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Information and Communication Technologies

27 October 2017


Call summary

It is expected that this call will continue in 2020.

Drawing on the success of actions of previous work programmes leveraging cascading grants to enable agility and reach out to new or key actors in the innovation chain (such as SMEs and mid-caps) not necessarily involved in standard EU R&I projects, part of the budget allocated to several actions of the Next Generation Internet topics will be dedicated to the support of experiments and smaller projects funded through financial support to third parties (in accordance with article 137 of the Financial Regulation). While their size will be small in comparison with standard Horizon 2020 actions, in line with article 23 (7) of the Rules for Participation the budget to be allocated per third party may exceed the default maximum amount foreseen in the Financial Regulation. Specific limits corresponding to the specific objectives to be addressed, and to the consequent expected scale and duration of the activities to be carried out by third parties are provided for the topics ICT-24-2018-2019, ICT-25-2018-2020, ICT-26-2018-2020, ICT-29-2018, and ICT-30-2019-2020.

Technologies for Digitising European Industry

The following two paragraphs are relevant for the entire 'Technologies for Digitising European Industry' section of the Work Programme, i.e. topics ICT-01 to ICT-10 inclusive.

The Digitising European Industry initiative aims to establish next generation digital platforms and re-build the underlying digital supply chain on which all economic sectors are dependent. The initiative should enable all sector and application areas to adapt, transform and benefit from digitisation, notably by allowing also smaller players to capture value. Digital Platforms are becoming a key factor in one sector after another, enabling new types of services and applications, altering business models and creating new marketplaces. Actions under this heading will provide extensive support to key DEI components in Photonics, Robotics, Manufacturing technologies and Cyber-Physical Systems. Support to Micro-electronics, in particular for higher TRLs, will continue through the ECSEL Joint Undertaking. In addition, innovation hubs and platforms, two key DEI objectives, will be supported through a Focus Area on Digitisation and Transformation of the EU industry, implemented in cooperation with other programme parts.

Progress in technologies such as photonics, micro- and nanoelectronics, smart systems and robotics is changing the way we design, produce, commercialise and generate value from products and related services. Recent studies[PwC, opportunities and Challenges of the industrial internet (2015), and Boston Consulting Group: the future of productivity and growth in manufacturing industries (2015)] estimate that digitisation of products and services will add more than 110 B€ of revenue for industry per year in Europe in the next 5 years. Close to a third of the growth of the overall industrial output in Europe is already due to the uptake of digital technologies[estimates by LIFE + series of studies 2016.]The challenge ahead is for the European industry to seize fully and swiftly these opportunities. This is essential to ensure Europe's mid and long term competitiveness with implications for overall welfare. The purpose of the topics proposed under this heading is to ensure European industry is supported in further developing the building blocks of the digital transformation.

European Data Infrastructure: HPC, Big Data and Cloud technologies

The following three paragraphs are relevant for the entire 'European Data Infrastructure: HPC, Big Data and Claud technologies' section of the Work Programme, i.e. topics ICT-11 to ICT-16 inclusive.

The European Cloud Initiative calls for the creation of a leading-class European Data Infrastructure (EDI) as an essential component to exploit the data revolution in Europe and contribute to global growth. The aim of the activities under this heading is to enable the creation of a world-class High Performance Computing (HPC) / Big Data (BD) ecosystem based on European leadership in HPC, Cloud and Big Data technologies. This ecosystem will strengthen the European technology supply in these areas and will provide innovative, usable and competitive solutions that satisfy the demands of users of the European Data Infrastructure.

A synergetic approach to support the creation of a European Data Infrastructure and a European Data Economy is promoted, complementing the relevant activities in the e-Infrastructures and FET work programmes 2018-2020.

The Copernicus Data and Information Access Services (DIAS) will contribute to EDI by making Copernicus' huge amount of data available within an efficient computing environment.


The following three paragraphs are relevant for the entire '5G' section of the Work Programme, i.e. topics ICT-17 to ICT-23 inclusive. 

