Policy Blog: The European Partnerships in Horizon Europe [second part]

Policy blog by Aaron SCORSA


In our previous Policy Blog, The European Partnership on Horizon Europe, we outlined the relevance of the European partnerships for the EO services industry. As we know, 10 candidates’ partnerships[1] exist in the Digital, Industry and Space area.

With the publication of Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021/2022 dated 15th March 2021, the European commission adopted the first strategic plan for Horizon Europe aiming at setting the research and innovation priorities for a sustainable future. This is the very first initiative aiming to bridge EU research and innovation actions with EU priorities. The strategic plan for the next four years is built around four strategic orientations identified as:

  • Promoting an open strategic autonomy by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies,
  • Restoring Europe’s ecosystems and biodiversity,
  • Making Europe the first digitally enabled circular, climate-neutral and sustainable economy,
  • Creating a more resilient, inclusive and democratic European society.

In addition, this document recognizes “European co-founded and co-programmed partnerships” and EU missions to be supported through Horizon Europe itself. The partnerships will cover critical areas such as energy, transport, biodiversity, health, food and circularity, and will complement the ten Institutionalised European Partnerships  proposed by the Commission in February.

As anticipated, the purpose of this article is to provide a logic continuation of what was previously presented in our last November analysis; this is the reason why we will focus on the partnerships which are proposed to modernize the industry. Hence, the objective of co-founded and co-programmed partnerships[2] is to address challenges to the Union, bringing together private and public actors within the European Commission through the initiatives related to research and innovation.

Partnership Candidate[3]Form of implementation[4]WP 2021/2022 or A 185/7 in 2021 WP 2023/2024
Cluster Digital, industry and space
High Performance ComputingA187X 
Key Digital TechnologiesA187/CPX
Smart Networks and ServicesA187/CPX 
European Partnership for Artificial Intelligence, Data and RoboticsCPX
European Partnership for PhotonicsCPX 
European Partnership for Clean Steel – Low Carbon SteelmakingCPX
European MetrologyA185X
European Partnership Made in EuropeCPX 
Carbon Neutral and Circular IndustryCPX 
European Partnership for Globally Competitive Space SystemsCPX 

In the previous article, we presented 3 examples of candidates, such as: European Partnership for Artificial intelligence, Data and Robotics; European Partnership for Clean Steel – Low Carbon Steelmaking and Environmental observations for a sustainable EU agriculture[5].

In order to keep a track of what is going on at an institutional level, we will continue with detailing some of the partnerships (4 selected candidates) that can provide opportunities for the EO services industry. We will analyze the following partnerships: European Partnership for Key Digital Technologies (KTD), European Partnership for Smart Networks and Services, European Partnership on Metrology and the European Partnership for Globally Competitive Space Systems. Europe with these partnerships is aiming to become the worldwide leader for Earth observation systems and Metrology enhancing technology sovereignty as well in space. This is the main reason why we think the EO private sector could benefit from these partnerships.

European Partnership for Key Digital Technologies (KTD)

The electronic and photonic components together with the software that defines how they work as part of a system are considered as a Key Digital Technologies. The KTD partnership aims at supporting horizontally the digital transformation addressing the Green Deal.

Partners of this initiative are respectively AENEAS, ARTEMIS, EPOSS.

European Partnership for Smart Networks and Services

The main objective of this partnership is to develop smart network services’ technological path and independence following the EU industrial strategy and the 5G cybersecurity toolbox. In order to maintain the technological sovereignty, technology capacities for future digital services are fundamental.

Partners of this initiative are respectively 5G IA and Nokia.

European Partnership on Metrology

The purpose of this partnership is to maintain the European leadership on metrology amongst world’s competition toward 2030.

Partner of this initiative is EURAMET.

European Partnership for Globally Competitive Space Systems

The aim of this set of partnerships is to boost the sector’s competitiveness while strengthening the EU’s ability to access and use space. The specific goals for 2030 are to fulfill the following commitments:

  • “Capturing” 50% of the global accessible telecom satellite market
  • becoming the worldwide leader for Earth observation systems
  • reducing the cost/price of launch services by 50% by 2030
  • reaching a maturity of technology readiness level 6 in the fields of ecosystem for on-orbit operation
  • doubling the accessible new services in the space transportation market available to European industry”

Partners of this initiative are respectively EARTO WG Space, Eurospace, European Aeronautics Science Network, EASN, ESRE, SME4Space[6].

Next Steps

Awaiting the official implementation of the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021-2022, we can already see that many opportunities may be found in the EO services industry.

The next steps will come with the first calls for proposals planned to be launched in spring 2021 and presented at the European Research and Innovation Days on 23-24 June.

Moreover, we will present the next three candidates for potential partnerships we have not analyzed yet, such as: High Performance Computing, European Partnership for Photonics and European Partnership Made in Europe.

[1] As the one related to Geological Service for Europe is going to be implemented following a different scheme. Unfortunately, information about this is missing.

[2] They are defined as:

i.             Co-programmed European partnerships; settled between the EC and private and/or public partners

ii.            Co-funded European Partnerships using a programme co-fund action; EU countries are involved in the process

[3] Table source: https://www.era-learn.eu/partnerships-in-a-nutshell/european-partnerships/candidates; Also read this report for more detailed information about the partnerships’ candidate and the synergies: https://ec.europa.eu/info/files/coherence-and-synergies-candidate-european-partnerships-under-horizon-europe_en

[4] CF: Co-funded European Partnerships; CP: Co-programmed European Partnerships; CF/CP: Either implemented as CF or CP; CF (CP): Most likely implemented as CF, maybe as CP; A185/A187: Institutionalized European Partnerships

[5] Processes4Planet – Transforming the European Process Industry for a sustainable society

[6] Whilst this partnership is focused on upstream activities and satellite systems, the EC has acknowledged that the downstream sector shall be included in discussions if this partnership materializes.

Author: EARSC

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