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:

 

1. Alliances for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills (implementing the 'Blueprint')

Deadline: 7 September 2021

Scope:

Alliances for Innovation aim to strengthen Europe's innovation capacity by boosting innovation through cooperation and flow of knowledge among higher education, vocational education and training (both initial and continuous), and the broader socio-economic environment, including research.

They also aim to boost the provision of new skills and address skills mismatches by designing and creating new curricula for higher education (HE) and vocational education and training (VET), supporting the development of a sense of initiative and entrepreneurial mind-sets in the EU.

EXPECTED IMPACT

Alliances for Innovation will be anchored in strategic and sustainable cooperation among vocational education and training, higher education and enterprises working together to boost the innovation capacity of Europe. They will considerably strengthen the synergies between both educational fields in fostering innovation, new skills, a sense of initiative and entrepreneurial mind-sets. These Alliances among HE, VET and the enterprises are expected to contribute to the development of regional eco-systems and directly provide a valuable input to the economy, integrating workbased learning. While universities have research knowledge and data that allows them to directly provide input to small and medium sized enterprises to boost local economies, VET providers supply skills needed by enterprises and they are able to foster growth in the local economy.

At a larger scale, Alliances for Innovation are expected to target societal and economic challenges, both in education and employment, and take into account key areas such as innovation challenges, skills provision, climate change, green economy, demography, digitalisation and artificial intelligence. Benefits can also be drawn from cooperation with large enterprises. The Alliances for Innovation will focus on the need of citizens and accelerate the modernization of HE and VET.

The Pact for Skills will not only establish a framework for the implementation of the other actions of the updated Skills Agenda, but also for the dissemination and exploitation of the project results of the Alliances for Innovation. In particular the results of the Blueprint Alliances for sectoral cooperation on skills will be used as a basis for the Pact for Skills sectoral large-scale partnerships.

In addition, the Alliances will help to implement the EU Communication on the Renewed Agenda for Higher Education (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52017DC0247) and contribute to the creation of a European Education Area (https://ec.europa.eu/education/education-in-the-eu/european-education-area_en). They will also contribute to implement the EU Industrial and SMEs strategies (2021).

The Alliances for Innovation will also take into account the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/) and the Paris Declaration on Climate Change (https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement) as overarching parameters of the action, thus helping the European Commission to implement its new Green Deal (https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/european-green-deal-communication_en.pdf) and the Europe Recovery Plan (https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/recovery-plan-europe_en).

Alliances for Innovation are meant to have a short and long term impact on the wider range of stakeholders involved, at individual, organisational and systemic level. This impact is expected to go beyond the project's lifetime and beyond the organisations involved in the partnerships. It is expected that partnership and activities persist. For that, results/deliverables might not be stand-alone but be linked to/integrated into existing undertakings, schemes, projects, platforms, ventures etc.

Find further information on the Call Website

 

2. Laser-based technologies for green manufacturing (RIA)

Deadline: 23 September 2021

Expected Outcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  • Reinforcing European industry as leader in agile, green manufacturing through the application of laser-based technologies;
  • Improving the agility of industrial production by making processes more versatile, simpler to reconfigure and more efficient to control through data exchange;
  • Improving the environmental sustainability of industrial production towards 'first-time right' processes with 30% lower consumption of resources compared to the state of the art.

Scope:

Machine tools include various laser-based technologies such as milling, turning, grinding, laser processing, surface treatment, sintering, forming and additive manufacturing. Projects funded under this topic should integrate state-of-the-art high-power lasers and tailored beams together with quality sensors and real time monitoring systems into advanced manufacturing and re-manufacturing tools.

Known research challenges are amongst others the transmission of very high average and peak power laser radiation without loss or distortion including in the ultraviolet, mid and far infrared spectral range, powerful optical fibres, programmable beam guidance, maximum positional flexibility, free choice of energy distribution, rapid quantitative feedback and beam distribution systems with sub-micrometre resolution and high performance. A further research challenge is the integration of quality sensors in laser-based manufacturing. These produce a vast amount of data with a need for dedicated signal processing. Edge devices with self-learning algorithms should be developed that can handle the computing requirements in the time required by the system to react with a feedback control action.

Project consortia should comprise research institutes, technology suppliers and users. They should demonstrate the benefits to the targeted technologies in at least three use cases.

Proposals submitted under this topic should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the introduction to this Destination.

Research must build on existing standards or contribute to standardisation. Interoperability for data sharing should be addressed. Additionally, a strategy for skills development should be presented, associating social partners when relevant.

