July 10, 2020

1743 words 9 mins read

New digital partnerships to promote Europes push for technology sovereignty

New digital partnerships to promote Europes push for technology sovereignty

Next year will see the launch of five new public-private research partnerships in digital technologies that aim to put more flesh on the bones of EU ambitions to achieve greater technology sovereignty and to ensure European principles and ethics underpin products such as robots, machine learning, autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence.

“We are doing this for our European values,” said Th

omas Hahn, the president of the Big Data Value Association (BDVA), the industry group behind the one of the partnerships, in Artificial Intelligence, Data and Robotics, and chief software expert at Siemens. “We have to increase our momentum in Europe,” Hahn said. “We have to push this forward in a clever way.”

The AI partnership has set the objectives of boosting new markets and applications and attracting investment, to create technical, economic and societal value for business, citizens and the environment. “Europe can and must be in seven years the pacemaker – and we have a powerful network between startups, SMEs, big companies, research institutes and government doing this,” said Hahn.

Similarly, Colin Willcock, chair of the 5G Infrastructure Association, the group behind the partnership in smart networks and services, and head of radio network standardisation at Nokia, said Europe must be able to shape its cellular networks to align with European values in areas like data protection. “If we are basing all our future industry on this infrastructure, the ability to influence it is very important,” he said.

Cellular networks are stretching their tentacles into more and more communication-dependent applications. Faster networks are key to autonomous vehicles, the internet of things, smart cities and virtual reality. “All of these [are] areas we can apply these mobile communication and we can get huge advantages,” said Willcock.

The goal of the smart networks partnership is to strengthen 5G networks, to enable industrial leadership, while simultaneously laying the foundation for next generation 6G. Working together, industry partners, including non-European companies, can set the route to 6G, working on proof of concept for the underpinning technologies, in preparation for the start of deployment in 2030.

“If we do not have the ability to create and influence that technology in Europe, it will not meet the requirement and constraints of the European market,” said Willcock. “It is vital that we have some sort of technological sovereignty.”

The other three digital technology partnerships are in high performance computing; key digital technologies; and photonics. Taken together, the five public private partnerships will form the digital cluster of the 40 or so research partnerships due to be set up under EU’s next research programme, Horizon Europe.

Within the digital cluster, all five are interlinked and interdependent. Many AI tools need 5G to run efficiently, while AI is needed to process the massive amount of data generated by 5G networks. For Europe to be able to shape the development of these sectors according to its regulations and priorities, such as protection of personal data and human-centric AI, it must have a grip on all the key technologies.

However, this does not mean that Europe should produce all its own technology. It is about shaping the technology that is coming out according to Europe’s priorities. The key is understanding the whole value chain from digital infrastructure to dataspaces, on to applying data solutions in different industries, while involving players from other parts of the world in the process, says Hahn.

The goal is to empower the entire value chain, not just the producers of the technology, said Ana Garcia, director general of BDVA. “We really want to see in 2027 that we have developed the trust, the skills, the tools, and make sure that different sectors, including the public sector can safely adopt technologies based on safe AI, data, robotics.”

A BVDA position paper published this week says Europe’s two major internationally distinguishing realities in this area - of a diversified business landscape and an ethics-driven regulatory framework, “Should be considered as strengths, rather than weaknesses.” If appropriately tapped into, Europe’s higher business diversity can enable it to compete with regions dominated by large players that monopolise the market and possess large data assets, the paper says.

The five digital partnerships plan to work with each other to ensure take-up of their respective technologies. “We do not only want to develop the [data and AI] usage part, but we want our technology providers to be competitive with non-European ones in a way that we develop our own technologies. This takes into consideration the whole technology value chain,” said Garcia.

However, Willcock said that despite ongoing discussions with different partnerships, the talks lack structure. “It is a worry how we can work with so many at the same time,” he said. One answer could be bringing all digital cluster partnerships together once a year to discuss how they can take a joint approach. “We have been trying to break these silos, but there is no overall picture. It is pretty hazy,” he said.

The European Commission is currently assessing the partnership proposals. Once the 2021 – 2027 EU budget is agreed, the European Parliament and the Council must agree the plans, including details of potential synergies between partnerships.

Other digital partnerships include:

High performance computing

In 2018, the commission launched a public-private partnership to acquiring and install supercomputers around Europe. In September, it announced the EU budget, member state and industry investment in the partnership will be boosted to €8 billion for the next seven years.

With more money, the EU hopes to improve its supercomputer capacity and produce its own machines, reducing Europe’s dependence on foreign hardware suppliers. EuroHPC will set Europe on the path to becoming “the most modern continent when it comes to data processing,” said EU internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton.


