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:

Cluster 4: Digital, Industry and Space

Quantum Photonic Integrated Circuit technologies (RIA)

Opening date: 08 December 2022
Deadline date: 29 March 2023

Photonic Integrated Circuits (PIC) technologies on one side and quantum science on the other are the building blocks for development of Quantum PIC (QPIC) devices for quantum information processing, computation/simulation, communication, sensing or metrology. Photon-based approaches can address the huge challenge of implementing quantum processes in public infrastructures, challenging industry applications and compact everyday-life devices and products.

QPIC technology has great potentials to target several application fields, in particular, but not limited to, health care, communications, environment and security, and thus has high strategic significance and major implications for the European economy.

However, to implement QPICs, research challenges have to be faced throughout the value chain, going from materials, circuit design (including the support of EDA tools), manufacturing processes and technological platforms, to the realization and validation of reliable and robust demonstrators and prototypes, and their integration and packaging. Furthermore, quantum systems are typically large, complex and costly, hindering their scalability, and thus cannot be directly used in products.

QPIC technology can address these issues, paving the way for compact, high performance, reliable, cost-effective components, that will enable quantum technology to be introduced in the market.

Expected Outcome:

  • To improve over existing PIC technologies in terms of performance, functionality, manufacturing process efficiency and reliability, integration, and packaging in a manner that facilitates scalable manufacturing.
  • To demonstrate the technology capability in key enabling Quantum PIC technologies with high potential impact on the quantum technology Industry, including applications in quantum sensing, communications, computation and simulation,
  • Preparing QPIC technologies for future Pilot Lines and Photonics hubs and open testing and experimentation facilities,
  • Exploit the potential of QPICs for a digital, green and healthy future in Europe by providing critical components and systems for next generation applications, products and processes. Develop tools for efficient design and prototyping of QPICs.
  • Secure Technological Sovereignty for Europe by maintaining leadership in QPICs
  • Contribution to the objectives of Digital Transformation, Green Deal, Competitiveness and Economic Growth.

Scope:

Proposals will address technology (up to TRL 4-5) in key enabling PIC technology applied to market needs. Objectives include:

  • Enhancement of PIC performance, e.g. ultra-low loss; ultra-low laser linewidth; ultra-high extinction ratio modulators and switches , extending spectral and optical power coverage, optical coupling interfaces, packaging.
  • Incorporation of specific quantum functionality into PIC platforms, e.g. single photon and entangled photon pair generation, single photon and photon number detection , quantum memory elements, quantum processors.
  • Multi-technology integration, e.g. incorporation of ion/atomic traps and relevant control electronics, superconducting detectors, nonlinear elements, integration of photonic readout into quantum computing and sensing devices employing other technologies (e.g. electronic, spintronic), relevant passive and active linear optical elements (e.g. modulators, shifters, switches etc.) to underscore a strategy for modular QPIC design.
  • Development of PICs capable of operating at cryogenic temperatures, with low power dissipation and performance optimized in the context of the operating environment.
  • Development of the most promising methods for QPIC fabrication in monolithic, hybrid or heterogeneous integration techniques for different functionalities together with an identification of the most advantageous platform materials, (e.g. derived from "classical" PIC technologies such as Si, SiO2, Si3N4, InP, LiNbO3, Si-on-insulator, LiNbO3-on-insulator, Al2O3, AlN, hybrid platforms, etc. etc. etc.).
  • Assembly and packaging of PICs, taking the specific challenges of quantum systems (environment, temperature, stability, visible and ultraviolet wavelengths requirements, vacuum integration) into account and including integration of complementary and ancillary technologies (e.g. microelectronics) where required
  • Miniaturization of previously non-scalable quantum photonic systems by implementing them in PIC form.

Proposals should identify applications in quantum sensing, communication, computation and simulation. Proposals should test and evaluate the developed Quantum PIC technologies in the context of such specific applications though trials at systems level in a representative laboratory or an operational environment.

These technologies should be developed in a manner to facilitate scalable manufacturing. Proposals should address IP management strategy and collaboration with European industry and SMEs, in particular in the context of establishing relevant European industrial manufacturing capabilities.

Collaboration with the Quantum Flagship initiative and the photonics partnership is crucial to be able to merge knowledge and experience in photonic technologies and quantum science.

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 2-3 and achieve TRL 4-5 by the end of the project.

Find more information on the call website.

 

Photonic Strategies and Skills Development (CSA)

Opening date: 08 December 2022
Deadline date: 29 March 2023

Expected Outcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to at least one of the following outcomes:

  • Reinforced value chains and deployment of photonics technologies by stronger cooperation of photonics stakeholders, clusters and end-users;
  • Increased competitiveness of the European photonics sector and improved access to finance for the photonics sector in Europe;
  • More and better prepared professionals in the photonics sector.

Scope:

Two types of proposals are expected.

Type 1: Supporting the industrial strategy for photonics in Europe (EU contribution around 3 million EUR). The objective is to support the development and implementation of a comprehensive industrial strategy for photonics in Europe. The action should include the development of strategic technology road-maps, strong stakeholder engagement (in particular Photonics21 stakeholders, National Technology Platforms, regional Clusters, end-user industries), coordination of regional, national and European strategies and priorities, fostering collaboration with other European Partnerships to identify synergies and fields of common interest, and fostering strategic collaboration with financial institutions to improve financing conditions for Photonics industry, e.g. loans for growth financing, Venture Capital.

Type 2: Fostering careers in photonics (EU contribution around 1 million EUR). The objective is to reach out to STEM graduates/PhD students and young postdocs in order to encourage more of them to pursue a career in photonics. Actions should help make students more industry ready and should provide the appropriate training, encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. Action should seek synergies with the skills development activities called for in the Digital Europe programme and with the activities on strategy development called for under type 1.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership Photonics.

Find more information on the call website.

 

Pervasive photonics - multi-technology integration for digital infrastructure, sensors and internet of things (RIA)

Opening date: 08 December 2022
Deadline date: 29 March 2023

Expected Outcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to at least three of the following outcomes:

Improved key metrics for communications (speed, power consumption, density) or for sensing (sensitivity, compactness, power consumption), making photonics ubiquitous in digital systems

New photonic-enabled sensing functions, not feasible with a technology platform based on a single material, or computing paradigms enabling new systems architectures (e.g. neuromorphic computing)

Vital contribution to Technological Sovereignty, Green Deal, Digital Transformation or Competitiveness which demonstrates new functionality, higher performance and more cost-effective systems across multiple application domains

Maintaining European technology leadership in the face of strong global competition

Scope:

Proposals should address one of the following areas of activities:

  • Co-integration of photonics and microelectronics on single or multiple die ('chiplet' approach)
  • Co-integration of multiple photonic IC material systems or components to address new wavelengths and sensor functions or new computing paradigms

Proposals should demonstrate at least two use cases linked to commercial applications for example in computing, communications, robotic and autonomous systems, sensors or Internet of Things.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership Photonics.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 2 and achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project.

Find more information on the call webesite.

 

Versatile light sources and systems as tools for manufacturing and medical application (RIA)

Opening date: 08 December 2022
Deadline date: 29 March 2023

Expected Outcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to at least two of the following outcomes:

  • Outcome 1: Increased manufacturing productivity or increased quality and speed of diagnosis results;
  • Outcome 2: Increased accuracy and/or reduced feature size in microelectronics production including packaging for the integration of photonic and electronic functionalities on chips;
  • Outcome 3: Increased specificity of diagnosis of human tissue, specific single cells, or molecular biomarkers in body liquids.

Scope:

Proposals should address new versatile light sources and lasers, concept and systems for extended and new fields of applications. Research challenges include:

  • Sources with multi-specification / multi-application potential;
  • Extended or new wavelength ranges, novel coherent sources;
  • Flexible and variable energy deposition (e.g. material processing, medical diagnosis) ;
  • Versatility by flexible pulse shapes, repetition rates and intensities (cw down to fs and bursts);
  • Miniaturized light sources and lasers employing photonic integrated circuit technology
  • Versatility by spectral tuneability, coherence and multi-wavelength emission;
  • Laser concepts and systems for multiphoton microscopy, spectroscopy and imaging.

The results and benefits of the developed technologies should be demonstrated in at least two realistic use cases.

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

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership Photonics.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 2 and achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project.

Find more information on the call website.

 

Advanced imaging and sensing technologies (IA)

Opening date: 08 December 2022
Deadline date: 29 March 2023

Expected Outcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  • The development of next generations sensory systems based on photonic technologies
  • Technology leadership in autonomous vehicles, robots and sensory systems; Growth in a number of strategic industries such as medical devices, automotive, manufacturing, agriculture & food, security of large added value which are in Europe.
  • Contribution to the Digital Green deal policy and/or to the technological sovereignty of Europe.

Scope:

Innovative hardware and software approaches, or to explore novel techniques with potential to outperform the current standards.

The projects should demonstrate the technology in the form of complete function (or building blocks) showing feasibility for future industrialisation.

