with Member States concerning national funding programmes on 5G and 6G. The SNS JU has the ambitious mission for driving the 5G evolution as basis for the digital and green transition and building Europe’s technological capacities for 6G systems, which are expected for commercial launch at the end of this decade.