All projects should build on or seek collaboration with existing projects and develop synergies with other relevant European, national or regional initiatives, funding programmes and platforms.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership Made in Europe and activities proposed by the Photonics Europe Partnership.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 3-4 and achieve TRL 6 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Find further information on the Call Website

 

3. Advanced optical communication components (IA)

Deadline: 21 October 2021

Expected Outcome:

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

  • Reliable and low latency communication with guaranteed service quality for the digital transformation of industrial processes;
  • Reduced congestion in data communication when a multiplicity of applications compete for simultaneous delivery, thereby causing data loss or a delay in data delivery;
  • Reduced power consumption to some pico-Joule per bit through the broader use of optical networking technologies, interconnects, and integrated optical communication components;
  • Lowered barrier for the uptake of performant communication technologies by reducing cost of transmission interfaces to around 50 cents per Gigabit per second.

Scope:

Proposals to develop ultra-dynamic photonic components and subsystems for data communication, using for example new optical wavelength bands, space division multiplexing, new integration schemes, optical switching and new switching paradigms, as solutions for time-deterministic and time-sensitive networks. They should also enable ultra-dynamic reconfiguration on the optical layer and mitigate amplifier power transients, while saving energy, improving bandwidth efficiency, and guaranteeing low deterministic latencies across the network. Emerging solutions, e.g. based on free space optical communication may be explored as well.

Advances will cover a range of use cases for example from optical switching in commercial applications to optical flow or packet switching approaches that would become practical for the industrial Internet. Where relevant for the application, devices should be able to work in a harsh environment such as within a wide temperature operating range, or in high humidity.

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

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership on Photonics.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 3-4 and achieve TRL 5-6 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Find further information on the Call Website

 

 4. Advanced Photonic Integrated Circuits (RIA)

Deadline: 21 October 2021

Expected Outcome:

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

  • New generations of photonic integrated circuits and devices
  • Strengthening industrial capability of photonic device fabrication by integration and miniaturisation of technologies
  • Lowering the barrier to the use of advanced or innovative photonic integration technologies for companies, in particular high-tech SMEs
  • Providing European open strategic autonomy in Photonic Integrated Circuits and related manufacturing processing

Scope:

Evolving photonic integration is opening up a wealth of opportunities in many application areas by enhancing functionality and spectral coverage, facilitating new applications in biomedical, environmental and industrial fields, making devices more power-efficient and bringing ground-breaking technologies within reach of entrepreneurial SMEs.

The increasingly sophisticated requirements need new paradigms, capable of extending the functionalities of optical components through design, integration, fabrication, assembly and packaging techniques including the co-integration of photonic and electronic components. These need to be augmented with new functions and performance enhancements, requiring in many cases the development of new materials and innovative device structures.

Challenges are for example in mastering epitaxial material growth and processing on large wafers with improved quality, uniformity and very low defect densities, broadband ("white") light sources and high sensitivity photodetectors (including arrays) and high-efficiency semiconductor lasers across many wavelength bands, capable of withstanding high temperatures (>85°C) depending on the intended application. Incorporation of new building blocks such as magneto-optic elements for non-reciprocal functionality (e.g. optical isolation) could also be included.

Proposals should demonstrate the developed integration technologies in at least two application oriented use cases and establish integration platforms, which help potential user companies with their uptake.

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

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership for Photonics.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 2-3 and achieve TRL 4-5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Find further information on the Call Website

 

 5. Advanced multi-sensing systems (RIA)

Open: 23 November 2021

Deadline: 5 April 2022

Expected Outcome:

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

  • Next generation multi-sensing photonic and electronic systems with increased integration of new functionalities, decreased size and cost-effective manufacturing.
  • Supporting a European open strategic autonomy in key integration and packaging technologies and related manufacturing value chains.
  • Sensing devices and components allowing for reaching the new green deal objectives through enabling high levels of reuse/repair/repurpose, recovery and recycling of waste and materials or helping to reduce overall power consumption of a system by at least a factor of 2.
  • Reinforcing European industrial leadership in high performance multi-sensing systems and components for sectors such as healthcare and well-being, environmental monitoring and protection, transport and automated driving, manufacturing, aerospace and security.

Scope:

The proposals will enable breakthroughs in sensor systems by combining component development, system integration, packaging and cost-effective manufacturing processes. They should propose innovative approaches capable of acquiring, processing and interpreting vast amounts of sensory input data, where relevant, while reducing significantly overall energy consumption.

Whenever justified, a modular approach with interchangeable components operating in a platform environment should be favoured. The sensing functionality should build on technologies related to light and include integration with microelectronics or micro-nano-mechanical, micro-fluidic, magnetic, radio frequency or bio-chemical technologies where appropriate.

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

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership for Photonics.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 2 and achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

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.