5G PPP AND SME INSTRUMENT, special interesting programs

H2020 has just started, as we already announced in the last Netletter. However, it is important to put emphasis in some of the parts of the new H2020 program.

Particular interest should be put on the new 5G PPP and SME programs. These program are of the main interest of i2cat, and we are open to establish collaborations with the R&D and Industrial/SME community. This Netletter will introduce you an overview of these programs and so, offer you the chance to discuss them deeply with the i2CAT’s team.

The 5G-Infrastructure-PPP is a 1.4 Billion Euro joint initiative between the European ICT industry and the European Commission to rethink the infrastructure and to create the Next generation of communication networks and services that will provide ubiquitous super-fast connectivity and seamless service delivery in all circumstances.

Its vision is that in ten years from now, telecom and IT will be integrated towards a common very high capacity ubiquitous infrastructure, with converging capabilities for both fixed and mobile accesses. It will be based on general purpose, programmable and specific high performance hardware that will offer resources for transport, routing, storage and execution. Network elements will become “computing equivalent” equipment that gathers programmable resources, interfaces and functions based on virtualisation technologies.

This program has a set of specific key technological challenges. The development of new communication networks is dependent on the emergence of globally accepted standards in order to ensure interoperability, economies of scale with affordable cost for system deployment and end users. This partnership aims to have European industry driving the development of 5G standards and to develop and exploit at least 20% of the 5G SEP (standards essential patents).

The following parameters are indicative new network characteristics to be achieved at an operational level:

  • Providing 1000 times higher wireless area capacity and more varied service capabilities compared to 2010.
  • Saving up to 90% of energy per service provided. The main focus will be in mobile
  • Communication networks where the dominating energy consumption comes from the radio access network.
  • Reducing the average service creation time cycle from 90 hours to 90 minutes.
  • Creating a secure, reliable and dependable Internet with a “zero perceived” downtime for services provision
  • Facilitating very dense deployments of wireless communication links to connect over 7 trillion wireless devices serving over 7 billion people.
  • Enabling advanced user controlled privacy

 This new high-performance network will be operated via a scalable management framework enabling fast deployment of novel applications, including sensor based applications, with reduction of the network management opex by at least 20% compared to today.

In addition, new lightweight but robust security and authentication metrics suitable for a new era of pervasive multi domain virtualised networks and services will have to be provided.

The other program is the SME instrument. It aims at funding high-potential innovation. Provided with about € 3 billion in funding over the period 2014-2020, the SME Instrument helps high-potential SMEs to develop groundbreaking innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to face global market competition. Available to SMEs only, which can however organise a project in the way that best fits their business needs – meaning that subcontracting is not excluded – the new scheme has opened a new highway to innovation through phased, progressive and complimentary support.

The dedicated SME instrument's supports close-to-market activities, with the aim to give a strong boost to breakthrough innovation. Highly innovative SMEs with a clear commercial ambition and a potential for high growth and internationalization are the prime target. The SME instrument is divided into different phases (explained below) and composed by different calls. While access to phase 2 is always followed by having had success in a phase 1 call, this time it is different. Since it is the first call, project proposals participating in directly in phase 2 do not need to be successful projects from phase 1. Thus, any proposal coming from a SME, even if it has not previously been founded in phase 1, will be accepted.

First SME call (phase 1) is starting in June 10th, but it will be followed by many other calls, two more for Phase 1 during 2015, and another for Phase 2

The SME Instrument offers small and medium-sized businesses the following:

  • Business innovation grants for feasibility assessment purposes (optional phase I): EUR 50,000 (lump sum) per project (70% of total project costs);
  • Business innovation grants for innovation development & demonstration purposes (possible phase II): an amount in the indicative range of EUR 500,000 and 2,5 million (70% of total cost of the project as a general rule);
  • Free-of-charge business coaching (optional in phases I and II), in order to support and enhance the firm’s innovation capacity and help align the project to strategic business needs;
  • Access to a wide range of innovation support services and facilitated access to risk finance (mostly in optional phase III), to facilitate the commercial exploitation of the innovation.

These phases are as follows:

Feasibility assessment (phase 1)

Funding is available for: exploring and assessing the technical feasibility and commercial potential of a breakthrough innovation that a company wants to exploit and commercialize. Activities funded could be: risk assessment, design or market studies, intellectual property exploration; the ultimate goal is to put a new product, service or process in the market, possibly through an innovative application of existing technologies, methodologies, or business processes.

The project should be aligned to the business strategy, helping internal growth or targeting a transnational business opportunity.

Innovation project (phase 2)

Funding is available for: innovation projects underpinned by a sound and strategic business plan (potentially elaborated and partially funded through phase 1 of the SME Instrument).

Activities funded in phase 2 can be of several types: prototyping, miniaturization, scaling-up, design, performance verification, testing, demonstration, development of pilot lines, validation for market replication, including other activities aimed at bringing innovation to investment readiness and maturity for market take-up.

Commercialization (phase 3)

With the view of facilitating the commercial exploitation of the innovation activities resulting from phase 1 or phase 2, specific activities will be proposed. These can include support for further developing investment readiness, linking with private investors and customers through brokerage activities, assistance in applying for further EU risk finance, and a range of other innovation support activities and services offered via the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN).

In case of interested to receive support, or participating in any of these programs, i2cat is very keen to offer support and collaborate with you.

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