European Calls

There are regular Photonics Calls for Proposals published by the European Commission. The Photonics21 community is the dedicated body to define the European call topics for photonics.

Current European Photonics Calls separated by different clusters:

Cluster 4: Digital, Industry and Space

1. Digital and emerging technologies for competitiveness and fit for the green deal (RIA)

Open: 16. June 2022

Deadline: 16. November 2022

Expected Outcome:

Proposal results are expected to contribute to the following expected outcomes:

  • New technological solutions with improved performance and reduced energy consumption providing significant advances towards the integration of 2D materials (2DM) technology, and the emergence of competitive value chains in graphene in Europe.

Scope:

Proposals should cover the development of 2DM-based devices and systems bringing 2DM technology one step further towards the integration in current technologies and to the development of radically new prototypes and/or solutions for industry for a wide range of application areas overcoming integration costs, functionalities and/or power consumption challenges. The proposals should develop 2DM-based electronic and photonic devices including ultrafast circuits, photodetector, and modulators, broadband detectors, switches, as well as sensors, advanced electronics, metamaterials, etc., serving applications such as 5G and 6G data communications, wireless connections, smart machine vision, autonomous robots and vehicles, internet of things, and neuromorphic circuitry and/or imaging applications. The 2DM-based devices and systems should demonstrate their added value in terms of e.g. functionality, integration, miniaturization, performances, power consumption, costs, etc. compared to current conventional technologies. Proposals should integrate the value chain and incorporate the relevant manufacturing technologies needed to bring the developed devices towards the market and indicate how they work with the newly established Graphene Flagship 2D-Experimental Pilot Line (2D-EPL)[1].

Proposals should address a modelling, design, manufacturing and characterization of developed devices and systems. The proposals should also explore, develop and assess the route(s) for integration (e.g. wafer growth, transfer, wafer scale integration, co-integration) of 2DM into the devices and systems favouring industrial uptake in the longer-term.

Proposals should include activities aiming at facilitating future exploitation of results.

Proposals should aim, by the end of the project, at validating technology in relevant environment (TRL 5).

Proposals should also cover the contribution to the governance and overall coordination of the Graphene Flagship initiative.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 3-4 and achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Artificial Intelligence
Digital Agenda

[1] https://graphene-flagship.eu/innovation/pilot-line/

Find further information on the Call Website

Cluster 1: Health

Currently no open calls in this Cluster

Cluster 3: Civil Security for Society

1. Improved underwater detection and control capabilities to protect maritime areas and sea harbours (RIA)

Open: 30. June 2022

Deadline: 23. November 2022

Expected Outcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to some or all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Improved security of maritime infrastructures and maritime transport, including sea harbours and their entrance routes;
  • Improved detection of illicit and dangerous goods and/or of threats hidden below the water surface, either threatening infrastructures or vessels, or moving alone or connected to vessels.

Scope:

Security of maritime infrastructures and transport is key to support the movement of people and trade to, from, and within Europe. Furthermore, it is important to strengthen capabilities for security in and of sea harbours and of their entrance routes, and detection, prevention and response to illicit activities in and near sea harbours, including in the underwater sea space. Both legal and illegal activities in the maritime domain increase and become more sophisticated and this presses on security practitioners to build and improve their capabilities to keep up and fulfil their tasks in the future.

A particularly critical environment would include the abilities to detect and act below the water surface. Possible threats concealed below the water surface should be detected. Criminal organizations for example have the modus operandi of hiding narcotic cargos under the water surface of large and medium-sized vessels. Detection and response capabilities against active threats below the surface (such as terrorist attacks against ships or harbour infrastructures) should also be developed. Security controls and fiscal manifest verifications on closed containers and cargo should be supported by information gathered below water surface.

Research could develop solutions to detect and identify anomalies below the water surface and/or automatically assess for below the water surface threats to a ship at harbour entrance and/or a pier. Projects should demonstrate, test and validate solutions working from detection to minimisation of threats from below the water surface. Research and innovation activities should focus on delivering advanced autonomous or semi-autonomous vessel screening capabilities (detection of underwater smuggling – for example in cylindrical containers).