5G cPPP phases 1 and 2 have supported R&I on technologies and architectures for 5G. Phase 3 targets their validation in a system context and for multiple use cases, with performances well beyond those of early 5G trials planned over the 2018-20 period with "non standalone" 5G implementations, and supporting innovative "vertical" use cases as per the 5G Action Plan adopted by the Commission. It also aims at leveraging 5G technologies towards downstream innovation both at service and product levels, at maintaining a significant long term commitment to prepare for 5G "Long Term Evolution", and at leveraging international cooperation towards industrial consensus on 5G key aspects such as interoperability, architecture, standards, and spectrum.

Activities under this heading are intended to support EU 5G policy as outlined in the context of the 5G Action Plan[[Doc COM(2016) 588: 5G for Europe, an Action Plan]]whilst implementing the last phase of the 5G cPPP roadmap. They should significantly contribute to building a first class European industrial supply side for core 5G technologies with global market footprints and notably for network technologies and systems. They will support the emergence of new innovative market players taking advantage of the growing adoption of distributed cloud computing technologies in 5G networks and making possible open innovation at service level. In that context, the work also supports the needed transformation of the telecom industry with a growing part of the activities moving from hardware to software in the context of an increased virtualisation of networks. In the context of the EU standardisation and Spectrum policies, the work contributes to the emergence of global standards and globally harmonised frequency bands for 5G, in view of the important decision milestones planned at the level of global relevant bodies like 3G PP and ITU. This 5G PPP phase also develops the "lead" demand side with support to partnerships with key vertical sectors like automotive, healthcare, energy, media, smart factories in view of developing new connected digital markets contributing to the wider policy objectives of industry digitisation of the Digital Single Market.

Complementary grant agreements will be implemented across projects originating from RIA, IA and CSA implemented under ICT-17-2018, ICT-18-2018, ICT-19-2019, ICT-20-2019 through use of the respective options of Article 2, Article 31.6 and Article 41.4 of the Model Grant Agreement.

Next Generation Internet (NGI)

The following five paragraphs are relevant for the entire 'Next Generation Internet (NGI)' section of the Work Programme, i.e. topics ICT-24 to ICT-31 inclusive.

A number of technological trends will thoroughly reshape the internet over the next 10-15 years. Europe should drive this technology revolution while contributing to making the future internet more human-centric. An internet for the people, that contributes to a more sustainable and inclusive society.

Increasingly these technological trends influence each other and a programme targeted towards the Next Generation Internet must consider them in a holistic way.

  • Future Interactive Technologies will allow users to access, process and deliver information in more natural, efficient and less intrusive ways, providing enhanced and personalized experiences;.
  • Advances in Artificial Intelligence are critical to turn information into knowledge and to embed autonomy and intelligence into networks, robots and other connected devices;.
  • Internet of Things technologies and applications are changing the way users, services and applications interact with the real world environment in a trusted way.
  • Future social networks, media and platforms will transform the way we produce, consume and interact with content, services and objects, within and across users' groups and will become the way our societies operate for communication, exchange, business, creation and knowledge acquisition.
  • The Next Generation Internet will be multilingual and inclusive. Advances in language technologies will help eliminate language barriers. NGI technologies will also help to provide a new quality in Digital Learning as smart, open, inclusive and personalised learning solutions will be tailored to each individual’s needs, competences and abilities.

In addition, cutting across technologies, the Open Internet Initiative, based on an agile and flexible programme approach, will focus on research teams, hi-tech start-ups, SMEs and social innovators, and will rapidly explore promising avenues for the Internet of the future.

The topics addressed here form a coherent and integrated package. Coordination and support actions will be called upon to cut across topics and benefit from synergies.

The upcoming 'digital era' and 'hyper-connected society' must be based on principles that are in line with our values like openness, neutrality, cooperation, inclusion, transparency, protection of data and privacy. The topics proposed under this heading will contribute ensuring that, through the Next Generation Internet, the immense potential of artificial intelligence, the connection with the physical world, the interactive technologies and immersive environments, as well as the massive networks of people and machines are used to empower people and contribute to sustainable and inclusive societies. The Next Generation Internet should be an Internet that is dependable and trustable, creating new usage and new business opportunities making Europe a trusted hub globally. It also has to be a source of creativity, directly supporting the cultural and creative industries [Cultural and Creative Industries are mainly composed by the following sectors: advertising, architecture, arts, craft, design, fashion, films, music, press, publishing, radio, TV and video games]and its media sector. It has to be at the heart of the industry 4.0 revolution and the digitization of industry, being an essential driver for the competitiveness of European industry.