Commission supports the European industry to face the new challenges of our times
Innovation and R&D play pivotal roles in our economy: they are major levers to maintaining industry competitiveness, building a greener society and creating skilled jobs. Cognisant of the importance for EU to boost innovation, the European Commission has supported European R&D for nearly 40 years: since 1984, European Community research and technological development activities have been defined and implemented by a series of multi-annual R&D Framework Programmes (FP), the latest one being named “Horizon Europe”.
Covering the 2021-2027 period, Horizon Europe has a budget of €95.5 bln to cover a wide range of different topics such as climate change, space, health, energy or digital. Moreover, for the first time, €8 bln are devoted to the European Defence Fund as a new instrument to complement and amplify Member States’ efforts.
While these R&D projects offer major opportunities for the EU industry, successful participation to these initiatives require a good understanding of their specific mechanisms and an upfront preparation.
EU R&D project: a relatively long process that requires good preparation … and be market oriented from Day 1!
Every two years the European Commission publishes Work Programmes which are grouped by theme called « clusters » corresponding to EU priorities. For instance, the current Work Programme (2023 / 2024) covers Health, Culture, Security, Industry, Mobility and Food. Each cluster includes several topics with different missions and objectives. Once the Work Programmes are issued a thorough analysis of the different opportunities therefore need to be made. Potential participants then share interest, discuss their preliminary concept and set-up a consistent Consortium that would meet EC expectations described in the Work Programme.
European R&D projects are collaborative by essence
In general, a consortium is composed of at least three partners from three different countries (either Member State or « associated country ») where universities, research centres, industrialists (large groups and SMEs), standardization organisations can participate. But of course, “end users” such as infrastructure operators, government agencies, NGOs, citizens’ associations etc. are key stakeholders to involve.
One of the participants takes the coordinating role of the project: he is the privileged point of contact for the EC. A Consortium usually brings together between 5 and 20 participants for projects between € 2 and €15 mln. One particularity of the « European Projects » is its very strong collaborative aspect and therefore very horizontal mode of operation.
Main principles and characteristics of EU R&D projects
It is obviously of utmost importance to set up a « balanced » Consortium with a clear and sound concept responding to the targeted Call but it is also essential to ensure the economic viability of the project from the beginning (a business plan is requested at the proposal stage) and the complementarity between the participants along the value chain. Overall, setting up a solid Consortium and drafting a consistent proposal takes several months. After the evaluation process is completed, the R&D project may start for a period of 2 to 4 years. During the project, a specific attention needs to be paid to the exploitation of the project results which may take several forms such as IP exploitation, creation of a start-up or complementary activity to reach commercial maturity.
High-level overview of the EU project lifecycle from bid preparation to project exploitation
Mews Partners has participated in several EU R&D projects since 2015
Through its participation to various projects Mews Partners has developed a good understanding of the EU R&D projects mechanisms and operating modes. In particular, we have supported several projects in the following areas:
- Innovation management and consortium convergence putting in place methods such as Voice of the Customer, Design Thinking, Lean Start-up and facilitating the convergence between stakeholders;
- Use case definition and system specification including use cases specification and evaluation, analysis of functional, social and business requirements and user experience evaluation;
- Preparation of exploitation plan and business case which encompass market analysis, value chain analysis, business model evaluation, value proposition and go-to-market strategy;
- Industrial deployment and change management with Technology & procedure deployment, Trainings & awareness, User uptake & empowerment, assessment of managerial & organisational stakes.
Mews Partners involvement in EU R&D projects
Mews Partners’ strategic plan, “Beyond”, is fully aligned with Horizon Europe ambitions
The 2023 – 2024 Horizon Europe Work Programme aims to support R&D activities for the major environmental, energy, digital and geopolitical stakes faced by EU economies and societies. In particular, a major focus has been made on climate change with several calls related to understanding causes and impacts of climate change, developing solutions more environment-friendly or preparing the ground for smarter and more resilient supply chains.
Improving the EU industry competitiveness, supporting the green transformation of our customers and securing supply chains is at the core of Mews Partners raison d’être. This has been reiterated as part of “Beyond”, our strategic corporate plan that defines Mews Partners collective ambition for 2025-2028. Flavien Lamarque, President of Mews Partners further explains: “Mews Partners strategy is fully aligned with Horizon Europe R&D Projects in terms of industry sectors and geographic focus. We focus on Industry in Europe, to help it meet the challenges of competitiveness, environmental performance, sovereignty and innovation.”
With its unique positioning and strong capabilities in digital and data science thanks to Eurobios Mews Lab, Mews Partners ambition to strengthen its participation in Horizon Europe projects. Several Mews Partners offers are of particular interest to meet the demand of the upcoming calls, such as Energy efficiency & Decarbonization, Factory & manufacturing performance, Supply chain and HR transformation.
The recently issued 2023 European Defence Fund (EDF) calls is also of strategic importance for Mews Partners. Most of the calls for proposals resonates with the current challenges of our customers and with our capabilities. In particular, aligning consortium is even more complex in the EDF context as it requires a perfect appraisal of the security constraints and Defence industrial ecosystem. Besides, complex system modelling and data capabilities will be key to facilitate prototype development. These are some of the expertise and skills that Mews Partners can bring.
Flavien Lamarque concludes “We are passionate about implementing strategic plans into concrete terms and about anchoring performance and transformation in the long term. We therefore believe that Horizon Europe and the European Defence Fund are very efficient tools to enable this ambition and we are ready to support them.”
Find out more about the European projects: