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27 October 2017


Call summary and aims

The purpose of this call is to lay the foundations for tomorrow’s industry in Europe, and to create jobs and growth through an innovation ecosystem for the design, development, testing, and upscaling of advanced materials and nanotechnologies. This should enable a vast array of applications and facilitate innovators to bring their disruptive ideas to the market. Success will be seen in an effective eco-system allowing innovators to overcome the technological and regulatory barriers.

The call covers:

  • Open Innovation Test Beds will provide the development and upscaling of advanced materials and nanotechnologies, combining digital, chemical and physical advances for innovative new products and services.
  • Advanced characterisation tools, predictive modelling of materials at different scales, and support for a framework to ensure public safety in nanotechnology.

The call is expected to create about 20 Open Innovation Test Beds for materials development and upscaling in six technology domains, four Open Innovation Test Beds for materials characterisation and four Open Innovation Test Beds for modelling, in addition to the already existing NanoSafety Platform[[]]. These are expected to collaborate in order to create a European ecosystem.

The call will contribute to the focus area on Digitising and Transforming European Industry and Services, by supplying the innovation test beds for upscaling, characterisation and modelling that will complement the digital innovation hubs.

Proposals for Research and Innovation Actions and Innovation Actions submitted under this call should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme except for topics under chapters 1.2 and 1.3.


Open Innovation Test Beds are physical facilities, established in at least three Member States and Associated Countries, offering technology access and services. The objective of Open Innovation Test Beds is to bring nanotechnology and advanced materials within the reach of companies and users in order to advance from validation in a laboratory (TRL 4) to prototypes in industrial environments (TRL 7).

These test beds will allow European industry and SMEs to develop leadership in nanotechnologies and advanced materials across the whole value chain with significant impact on jobs creation and growth.

This should be achieved by developing new or upgrading existing facilities, both private and public, and making them accessible to users for the development, testing and upscaling of nanotechnologies and advanced materials in industrial environments. The Open Innovation Test Beds will also set up networks amongst them to offer complementary services, share experiments and knowledge and offer a single entry point to users.

The Open Innovation Test Beds are expected to form European networks of competences along the entire value chain matching the demands of industry. These networks should reach out to all regions of Europe and create a sustainable ecosystem. This is especially important to European regions that are building or improving their capacities. They will also offer the necessary support environments for users who are planning to set up viable ventures.

They will be expected to become sustainable, by making their facilities and services accessible to industry at fair costs and conditions, and to demonstrate their ability to attract, and interact with, a community of users, investors and other stakeholders from regional to European level.

Proposals should therefore include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the LEIT Introduction in this Work Programme. In particular, they should demonstrate the likelihood of an additional turnover of at least 4 times the requested EU funding, within 5 years after the end of the grant.

Appropriate disciplines of Social Sciences and Humanities should be included from the outset, including broader forms of expertise at early stages of the innovation process, to consider relevant socio-economic, ethical and environmental considerations in the relevant research decisions.

The Open Innovation Test Beds will help users including SMEs to:

       ·     Minimise costs and lower technological risks when adopting new materials and new technologies;

       ·     Tap into relevant competencies and services (including those provided by other test beds and similar initiatives), like computational modelling; characterisation; risk-benefit assessment to ensure regulatory compliance; and the implementation of standardisation efforts early in the technology development process;

       ·     Gain access to services driven by their business needs, such as mentoring, IPR and market analysis.

Open Innovation Test Beds for upscaling nanotechnology and materials will be funded in the following technology domains:

       ·     Lightweight nano-enabled multifunctional materials and components

       ·     Safety Testing of Medical Technologies for Health

       ·     Nano-enabled surfaces and membranes

       ·     Bio-based nano-materials and solutions

       ·     Functional materials for building envelopes

       ·     Nano-pharmaceuticals production

The activities will be supported through the establishment of Open Innovation Test Beds in Characterisation and Modelling (see section 1.2), as well as the already established NanoSafety Platform



Proposals are invited against the following topic(s):








The next generation of industrial products will require further advances in state-of-the-art characterisation tools as well as computational modelling. This can be achieved through the development of new techniques and a new generation of instrumentation, responding to industrial demands. Multi-scale, multi-technique and real-time characterisation and integration with the latest knowledge in materials modelling would lead to a better understanding of and/or discovery of new phenomena and complex functional material systems that are essential for new breakthrough products and industrial competitiveness.