It should address the following sectors:

  • Automotive, where detection of pedestrians, obstacles and other vehicles at long distance is required in order to safely prepare the reaction of the vehicle in all weather conditions;
  • Safety and security, where fast reconnaissance and identification of collaborative or non-collaborative targets and surveillance of infrastructures are required;
  • Industry, where imaging can be used for logistics and inspection and analysis of safety and quality control of processes or produced goods;
  • Health, where minimally and non-invasive spectroscopic and biophotonic imaging and sensing techniques enable diagnosis, screening, monitoring and treatment of a patient, possibly including augmented reality (AR) visualization;
  • Agriculture and food, where spectroscopic imaging and sensing enables non-destructive measurement/monitoring of plants and crops and plant nutrients during production and post-harvest (e.g., phenotyping); this allows fast interactions/adjustments and enables monitoring of plant materials and food products along the entire production chain for quality and safety aspects.

Technologies covering more than one application sectors above are encouraged, such as:

  • Long range, high speed, eye-safe imaging for automotive, security, and industrial systems
  • Imaging in presence of obscurants for medical, automotive, manufacturing, agriculture, food and security, spectroscopic imaging and sensing for medical, environmental, agriculture, food monitoring and security.
  • This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership Photonics.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 3 and achieve TRL 6-7 by the end of the project.

Find more information on the call website.

 

Investing in alternative quantum computation and simulation platform technologies (RIA)

Opening date: 08 December 2022
Deadline date: 29 March 2023

Expected Outcome:

Proposals are expected to further mature alternative and promising quantum computation and simulation platforms which have the prospects of high scalability and programmability, to complement the ones already supported by the Quantum Technologies Flagship.

Scope:

In order to reach large-scale quantum computation and simulation in Europe, breakthroughs in scalability of quantum processors and simulators, devices and integrated platforms are needed, together with the ability to perform all necessary operations of the quantum systems to have a fully programmable quantum computer or simulator. Breakthroughs in scalability need to be achieved along with breakthroughs in fidelity.

The development of alternative quantum computer and simulator systems and platforms, based for example on photonic or nitrogen vacancy-centre platforms or hybrid systems, should be integrating the key building blocks such as individual quantum systems (i.e. >10 qubits for a quantum computer and >50 quantum units for a quantum simulator), control electronics, quantum software stack, use case applications, etc. Work should address the scalability towards large systems (>100 qubits for a quantum computer and >1000 quantum units for a quantum simulator), the verification and validation of the quantum computation or simulation, solving a concrete problem to demonstrate the quantum advantage. In addition, quantum computation platform should explore fault-tolerance.

Proposals should also cover:

  1. Cooperation with the complementary projects launched specifically in the area of the enabling quantum software stack (see HORIZON-CL4-2021- DIGITAL-EMERGING-02-10: Strengthening the quantum software ecosystem for quantum computing platforms), and future Digital Europe Programme EuroHPC JU calls for acquisition and operation of quantum computers, and their integration with the HPC and data infrastructure, including also the need to establish from the beginning of this cooperation appropriate IP exploitation agreements;
  2. Cooperation and coordination with the Flagship initiatives supporting the establishing of key European fabrication processes, technologies and supply chain for the proposed platform, including the FPA(s) funded under HORIZON-CL4-2021-DIGITAL-EMERGING-02-17 and HORIZON-CL4-2021-DIGITAL-EMERGING-02-15 and their respective SGA(s).
  3. Any additional support they may receive from relevant national, or regional programmes and initiatives; and
  4. Contribution to the governance and overall coordination of the Quantum Technologies Flagship initiative. They should also contribute to spreading excellence across Europe, for example, through the involvement of EU Widening Countries.

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 5-6 by the end of the project.

Find more information on the call website.

 

Next Generation eXtended Reality (RIA)

Opening date: 08 December 2022
Deadline date: 29 March 2023

Expected Outcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  • Next generation of XR devices and applications, which are human-centred, and provide intuitive and realistic user experiences, by exploiting cross fertilisation between technologies such as 5G/6G, IoT, data, artificial intelligence, edge and cloud computing, and microelectronics but also across domains of use such as (but not limited to education, manufacturing, health, cultural heritage, media and security).
  • More realistic, more affordable and gender-neutral devices and applications, developed by European companies, respecting European values of ethics, privacy, security and safety, aiming at technological sovereignty and resilience.

