Horizon 2020 puts its weight behind high value manufacturing

18 Dec 2013 | News
The work programme on Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies, Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology and Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, aims both to bring new materials into use and to improve manufacturing processes and systems overall

The programme consists of five separate elements, looking at nanotechnologies and other advanced materials; biotechnology, factories of the future, energy efficient buildings and sustainable process industries

Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials and Production

This call includes topics on nanotechnologies, advanced materials and production. So for example, Bridging the gap between nanotechnology research and markets will carry out work in three of the key European nano-enabled industrial value chains: lightweight multifunctional materials and sustainable composites; structured surfaces; and functional fluids. 

Although there is clear potential here, a number of barriers stand in the way of large-scale market introduction of safe and sustainable products. This challenge will therefore support the next steps towards the deployment and market introduction of lightweight, nano-enabled products for different applications, by scaling up laboratory experience to industrial scale and demonstrating the viability of a variety of manufacturing technologies.

The main requirement is to develop seamless integration of technologies and processing for using nanomaterials in production; to improve the control and monitoring of the conditions required for the use of nanomaterials in industrial processes, including metrology; to increase the level of robustness and repeatability of such industrial processes; to optimise and evaluate the increased performance and functionality of the product and of the production line.

Other areas covered in this call are the use of nanotechnologies in healthcare; low carbon energy technologies and energy efficiency; exploiting the cross-sector potential of nanotechnologies and advanced materials; and governance, standards and models.

There is €230.70 million on offer in 2014 and €254 million in 2015, under this call.


Biotechnology has the power to drive long term sustainability and growth across a number of sectors. Within the challenge “Biotechnology-based industrial processes driving competitiveness and sustainability” activities are aimed at bridging the gap from lab to market and at creating a path for participants in projects, in particular SMEs and large industries, to continue investing in commercialisation. The challenges “Cutting-edge biotechnologies as future innovation driver” and “Innovative and competitive platform technologies” will develop generic technological enablers across sectors including health, agriculture and industry. The topics are broad, to allow one or several projects with complementary approaches to be funded under a single topic.

Some areas such as synthetic biology raise ethical and safety concerns and ethical issues will be embedded in the corresponding topics. Funding for biotechnology will be €51.7 million in 2014 and €32 million in 2015.

Factories of the Future 

Manufacturing in Europe provides about 20 per cent of all jobs, employing more than 30 million, in 25 different industrial sectors and over 2 million companies, largely dominated by SMEs. Each job on the factory floor generates two other jobs in services. Turnover in 2010 was approximately € 6,400 billion with a value added of more than €1,500 billion. 

A long-term shift from a cost-based competitive advantage to one based on high added value requires that European manufacturing increases its technological base and develops a number of enabling trans-sectorial production technologies. 

The Factories of the Future Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative aims to help EU manufacturing enterprises, in particular SMEs, to adapt to global competitive pressures by developing key enabling technologies to support EU manufacturing across a broad range of sectors. It will help European industry to meet the increasing global demand for greener, more customised and higher quality products, through the transition to a demand-driven industry with lower waste generation and energy consumption. 

The PPP will concentrate on the development and integration of the key enabling technologies, such as adaptable machines, ICT for manufacturing, and the novel industrial handling of advanced materials.

There will be total funding of €261 million over the next two years, with €116 million to be awarded in 2014 and €145 million in 2015.

Energy-efficient Buildings 

With annual turnover of €1.3 trillion in 2010, the European construction sector and its extended value chain, including material and equipment manufacturers, construction and service companies, is the largest European single activity at 9.6 per cent of GDP. Not only that, the built environment affects the life and work of all EU-citizens.

The construction sector also has a crucial impact on the EU environment and energy policies: buildings use 40 per cent of total EU energy consumption and generate 36 per cent of green house gases. Meanwhile, the replacement rate of the existing stock is very small at 1-2 per cent per year. 

The construction sector is critical to the ambition to decarbonise the European economy by 2050. In order to achieve this objective, the sector must reduce its CO2 emissions by 90 per cent and its energy consumption by as much as 50 per cent. This presents a unique opportunity for sustainable business growth if products and related services for new and refurbished buildings are affordable and durable. 

However, the sector is not only affected by the on-going financial and economic crisis, it is also highly fragmented with over 95 per cent of SMEs. 

The objective of the Energy-efficient Buildings Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Initiative is to drive the creation of a high-tech building industry which turns energy efficiency into a sustainable business, fostering EU competitiveness in the construction sector on a global level. 

Priority will be given to delivering new building technologies, materials and components for energy saving and energy generation, thermal energy storage systems, advanced insulation systems, thermal distribution systems, lighting, windows and glazing, energy generation systems based on renewable sources. 

In the next two years the overall budget will be €50 million in 2014 and €64.00 million in 2015 budget.

Sustainable Process Industries 

Process industries sit at the core of most industrial value chains providing inputs to discrete manufacturing in automotive and housing sectors, for example. The SPIRE Public-Private Partnership (PPP) brings together cement, ceramics, chemicals, engineering, minerals and ores, non-ferrous metals, steel and water sectors.

These all have a high dependence on energy, raw materials and water in their production and processing technologies and a clear and urgent interest in improved efficiency and competitiveness.

The sectors in the SPIRE PPP represent a key part of the manufacturing base in Europe, including more than 450,000 companies, with over 6.8 million employees, generating more than €1,600 billion in annual turnover.
The overall goal of this call is to optimise industrial processing, reducing the consumption of energy and resources, and minimising waste. 

The specific aims are:
  • A reduction in fossil energy intensity of up to 30 per cent from current levels, by 2030. 
  • A reduction of up to 20 per cent in non-renewable, primary raw material intensity compared to current levels by 2030. 
  • A reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 20 per cent below 1999 levels by 2020, with further reductions up to 40 per cent by 2030. 

There will be €60.30 million from the 2014 budget, and €77.00 million from the 2015 budget for this call.

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