Material characterisation determines materials properties, structure and performance. These activities are central to materials research and development, upscaling and manufacturing of such materials and to materials performance validation in products, to comply with regulation, safety and quality requirements. With the recent growth in available computational power, predictive modelling of materials is now in a position to be used to predict trends, to design new materials, to understand phenomena occurring in measurements and reduce the need of massive experimental testing. This can accelerate innovation and favour economically viable paths to new technological solutions for manufacturing. This is a key application area of High-Performance Computing (HPC) and closely linked with the Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy as a driver for growth.

Materials characterisation and modelling should become an integrated part of industrial R&D, leading the way to the reliable design of new and safe materials and processes, rapid upscaling, and effective quality control. This requires support for the coordination of a wide range of actors and disciplines, covering standards, data quality, Open Research Data, information management, and advances in characterisation tools and modelling.

There is the need to provide industrial users with central access to models and characterisation tools that can meet their specific requirements throughout the value chain. This should be achieved via user-driven Open Innovation Test Beds dedicated to characterisation and to modelling.

All funded projects should contribute actively to the on-going relevant European initiatives, in particular to the EMCC (European Materials Characterisation Council), the EMMC (European Materials Modelling Council), the EPPN (European Pilot Production Network), and similar European clusters and networks.

Proposals are invited against the following topic(s):








Managing the risks of every emerging technology is of key importance for its societal acceptance and consequent possible success. The overall challenge is to establish a suitable form of nanotechnology risk governance and to ensure that beyond the state of the art technologies are accepted by stakeholders (civil society, industry, regulators).

This requires working on three different layers: (i) a scientific research layer for sound foundations, (ii) a regulatory research layer to validate and translate the scientific findings into appropriate regulatory frameworks and implementation, and (iii) a market layer dealing with the daily management of risks and safety. These three distinct layers should be integrated through actions for risk governance, risk assessment and safe by design. Notably nano-informatics approaches offer good chances for innovation. These will include the challenge of ensuring consistency in all EU Member States in terms of risk management.

The present convergence of several sciences and the rapid evolution of novel technologies in the healthcare sector create a need for fast advance in regulatory science in that sector. Development and adoption of reference methods and of technical standards should be based on solid scientific foundation, hence the need for additional activities within regulatory science for medical technology products.

In terms of resources, the regulatory layer should be jointly supported by Horizon 2020, Member States governments and industry whereas at market level, Horizon 2020 should support only the networking and coordination. Proposals in all layers can foresee modalities for integrating additional public or private funding or foresee specific calls for proposals funded by these additional sources. Costs for the organisation of the calls and coordination of the work can be foreseen in proposals' budgets. Such calls can also be used to foster international cooperation in nanosafety.

Proposals in this area should apply the Open Access and the Open Data Access policies and strongly support the activities of EU regulatory bodies and agencies, and of international organisations like ISO, CEN and OECD. To maximise overall synergy and joint impact, projects should take account of the strategy and roadmaps in place, respect and complement the established ontology and the data logging format (ISA-TAB-NANO


), contribute to the objectives of relevant platforms (such as the EU NanoSafety Cluster


or The Nanomedicine Translation Hub) and foresee the necessary resources to this effect.

Nanosafety issues are global and, therefore, international collaboration is strongly encouraged. In particular, all projects in this area are expected to collaborate with similar projects under the established scheme of Communities of Research with the USA NNI programme


and/or to include direct participation of relevant USA entities. In addition, participation from countries actively involved in the work of OECD -WPMN, the NanoSafety Cluster and the NANoREG


project (e.g. South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, South Africa) is strongly encouraged.

Proposals should consider risk-assessment procedures for both men and women, where relevant, and enable a reduction of animal testing in the regulatory compliance.

Proposals are invited against the following topic(s):