Scope:

The following two types of research and innovation proposals are expected:

  1. The development and integration of advanced XR hardware components, including the use of already available technologies, such as chips, displays, optics and sensors, for a new generation of XR devices providing greater visual, wearable, vestibular and social comfort. Special relevance should be given (a) to technological breakthroughs in photonics and new materials aiming to increase the image quality and to reduce the size and weight of XR devices; (b) to displays and optical elements bringing the capabilities of XR devices closer to those of the human vision; (c) to more efficient architectures for enhanced performance, reduced power consumption and improved heat dissipation; (d) to novel systems that cater to the widest range of users, including those that need prescription correction; (e) to advanced optical- and photo-detector technologies for sensing systems, including sensing data processing; (f) to innovative XR connectivity components supporting the demanding requirements on latency, data rates and resilience; and (g) to novel materials with tailored optical, mechanical and processing properties for a tight integration of subcomponents, enabling overall miniaturization and environmentally sustainable mass-production of future XR devices.
  2. The development of new solutions aiming to improve the user experience, skills and capacity in social and professional XR setups. This includes tools and services for the creation and management of interactive virtual worlds such as metaverse and 3D models, realistic full body avatars and intelligent agents. The solutions should also seek to enhance the interoperability, performance and accessibility of XR experiences. The proposals should include prototypes validated in realistic scenarios, proving how innovative the developed solutions are, how they exploit synergies between disciplines and domains, and how far beyond state of the art they go.

At least one proposal of both innovation type i and innovation type ii will be funded.

The Commission considers that proposals with an overall duration of typically 36 months would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other durations.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 2 and achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project.

Find more information on the call website.

 

eXtended Reality for Industry 5.0 (IA)

Opening date: 08 December 2022
Deadline date: 29 March 2023

Expected Outcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  • Develop "XR made in Europe", contributing to technological sovereignty.
  • Contribute to develop virtual worlds European platforms.
  • Support the use of XR technologies for a sustainable, human-centric and resilient European industry[1].

Scope:

The following two types of innovation proposals are expected.

  1. The development of XR applications to support companies in all industrial ecosystems, especially SMEs, to use innovative interactive and immersive technologies, increasing their competitiveness, productivity, efficiency and human-centricity. The applications should be robust, gender-neutral safe and trustworthy, especially in terms of cybersecurity, privacy and health issues. Proposals should exploit cross fertilisation between academics, industry representatives and end-users around well thought-out scenarios. Moreover, proposals should include activities to showcase the results, widely disseminating and exploiting the outcomes.
  2. The creation of a European reference platform aiming to develop and prototype advanced interoperable XR solutions to solve common challenges encountered by the industry (in areas such as assembly, maintenance, remote operation, training, design, logistics, etc.), placing the wellbeing of workers at the centre of the production process. The platform will be populated with third party-projects exploring a wide range of XR technologies and taking benefit of other emerging technologies (such as 5G/6G, IoT, data, artificial intelligence, edge and cloud computing, and microelectronics). In order to facilitate the integration with existing IT systems and policies, the EU XR platform for industry should prioritize XR content, tools and solutions based on open standards, such as OpenXR and WebXR. The solutions provided by the platform should aim to cover as many industry ecosystems as possible. Involvement of end-users is essential in defining specifications and testing.

At least one proposal of both innovation type i and innovation type ii will be funded.

Financial support to third parties

The type ii innovation action should provide financial support to third-party projects from outstanding XR innovators, SMEs and other multidisciplinary actors through a minimum of three open calls during the lifetime of the project.

As support and mobilising of XR innovators is key to the type ii IA of this topic, a minimum of 60% of the total requested EU contribution should be allocated to financial support to the third parties. Proposals should define a coherent and coordinated programme logic for the third-party projects, offering the necessary technical support, coaching and mentoring, to ensure a significant advancement and impact in the innovation domain, including in terms of interoperability and standardisation. These tasks should be financed outside of the minimum allocated share for financial support to third parties.

Proposals should make explicit the intervention logic for the area and their potential to attract relevant top XR talents and to deliver a solid value-added to the third-party projects. Proposals should also prove the expertise and capacity of the consortium in managing the full life-cycle of the open calls transparently and efficiently.

The Commission considers that proposals with an overall duration of typically 36 months would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other durations.

Third parties in type ii should be funded through projects typically in the EUR 250 000 to 500 000 range per project, with indicative duration of 12 to 15 months.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 4 and achieve TRL 7-8 by the end of the project.

[1] The term industry in this context encompasses all ecosystems defined in the European industrial strategy.

Find more information on the call website.

 

High-precision OR complex product manufacturing – potentially including the use of photonics

Opening date: 08 December 2022
Deadline date: 20 April 2023

Expected Outcome:

Manufacturing industry will benefit from the following outcomes:

  • High-precision manufacturing and/or manufacturing of products with complex geometries or structures; embedded electronics, optics or photonics; surfaces and surface functionalities; and multi-process manufacturing;
  • Highly resilient and flexible production lines, enabling highly customised products across a wide range of markets, and ensuring open strategic autonomy for the manufacturing industry of the Union and Associated Countries.
  • Significant reductions in the use of materials, waste, defects and energy consumption, which also lead indirectly to reductions in GHG emissions.
  • Fostering the competitiveness of the European manufacturing industry, in general and (only in the relevant projects) in the field of laser machine tools and within the laser markets in particular.

Scope:

Products are increasingly complex, e.g. in terms of geometries, structures, embedded and structural electronics, optics or photonics, micro-, nano- or bio-mimetic features or advanced and composite materials. Further constraints arise from new requirements of sustainability in production processes (resource and energy efficiency). In particular components and products have to be manufactured anticipating the fact that they would be disassembled, re-used re-manufactured or recycled.

To maintain technological autonomy and to enable the viable and sustainable manufacturing of high-tech products, innovative advanced manufacturing processes should be developed. Digital models make development, production, and operation of complex products manageable.

Proposals should address the following:

  • Advancement and demonstration of significant improvements in smart production technologies to manufacture complex products such as additive manufacturing, multi-process manufacturing, injection manufacturing, functional printing, intelligent and autonomous handling, shaping, joining, coating, and assembly technologies;

OR

  • Advancement in high-precision manufacturing technologies, including for example mechanical machining, super-polishing, surface texturing, thin film coating, etching and electrochemical machining, handling and assembly processes, to achieve new product functionalities.

OR

  • highly customised laser-based production including new and advanced methods, for example schemes of adapting laser beams and processes to provide a highly precise distribution of photons at the right place and at the right time.

Proposals should indicate which approach they are targeting.

Proposals may also propose to combine more than one of the above approaches when justified for specific high-tech product. For these cases, proposals should still indicate which of the approaches is the primary/main one.

Proposals are also allowed to combine two of the approaches above, provided there is added value in such a combined approach. Arbitrary combinations without integration are excluded.

In all cases, process development will be required to demonstrate and validate the benefits the technologies in flexible and individualised manufacturing processes, minimising waste, defects, energy consumption and emissions; and enabling sustainable, innovative and improved products. The quality of the new products should be validated according to the most advanced metrology capacities, and life cycle assessment should be considered.

The focus can be, for example, on addressing demands in healthcare, automotive, maritime and aviation industries, energy generation or environmental areas.

Proposals could additionally consider one or more of the following, only provided this brings added value:

  • Use of novel sustainable and smart materials to achieve same or higher technical features in products while reducing environmental impact and waste;
  • Parallel product and manufacturing engineering, developing cyber physical systems, e.g. digital twins, to manage complex production using data spaces across the whole value chain;
  • Flexible and collaborative robots and multi-axis machines, to improve their accuracy to high-precision manufacturing;
  • Multiscale physics-based models and machine learning/AI methodologies to improve prediction capacity/optimisation in manufacturing, remanufacturing and reuse;
  • Management of data;
  • Suitable, robust and traceable in-process process and dimension control

Links may be established with relevant cases emerging from the CSA project HORIZON-CL4-2023-RESILIENCE-01-39.

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. Where relevant, interoperability for data sharing should be addressed.

Interoperability for data sharing should be addressed, focusing on open and trustful federated concepts and standards, enabling effective cross-domain data communities, new data-driven markets, and the Digital Product Passport initiative.

Additionally, a strategy for skills development should be presented, associating social partners where 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 Partnerships Made in Europe and Photonics.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 5 and achieve TRL 7 by the end of the project.

Find more information on the call website.

 

Photonics Innovation Factory for Europe (IA)

Opening date: 15 November 2023
Deadline date: 19 March 2024

Expected Outcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  • Substantially improved penetration of core photonics technologies into multiple end-user application domains and industry sectors, in particular through carefully selected SMEs and new start-ups with the strongest potential for high impact in terms of business growth and employment, enabling a demonstrably more competitive and technologically sovereign European industry.
  • Creation of a sustainable streamlined ecosystem for photonics innovation in Europe from TRL 2-7, providing European Cross-Border Added Value with a high leveraging effect on investments made at national and regional level in photonics.

Scope:

The aim is to provide a virtual factory with a flexible and open structure, allowing for a multiplicity of competitive actors and services operating as a sustainable fully integrated European ecosystem of cross-border deep innovation support in core photonics technologies for the benefit of European industry. The factory should lower the entry threshold to photonics and facilitate the broad uptake and integration of these technologies in new products and processes with high potential impact in the market and on society.