Research proposals should consider, build on if appropriate and not duplicate, previous research, including but not limiting to research by other projects funded by the Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 4-6 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Digital Agenda
Artificial Intelligence

Find further information on the Call Website

 

2. Better, more portable and quicker analysis and detection for customs (IA)

Open: 30. June 2022

Deadline: 23. November 2022

Expected Outcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to some or all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Portable or easily deployable solutions used in customs inspections for detecting threat agents such as drugs, including new psychoactive substances;
  • Improved capacities of customs authorities to acquire, analyse, share drugs spectra, and detect new drugs in the context of customs inspections.

Scope:

Research will further develop capabilities for portable and quicker testing, analysis and detection of threats at customs checks sites. Example of target substances include drugs, with a focus on new psychoactive substances, but also gems or precious metals and other threats or illicit goods.

These capabilities would allow customs to deploy detection capacity where and when more appropriate and efficient and to carry out inspections "on the move" and more quickly. This would allow detection of threats in the flow of goods directly at the customs inspection site, without having to divert the scanned object(s) to a different site, like a more distant dedicated detection laboratory. This would provide better response capability for customs in an ever-changing operational environment. It would allow for a faster detection and verification capability in the field.

The improved capability includes being able to update more easily and quickly the references for the target goods and substances, and to be able to detect them. This includes updated spectra of drugs such as new psychoactive substances, which would allow detecting them. There is room for innovation to improve customs' access to updated spectra of substances when they appear; to make spectra easily available to customs' devices; and to improve data for spectra libraries.

This technology will also allow for an automatic collection of relevant data on the conditions and outcomes of the controls, as to allow measuring the efficiency of the measures and feeding the analysis for risk management and security at the borders.

The involvement of police authorities is encouraged, as well as synergies with relevant topics of the Fight against Crime and Terrorism Destination, to ensure operational scenarios are best identified for detection capabilities by customs. Research projects should consider, build on if appropriate and not duplicate previous research, including but is not limited to research by other Framework Programmes projects.

Testing and validation, within the project, of developed tools and solutions in an operational environment, will be an asset. Proposals should be convincing in explaining the methods they intend to use for demonstrating, testing and validating the proposed tools and solutions. Proposals should also delineate the plans to develop possible future uptake and upscaling at national and EU level for possible next steps after the research project.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 7-8 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Digital Agenda
Artificial Intelligence

Find further information on the Call Website

 

3. Autonomous systems used for infrastructure protection (IA)

Open: 30. June 2022

Deadline: 23. November 2022

Expected Outcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to some or all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Autonomous surveillance, detection and fast and coordinated response based on updated integrated contingency plans to threats against different types of infrastructures in order to support existing security measures, reduce the risk to human personnel and allowing for mitigation in locations that are hard to reach (underwater, underground, high altitude, etc.) and without or just limited telecoms-connection
  • Long term deployment of autonomous solutions for the decontamination of large scale infrastructures (including in public urban areas) in case of the release of CBRN-materials, or with specific regard to support efforts to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, preventing and responding to pandemics
  • Long term deployment of autonomous solutions/systems/devices to detect CBRN threats in a fast, secure and forensic way
  • Consideration of system performance, interdependencies, new failure modes and conditions that need to be in place for this to work as intended
  • Concepts for the use of advanced materials, smart technologies and built-in monitoring and repair capabilities to reduce the destructive potential of natural disasters and (terrorist) attacks on infrastructures
  • Improved knowledge and solutions for the protection and response against large-scale attacks or intentional disruptions with (fast moving) unmanned vehicles or other moving objects reducing critically the time to react also close to residential areas
  • Enhanced knowledge on the ethical and legal impact on individuals and society as a whole of the use of robotics in order to maintain the vital functions of society

Scope:

Time is critical to prepare and react to disruptions of infrastructures. Faster and coordinated interventions can significantly reduce the impact, avoid negative cascading effects or in the best case prevent disruptions. The increasing interconnectivity of infrastructures has also led to bigger complexity in regards to the detection and response to incidents and certain technologies can be misused to conduct attacks or targeted disruptions of infrastructures. As underlined in the Security Union Strategy this is for example the case for scenarios involving unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). It could however also be relevant for possible incidents with land- or sea borne devices approaching at very high speed.

