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References - Funding schemes

The EXPRESS project conducted an analysis of sources of funding and financing (European, national, private) available for projects related to Smart Systems Integration. The main results of this financial analysis are presented in this section. Should you require futher information on this topic, please contact Mrs. Silvia Zinetti (MESAP).

The EXPRESS project conducted an analysis of sources of funding and financing (European, national, private) available for projects related to Smart Systems Integration. The main results of this financial analysis are presented in this section. Should you require futher information on this topic, please contact Mrs. Silvia Zinetti (MESAP, email: ).

EU funding

The European Commission has been supporting the Smart Systems Integration sector since the beginning of FP7. During FP7, 81 projects (both small scale and large scale projects as well as coordination and support actions) involving about 900 participants have been funded by the EC for a total amount of 311 Mio. € EC Contribution.

FP7 Analysis.PNG

Source: EC presentation, ICT-03 event in Brussels on 20.01.2016


With Horizon 2020, the European Commission continues supporting the SSI sector, mainly in the LEIT pillar (Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies) under the ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) Work Programme. However it is also worth looking at work programmes from the European Research Council (ERC) for basic research and mobility schemefunding as well as at the work programmes of societal challenges for application-driven projects including Smart Systems. The following Graph and Table give a non-exhaustive overview of potential EU funding programmes for SSI:

SSI In H2020

Source: SSI in Horizon 2020, Overview - Petra Weiler, EPoSS GA 2014 in Turin

H2020 PillarProgrammeDescriptionLink to open calls

Excellence in Science

European Research Council (ERC)

European Research Council (ERC) grants support individual researchers of any nationality and age who wish to pursue their frontier research. The ERC encourages in particular proposals that cross disciplinary boundaries, pioneering ideas that address new and emerging fields and applications that introduce unconventional, innovative approaches.

No thematic restrictions

Future and Emerging Technologies (FET)

FET actions are expected to initiate radically new lines of technology through unexplored collaborations between advanced multidisciplinary science and cutting-edge engineering

No thematic restrictions


Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Actions Grants for all stages of researchers' careers and encourage transnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility.

MSCA aim to equip researchers with the necessary skills and international experience for a successful career, either in the public or the private sector.

No thematic restrictions


Research Infrastructures The networks of research infrastructures across Europe strengthen its human capital base by providing world-class training for a new generation of researchers and engineers and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration.


Industrial Leadership


Six main activity lines have been identified in the ICT-LEIT part of the Work Programme: new generation of components and systems, Advanced Computing, Future Internet, Content technologies and information management, Robotics, Micro- and nano-electronic technologies, Photonics.

In addition, the Work Programme features several cross-cutting topics addressing cyber-security, Internet of Things and research on a Human-centric Digital Age. All activities are complemented with support to innovation and take-up, international cooperation and a dedicated action for SMEs to propose bottom-up innovative ideas, using the SME instrument.


NMBP (Nano, Materials, Biotech & Production) The NMBP Work Programme programme covers different Key Enabling Technologies: nanotechnologies, Advanced materials, Advanced manufacturing and processing and Biotechnology.

Activities of the work programme will address the whole innovation chain with technology readiness levels spanning the crucial range from medium levels to high levels preceding mass production, and helping to bridge the gaps ("valley of death") in this range. These activities will be based on research and innovation agendas defined by industry and business, together with the research community, and have a strong focus on leveraging private sector investment.


Societal Challenges

Health, demographic change and wellbeing Responding to this challenge, research and innovation (R&I) under Horizon 2020 is an investment in better health for all. It aims to keep older people active and independent for longer and supports the development of new, safer and more effective interventions. R&I under Horizon 2020 also contributes to the sustainability of health and care systems.


Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the Bioeconomy A transition is needed towards an optimal and renewable use of biological resources and towards sustainable primary production and processing systems. These systems will need to produce more food, fibre and other bio-based products with minimised inputs, environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions, and with enhanced ecosystem services, zero waste and adequate societal value.


Secure, clean and efficient energy The Energy Challenge is designed to support the transition to a reliable, sustainable and competitive energy system.


Smart, green and integrated transport This Challenge aims to boost the competitiveness of the European transport industries and achieve a European transport system that is resource-efficient, climate-and-environmentally-friendly, safe and seamless for the benefit of all citizens, the economy and society.


Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials Activities in this Challenge will help increase European competitiveness, raw materials security and improve wellbeing. At the same time they will assure environmental integrity, resilience and sustainability with the aim of keeping average global warming below 2° C and enabling ecosystems and society to adapt to climate change and other environmental changes.


Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies

Europe faces huge challenges in reducing inequality and social exclusion. 80 million people are at risk of poverty and 14 million young people are not in education, employment or training. We have not yet overcome the economic crisis which has led to unemployment rates of 12% in general and 20% among the youth.


Secure societies - protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens
This Challenge is about undertaking the research and innovation activities needed to protect our citizens, society and economy as well as our infrastructures and services, our prosperity, political stability and wellbeing.


Joint undertaking

ECSEL ECSEL JU offers funding for Research, Development and Innovation projects in the field of Electronic Components and Systems with unparalleled systemic and strategic impact for smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth.


EUREKA Clusters

EURIPIDES² EURIPIDES² is a EUREKA cluster supporting cooperative industrial R&D in the field of smart electronic systems integration. EURIPIDES² catalyses the generation of innovative, industry-driven, pre-competitive R&D projects in the area of Smart Electronic Systems.


PENTA PENTA is an EUREKA Cluster whose purpose is to catalyse research, development and innovation in areas of micro and nanoelectronics enabled systems and applications where there is shared high national and industrial interest. At the start of the PENTA programme, the focus of the projects will be on applications in automotive, healthcare and production technologies. PENTA was setup to meet the needs of Industry, covering all facets of development - from research (TRL 2) to pilot production or service launch (TRL8).


EUREKA Initiative

EuroStars Eurostars supports international innovative projects led by research and development- performing SMEs. With its bottom-up approach, Eurostars supports the development of rapidly marketable innovative products, processes and services that help improve the daily lives of people around the world. Eurostars has been carefully developed to meet the specific needs of SMEs. It is an ideal first step in international cooperation, enabling small businesses to combine and share expertise and benefit from working beyond national borders.


Within the current ICT work programme, certain areas are more relvant for SSI than others, the picture below shows the topics of interests with current opportunities for funding:

Source: EC presentation, Brokerage Event for Smart System Integration in Brussels on 20.01.2016


National funding

At the national level the process of emergence and recognition of Smart Systems projects has not yet happened on a large scale; only few countries speak explicitly of Smart Systems Integration. The analysis of funded projects has been thus based on advanced searches, checking inside the already selected and funded projects the ones related to Smart Systems Integration.
The awareness and the better semantic understanding will be gradually adopted, at the national level, as a function of the relative involvement of the main national stakeholders in the JU programs funding SSI activities. Even in this case the approach will be “bottom-up”.

Regional Funding

Data from two of the most dynamic European Regions, namely the Basque Region (Spain) and the Piedmont Region (Italy), have been collected as an example. The Basque Country has been rather active in the field of Smart Systems Integration with 23 projects funded within the 2009-2012 timeframe. The Piedmont Region has selected and funded 39 projects within the 2010-2014 timeframe.
Several stakeholders active on Smart Systems Integration activities are based on the above-mentioned Regions: this fact explains the fertility of the available R&D calls and active projects.

Private funding

Venture Capital companies are currently mainly focused on Internet services and do not consider Smart Systems Integration as one of their priorities. Nevertheless there are reasons to be optimistic about the future, given the slight increase in investment and the likely recovery of the economy, which can unlock the market. Smart Systems Integration (SSI) is not yet recognized by the VCs both at the semantic level and, above all, as a "brand”.

SSI projects are potentially closer to the market and don't generally contain hyper-sophisticated technologies, since the focus is on functionality, cost effectiveness and reduction of industrial risks. Those characteristics make them rather unattractive to the Venture Capital companies who prefer instead high-risk projects, normally based on breakthrough and unexplored technologies, and therefore much more profitable.
On the other hand low tech products, in the field of Internet services and software applications, are currently receiving the main attention from VCs worldwide.

Communication towards VCs shall be strongly improved, the new marketing strategy defined by EXPRESS and setting the so-called "Smart Systems insideTM" trademark as a cornerstone will identify the new projects based on SSI thus improving the visibility, awareness and the proper “brand” positioning of SSI in the market.