It should help speed up the deployment of proven photonics technologies within European industry in order to increase its global competitiveness, with an emphasis on technological sovereignty and resilience while also fostering strong new enterprise business growth. Care will be taken that it will not compete with existing commercial offers.

Proposals should address the following:

A streamlined virtual access, supported through a network of competence centers acting as a single consortium, to a supply chain which offers a broad range of photonics technologies that cover the entire photonics innovation spectrum from concept to commercialization (TRL2-7).

The action should create pathways from initial concept through to production, employing scalable manufacturing methods connected to pilot lines and pre-series production facilities appropriate to the market, and thereby closing the gaps in photonics value chains and unlocking investments in European manufacturing based on more complete and mature solutions.

The action needs to target primarily first users and early adopters enabling the wider uptake and deployment of core photonic technologies in innovative products and processes with strong commercial potential.

Support cases should be innovative and industrially relevant, requiring intensive cross-border collaborative expert intervention to overcome specific innovation challenges based on synergetic photonics core technologies, and should include business-related coaching activities directly linked to the innovation activities to support industrialization steps to full commercial launch as a complete value chain appropriate to the market needs.

Users and early adopters may start individual support cases at different levels of technology readiness depending on their needs: TRL 2 may be useful for researchers using photonic technologies whereas industrial users may start higher, e.g. at TRL 4 or 5. Support cases should increase the start TRL by at least two levels. All actions taken together should cover TRL work between 2 and 7.

The action should build on relevant previous European initiatives and existing infrastructure at European and regional levels, use an appropriate quality management and impact measurement framework for the direct innovation support interventions, demonstrate a record of accomplishment in supporting industry, in particular SMEs and start-ups, with deep cross-border innovation support.

The action should provide strong linkages with established European Photonics industry and investment networks such as the Enterprise Europe Network, as well as (pan-) European Digital Innovation Hubs and cluster organizations in both the photonics and photonics-enabled application domains.

The action should address innovation-readiness support in the form of Demonstration Centers and Experience Centers to help prepare business cases plus additional supports such as technology, business, investment, and intellectual property coaching aimed at maximizing the potential future commercial impacts from the innovation support activities. The action should also be capable of demonstrating a strong business plan towards durable funding and sustainability of its activities.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership Photonics.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 2-5 and achieve TRL 4-7 by the end of the project.

Find more information in the call website.

 


Smart photonics for joint communication & sensing and access everywhere (RIA)

Opening date: 15 November 2023
Deadline date: 19 March 2024

Expected Outcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  • Sensors/probes to monitor the quality of the communication network and of photonic signals transported in the communication network
  • Methods to use the network as large-scale distributed sensor
  • Development of foundational optical technologies, systems and networks that provide the future access infrastructure

Scope:

Proposals should address at least one of the following activity areas:

  • Light-based solutions to let the communication network sense, while transporting data, for example
    • To enhance the security and resilience of the network
    • To make network resources more energy efficient
    • To warn and protect against natural disasters, earthquakes etc.
    • To monitor the infrastructure where the fibre is deployed (traffic, stress in bridges...)
  • Light-based solutions to bring internet everywhere, with the most relevant access technologies
    • Fiber to the home, fiber to the antenna or fiber to the sky (satellite), for example with coherent passive optical networks, free space optics, Lifi or optical beamforming and steering
    • while enabling the integration of all access technologies in one system

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership Photonics.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 2 and achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project.

Find more information on the call website.

 


Space technologies for European non-dependence and competitiveness

Opening date: 21 November 2023
Deadline date: 20 February 2024

Expected Outcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  • To reduce the dependence on critical technologies and capabilities from outside EU for the EU space programme components (i.e. Galileo/EGNOS, Copernicus, Govsatcom and SSA) and other space applications;
  • To develop or regain in the mid-term the European capacity to operate independently in space;
  • To enhance the technical capabilities and overall competitiveness of European space industry vendors on the worldwide market;
  • To open new competition opportunities for European manufacturers by reducing dependency on export restricted technologies that are of strategic importance to future European space efforts;
  • To improve the overall European space technology landscape and complement and/or create synergy with activities of European and national programmes either in the space or non-space fields.

Scope:

Research and innovation to mature critical space technologies that currently have dependency issues for use in the EU space programme components and discussed within the frame of the European Commission-ESA-EDA Joint Task Force (JTF).