In order to allow for the best possible detection of threats and quick response and restoration of performance levels (e. g. through decontamination of the affected material/person; detection as well as mitigation of a risk), autonomous systems for infrastructure protection are a promising field of research. Many state-of-the art technologies used in other areas (for example: advanced robots or other autonomous detection and repair capabilities based on artificial intelligence) combined with user centred approaches, have the potential to significantly reduce the reaction time and can provide therefore an added value also for security solutions. Besides a reduced reaction time, the use of autonomous systems can reduce the risk for human responders, which is important for dangerous operations as for example in gas or chemical plants, or CBRN contaminated areas. At the same time, such systems can access challenging locations, such as underground cables, underwater pipes or assets in high altitude. Those features do not only present an advantage in responding to intentional acts, but also allow for faster and more efficient response to natural disasters and subsequent cascading effects. On the other hand, automated systems do create new vulnerabilities and its use raises ethical concerns that would need to be taken into account in any research. Solutions and measures must take into account legal and ethical rules of operation, as well as fundamental rights such as privacy and protection of personal data. Cost-benefit analysis not compromising ethics and privacy should also be considered.

Results achieved so far in the area of robots and autonomous systems (RAS), also under Horizon 2020, have led to applications making use of Unmanned Vehicles for example in the area of infrastructure maintenance and the detection and response to safety risks. Other concepts have been including self-healing materials, smart technologies and built-in tools as well as associated processes. For security incidents, there are so far less solutions available which would take into account the specific challenges of intentional disruptions as compared to accidents or material failure.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 6-7 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Digital Agenda
Artificial Intelligence

Find further information on the Call Website

Cluster 5: Climate, Energy and Mobility

1. Novel Thin Film (TF) technologies targeting high efficiencies (RIA)

Open: 06. September 2022

Deadline: 10. January 2023

Expected Outcome:

Photovoltaic power generation is pivotal in the transition towards a clean energy system and the achievement of the zero-emissions target. To that end, it is important to enhance affordability, security of supply and sustainability of PV technologies along with further efficiency improvements. Consequently, project results are expected to contribute to all of the following outcomes:

  • Increase the potential of thin-film technologies for mass production, low cost and/or specialised applications.
  • Reinforce the European PV value chain, support local companies to develop and sell differentiated PV products.
  • Allow for an efficient use of available areas for renewable energy generation/ reducing competition between different kinds of land use by further increasing PV energy yield/m2.
  • Enable and facilitate large-scale deployment of PV and generation of renewable electricity.

Scope:

An alternative to c-Silicon PV is thin-film solar cells, which can be fabricated on various and flexible substrates (including glass, metal foils and polymers). A benefit of thin-film PV is the lower direct semiconductor materials cost. Realising lower costs in production requires high input material utilisation and low raw materials conversion costs. Largescale thin-film module production can be more cost efficient when utilising rapid processing technologies. With further advances in scientific understanding, 25% efficiency devices are within reach as are even higher efficiencies in tandem architectures. Translating those device and process advances to manufacturing technology will dramatically reduce LCOE once sufficiently scaled in both module size and production volume. This will require adapting deposition processes for higher rates and to larger-scale equipment while developing suitable robust techniques for inline process and quality control.

The proposal should address all of the following:

  • Develop novel environmentally benign thin-film technology concepts that optimise PV cell and module architecture, increase durability, decrease losses (minimising also the cell-to-module efficiency gap) and target very high efficiencies (>25%) with flexibility for specific applications.
  • Employ simple, scalable and low cost/low energy consumption and higher rate deposition processes.
  • Ensure compliance with all relevant standards, including those related to the specific applications targeted.
  • Perform device/module real–life (under actual outdoor operating conditions) characterisation for reliability and energy yield assessment.
  • Perform a life cycle analysis to bring evidence of the lower environmental impact, better resource efficiency than current commercial PV technologies, and circularity potential.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

New European Bauhaus
Artificial Intelligence
Digital Agenda

Find further information on the Call Website

Open Calls by the European Innovation Council:

EIC Accelerator: It focuses on scientific discoveries or technological breakthroughs, which need significant funding over a longer timeframe before returns can be generated. Such innovations often struggle to attract financing because the risks and time involved are generally too high. This funding enables the innovators to attract the full investment amounts that are needed to scale up in a shorter timeframe.

EIC Pathfinder: Interdisciplinary teams of researchers can apply for research and innovation grants that will support them to realise their breakthrough ideas and have a transformative positive effect on our economy and society.