Another partnership will deal with photonics technologies that underpin smartphones, lasers, and many medical instruments. The goal of the partnership will be to strengthen core photonics technologies to ensure Europe’s competitiveness and technical sovereignty, enhance the photonics innovation ecosystem in Europe, and involve downstream sectors in setting priorities for the industry.

Author: Goda Naujokaitytė

Date: 2020-11-05

URL: https://sciencebusiness.net/news/new-digital-partnerships-promote-europes-push-technology-sovereignty


Scramble for post-Brexit deal leaves science on a cliff hanger (2020-11-24) As Brexit trade negotiations enter the last stretch the stakes for science remain uncomfortably high With the EU and the UK racing to conclude a deal on their future trading relationship before the post-Brexit transition period ends on December 31 talks about the future science relationship hang in the balance according to a UK official who said it will come down to an assessment on value for mone..
Railway research centre opens at the University of Birmingham with £16.4M in funding from Research England (2020-11-03) A new purpose-built centre designed to deliver specialist research in digital railway engineering has been opened at the University of Birmingham The Centre of Excellence for Digital Systems showcases successful collaboration between academia and industry as the university has partnered with theUK Rail Research and Innovation NetworkUKRRIN to commission the facility with 164m in funding from Resea..
Japanese medical researchers can now join ERC funded teams (2020-11-16) The European Research Council ERC the EUs basic research funding agency now welcomes researchers backed by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development AMED to temporarily join its research teams This is the third agreement in the last five years allowing Japanese scientists to join ERC-backed projects The agency has similar agreements which encourage researcher mobility with the Japan So..
École Polytechnique and Sanofi Inaugurate a Health Data Sponsorship Program (2020-11-13) Created to address technological developments and data issues in the medical field the Numerical Innovation and Data Science for Healthcare sponsorship program is inaugurated today by Olivier Bogillot President of Sanofi France Yves Laszlo Provost of cole Polytechnique and Jean-Paul Cottet Executive Director of the cole Polytechnique Foundation The research and teaching aspects of the program crea..
Slashed EU4Health budget will undermine cancer plan, MEPs say (2020-10-29) Health commissioner Stella Kyriakides Photo: European Parliament The fallout from the massive cut to the new EU health budget is continuing with MEPs on the special committee set up to oversee one of its key programmes in improving cancer care accusing health commissioner Stella Kyriakides of lacking ambition You said all this would be financed by EU4Health programme We saw EU4Health reduced from ..
Five CERN projects for Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructure calls have been approved for funding (2020-11-26) One way that CERN collaborates with academia and industry is through projects co-funded by the European Commission under programmes such as Horizon 2020 H2020 This month all five CERN-coordinated project proposals submitted to H2020 Research Infrastructure calls were approved for funding a first for the Organization These results demonstrate CERNs outstanding success rate in Research Infrastructur..
Trinity College Dublin team to lead €10.4M project 4-OCEANS funded by the ERC (2020-11-05) 4-OCEANS will assess the importance of marine life for human societies during the last two millennia and consider how selected major socio-economic cultural and environmental forces variously constrained and enabled marine exploitation Two researchers from Trinity College Dublin are among a four-strong team of principal investigators spearheading a new 104 million project funded by the European Re..
OECD calls for ‘science-based’ planning for sustainable recovery (2020-10-27) Governments need to shape science-based strategies to ride the pandemic-driven economic crisis and transition to digital and more sustainable economies said experts at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD ministerial meeting on Monday Jeffrey Sachs director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University and president of the UN Sustainable Development Ne..
Joint CERN-EPFL doctoral research leads to design of a cutting edge machine for cancer treatment (2020-10-27) In 2017 Enrico Felcini began his PhD in Applied Superconductivity under the supervision of Bertrand Dutoit the head ofEPFLs Applied Superconductivity GroupHis work was on a revolutionary hadron therapy gantry concept invented by Luca Bottura who leads CERNs magnet group Three years later he is the proud co-creator of a new gantry design based on superconducting magnets that has the potential to ch..
MEP continues hunger strike for ‘health, research and climate’ (2020-11-03) Pierre Larrouturou on a hunger strike in the EU Parliament Photo: Pierre Larrouturou The EU budget rapporteur Pierre Larrouturou entered his seventh day of hunger strike today demanding member states approve and implement an EU tax on financial transactions to help boost the budget for Horizon Europe and 14 other flagship programmes I think it is scandalous that we do not invest money for health f..