The technology areas are:

  • Low shock Non-Explosive Actuators (NEA) for smallsats [Target TRL 7]
  • High data rate (12.5 to 28 Gbps or higher 56 Gbps), low consumption, short range links [Target TRL 7]
  • Power laser sources in the eye-safe region [Target TRL 6]
  • Enhanced performance and space qualified detectors – visible range [Target TRL 7-8]
  • Ultra Deep Submicron technology for next generation space integrated circuits: ASICS, FPGA and microprocessors [Target TRL 5]
  • Discrete power devices (200V normally-off GaN) [Target TRL 7]
  • Photonics components [Target TRL 7]

Context information and high-level requirements, including description of scope, initial and target TRLs, and, where applicable, references and information of related activities, are provided in the technical guidance document published on the Funding & Tenders Portal outlining all relevant information to the selected actions.

A proposal should address only one technology area, which must be clearly identified.

Technological spin in and/or bilateral collaborations should be enhanced between European non-space and space industries, including technology research institutes and academia.

To achieve the non-dependence objective, applicants should

  • Describe in the proposal the technologies and/or technology processes to be used and demonstrate that they are free of any legal export restrictions or limitations, such as those established in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Export Administration regulation (EAR) such as EAR99 or equivalent instruments applicable in other non-EU jurisdictions;
  • Set up and describe in the proposal a suitable technology development process aiming at avoiding export restrictions of non-EU states and assess vulnerabilities of the supply chain.
  • In the proposal, define specific tasks as part of the work plan, with the objective of:
    1. analyse and describe in detail the supply chain, each entity and its role in the supply chain, and if relevant identify critical dependencies from outside EU;
    2. Develop the technical roadmap and a business plan for commercialization, space mission insertion, including time to market indication, of the developed product.

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

Unless otherwise agreed with the granting authority, beneficiaries must ensure that none of the entities that participate as affiliated entities, associated partners or subcontractors are established in countries which are not eligible countries or target countries set out in the call conditions.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 5-8 by the end of the project. However, the target TRL may be different from technology line to technology line – The reference TRL definition is the ISO 16290:2013 applicable to the space sector.

Find more information on the call website.

EU Mission Cancer

Addressing poorly-understood tumour-host interactions to enhance immune system-centred treatment and care interventions in childhood, adolescent, adult and elderly cancer patients

Opening date: 12 January 2023
Deadline date: 12 April 2023

Expected Outcome:

Proposals under this topic should aim to deliver results that are directed and tailored towards, and to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Researchers and health professionals understand tumour-host processes that spur cancer development and progression in patients and how this forms the basis for the future design and optimisation of treatment or care interventions for poorly-understood cancers and their subtypes, including in children, adolescents, adults and the elderly.
  • Researchers, innovators, and professionals from different disciplines and sectors ensure accessibility and re-usability of their data, models, tools and technology to support the UNCAN.eu[1] platform, which is currently in preparation.
  • Health policy makers are aware of an improved understanding of tumour-host interactions in cancer patients that would allow the co-design of cancer-related innovation and health policies in the Member States, Associated Countries and beyond, including those aimed at delivering treatment and care developing care solutions for and with cancer patients.

Scope:

This topic will contribute to the achievement of the Mission's objective to better understand cancer by studying tumour-host interactions underpinning the development and progression of cancer, including in advanced localised or metastatic disease. The focus should be on poorly-understood[2] cancers and their subtypes in children, adolescents, adults and the elderly.

Despite important progress and recent successes with, for example immune system-centred therapeutic interventions[3] understanding of tumour-host interactions in cancer patients remains incomplete. Challenges include uncovering which patients benefit from interventions or risk potentially debilitating side-effects, as well as ensuring affordability of interventions across Europe, across all age groups. This requires a new dimension and level of investment in innovative research with a view to intercept disease. It also requires investing in high-risk, high-reward research projects to deliver a proof-of-concept of potentially disruptive new approaches. These approaches include monitoring treatment and disease progression and disclosing disease pathways, such as through single-cell -omics technologies, innovative disease models, advanced imaging technologies, or artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Proposals should address all of the following:

  • Obtain a systematic understanding of processes underpinning tumour-host interactions in poorly-understood cancers and their subtypes in childhood, adolescent, adult and elderly cancer patients. Applicants should take into account social, ethnical, cultural and gender aspects, with a focus on the transition from a healthy state to cancer initiation and progression, including in advanced localised or metastatic disease (where relevant), using any relevant in silico, in vitro, in vivo, ex vivo, preclinical, or clinical disease models as well as computational, simulation and visualisation tools and technologies where appropriate.
  • Combine knowledge and high-quality data from biomedical and clinical studies, and real-world data, using advanced digital tools and technologies such as computer modelling and artificial intelligence with the objective to understand relevant tumour-host interactions and their impact on treatment and care solutions for cancer patients.
  • Demonstrate access to and use of multiple comprehensive databases in and beyond health research or health domains. Proposals should build on longitudinal clinically annotated, stratified patient cohorts, case-control studies, biobanks, registries and many other initiatives[4], use state-of-the art digital and other tools for data analyses and modelling, wherever possible.
  • Based on results obtained, propose socially acceptable, affordable novel treatment or care interventions or health technologies for uptake into health systems in the areas of treatment or care, using approaches that involve the end-user using participative research models.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.

Due consideration should be given to EU-funded initiatives such as: HealthyCloud[5], EOSC-Life[6], the Photonics21 partnership – including its Photon Hub Europe support service[7], the Innovative Health Initiative partnership[8], the European Health Data Space (EHDS) Joint Action[9], 1+ Million Genomes (1+MG)[10] / Beyond One Million Genomes (B1MG)[11], the EBrains[12] research infrastructure and the EIT Health Knowledge Innovation Community initiatives[13]. Links with the research infrastructure projects EOSC4cancer[14] and canSERV[15], as well as projects funded by other EU programmes[16] are encouraged.

Successful applicants will be asked to liaise with these and other initiatives where applicable[17]. The successful proposals are expected to liaise with and build on resources made available by the Knowledge Centre on Cancer (KCC)[18] in order to foster EU alignment and coordination.

The Commission will facilitate Mission-specific coordination through future actions, notably fostering exchanges with other proposals funded under this topic. Hence, successful applicants will be asked to join the 'Understanding' cluster for the Mission on Cancer established in 2022[19]. In this regard, the Commission will take on the role of facilitator, including with relevant initiatives and stakeholders, if appropriate.

Therefore, proposals should include a budget for networking, attendance at meetings, and potential joint activities without the prerequisite to give details of these at this stage. Examples of these activities are the organisation of joint workshops, the exchange of knowledge, the establishment of best practices, or the initiation of joint communication activities with projects funded under other clusters and pillars of Horizon Europe, or other EU programmes, as appropriate. The details of joint activities will be defined during the grant agreement preparation phase and during the life of the project.

[1]Under the Mission work programme a Europe-wide research and data platform, UNCAN.eu, will be established, utilising existing, relevant research infrastructures. Once operational, the platform should enable integration of innovative models and technologies with longitudinal patient data, data beyong research, or the health domain, samples and biomarkers for translation to patients. The 4.UNCAN.eu project is preparing a blueprint. See: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101069496)

[2] Includes refractory cancers and their subtypes, at any stage of the disease in any age group and part of society, with a 5-year overall survival less than 50% from time of diagnosis.

[3]Such as cell-based and oncolytic viral therapy, therapeutic antibodies, therapeutic DNA, RNA and peptide vaccines; and multimodal interventions combining surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy with immune system-centred interventions

[4] Many retrospective, prospective cohorts, case-control studies and initiatives -in health and well-beyond health- at local, regional, national, European and international level, exist.

[5]https://healthycloud.eu/

[6]https://www.eosc-life.eu

[7]https://www.photonics21.org/index.php; Photon Hub Europe: https://www.photonhub.eu

[8]https://www.ihi.europa.eu/

[9]https://tehdas.eu/

[10]https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/1-million-genomes

[11]https://b1mg-project.eu/

[12]https://ebrains.eu/

[13]https://eithealth.eu/who-we-are/

[14]https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/how-to-participate/org-details/999999999/project/101058427/program/43108390/details

[15]https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101058620

[16]E.g. pilot projects on artificial intelligence for diagnosis and treatment of paediatric cancer selected for funding from the calls PPPA-AIPC-2020 and PPPA-AIPC-2021; Joint Action "JANE" under the EU4Health programme ("Network of Comprehensive Cancer Centres: Establishment of new EU Network of Expertise on Cancers and Cancer Conditions").

[17] Applicants are not expected to contact these initiatives before the submission of proposals.

[18]Hosted by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). Especially through the 'European Guidelines and Quality Assurance Schemes for Breast, Colorectal and Cervical Cancer Screening and Diagnosis', and the 'European Cancer Information System (ECIS)' and the 'European Cancer Inequalities Registry (ECIR), see https://knowledge4policy.ec.europa.eu/cancer_en

[19]In order to address the objectives of the Mission on Cancer, participants will collaborate in project clusters to leverage EU-funding, increase networking across sectors and disciplines, and establish a portfolio of Cancer Mission R&I and policy actions.

Find more information on the call website.

 

Find all open Horizon Europe calls on the CORDIS 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.